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Four Important Questions about Test Scores and College Applications

Why Did My Test Scores Disappear from My College Application?

Don’t worry. Your test scores did not disappear. By way of a strange quirk of the Common Application, it may appear as if your test scores were not submitted to a particular college. Even further, when you review a submitted application through the Common Application, you could see the words, “There are no test scores to report,” causing a reaction ranging from hives to outright panic. The fact is that the common application gives colleges the means to withhold information from those seeking to review the application after it is submitted. And the information is not just test scores. It could also be essays, academic information, family information, or virtually anything else. Of course, all of this is assuming that you did enter your test scores properly on the common application testing section.

Do All Colleges Allow Me to Self-Report My Test Scores?

No, not all colleges allow self-reporting, which means that official test results must be sent directly from the testing agencies to these colleges around the same time as your application. Most (though not all) colleges nowadays do allow you to self-report your scores, and only ask you to verify with an official report once you decide to attend that college. Also keep in mind that when you self-report your test scores, you may decide which scores to report. In other words, if you have taken the test multiple times you may decide which results to show on your application. You may decide to only show your highest component scores as opposed to listing all your results.

Can I Continue to Take Tests After I Submit My Application?

Most early applications are due in November. There is an SAT date on the first Saturday of November and again on the first Saturday of December. There is also an ACT test date on the second Saturday in December. High school seniors can continue to take tests on these dates. Scores from the November administration may arrive in time for consideration in the early rounds, though they would have to be reported quickly. It is also possible that a decision on a student has already been made by the time the results are available. The results from December will be received too late for consideration in the early rounds of admission. However, since many students are deferred from the early rounds into the regular admission rounds, having a new set of higher test scores could be extremely helpful in receiving acceptance from the later round. Students who take tests on these days and have results that are better than those they have already submitted on their applications can submit the new, higher scores directly through their college admission portals. Furthermore, scores from the November and December test administrations will be received in time to include in applications for the regular round of admission.

Should High School Seniors take the SAT and/or ACT in February and March?

There is an ACT administration in February and an SAT administration in March. There is some value to high school seniors in taking the tests on these dates as well. For example, if a student ends up on a waiting list, having a higher test score can play a role in being accepted off that list. Also, in case students decide to transfer after their first year of college, SAT scores are used in that process and so having the highest possible test scores can be beneficial.