When to Send ACT and SAT Scores to Colleges

Student in a purple sweater thinking about when to send ACT and SAT scores to colleges
Updated:
February 22, 2024
4 min read
Contents

”Rohan

Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 2/22/24

Not sure when to send your ACT or SAT scores to colleges? In this article, we’ll review everything you need to know when sending in your ACT and SAT scores.

Once you’ve written the SAT or ACT, your work is almost done! With application deadlines approaching, you must submit scores correctly and punctually. 

By understanding the different options offered by the College Board and ACT, Inc. for sending scores, you can ensure colleges receive your results when they need them most—in time to bolster your admissions chances. 

This guide outlines top tips for sending scores, from eligibility for free score reports to using rush reporting if you miss key deadlines. Follow these steps, and colleges will have what they need from you when it matters most.

When to Send ACT and SAT Scores to Colleges

Sending your scores at least two weeks before the due date is crucial, and it's essential to regularly check your portal to confirm their arrival in your account.

When to Send SAT Scores to Colleges 

To ensure timely delivery, it's recommended to send SAT scores to colleges at least 1-2 months ahead of any deadlines, considering that it may take up to eight weeks for them to reach their destination.

Much like the case with ACT score reports, the deadline for SAT score submission depends on the school and program you’re applying for. 

Generally, scores are sent off automatically to the schools you’ve chosen when registering for the ACT and SAT.

If you intend to submit an application early or apply for scholarships, the due date of sending in your scores may also be affected. Ensure you adjust your plans accordingly. 

ACT Sample score report

Source: The Common App

Another important factor is to know how long it takes for score reports to reach the designated colleges. Your ACT scores are available two weeks after the test date, but they can take up to eight weeks. If ACT doesn’t release your score after eight weeks, you should contact Customer Support

ACT Customer Support can’t provide your scores by phone, email, chat, or fax. If you took the ACT with the writing test, it could take two more weeks for your scores to come out. In this case, ACT won’t report your overall scores until they calculate your writing scores. 

If you’ve requested to send score reports during registration, ACT will normally do so on the same day scores come out. Additional score reports requested through your MyACT account take one week to process. The process takes roughly two to four weeks, although it can also take as long as seven weeks for colleges to get your scores. 

If you’ve taken the ACT with writing, score reports might take more time to reach schools; try to send scores at least two months before the deadline. So, when do you need to send your ACT scores? The general rule is the earlier, the better. 

Sample SAT Score report

Source: The College Board

The SAT scores for any test date during the school year will almost always come out within two to four weeks after you take the test. However, for SATs taken during the summer, the scores may take longer to be released. You’ll receive an email when your scores are available. 

You might not be able to see them right away. But you can go to the Student Score Report, sign in with your College Board account, and view your scores if available. How long it takes for SAT scores to be sent varies, but the College Board sends your SAT scores to your chosen colleges within ten days.

If you took the SAT with Essay, it might take another day or two for colleges to get your scores. Therefore, you must send your scores at least two weeks before the deadline. 

Again, it’s always better to send out scores as early as you can so you have more time to deal with sudden mishaps. 

How to Send SAT and ACT Scores to Colleges

The key steps for sending your SAT and ACT scores to colleges are to request score reports through the College Board and ACT websites and to self-report scores on your college applications. When registering for the SAT or ACT, you can select 4-6 schools to automatically receive your scores for free.

Sending scores is straightforward, but each method has its own instructions you must be mindful of. We’ll review these instructions to send scores in detail.

How to Send SAT Scores to Colleges

Sending your SAT scores is an important part of college applications. Here's how you can send these coveted scores:

  1. Log into your College Board account: Visit the College Board website and sign in.
  2. Navigate to "Send SAT Scores": Locate the score-sending section.
  3. Search for colleges: Find your desired colleges by name or code.
  4. Select scores: Choose to send all scores or specific test dates.
  5. Review and pay: Confirm your choices and pay the required fees (if applicable).

If you register to take the SAT on a weekend, you can send up to four score reports for free. You have until nine days after the test to designate your score recipients and send the free score reports. After that, there’s a fee!

If you wish to send score reports to colleges or institutions after scores come out, you can use your online accounts to do so. 

Make sure that you send your score before the school’s deadline, or else they won’t be considered for admission! 

How to Send ACT Scores to Colleges

If you’re wondering how to send ACT scores to schools, you can set it up during registration! During your registration for the ACT, you can select up to four colleges to send score reports to. The ACT automatically sends out these reports to your designated schools once the scores are released. 

If you haven’t decided yet, or want to change which schools to send scores to, that’s okay. After your ACT scores come out, you can send them to schools online with your account once they’re available.

Here are the instructions to send out additional ACT score reports

  1. Sign in to your MyACT account.
  2. Go to your scores dashboard and request to send score reports.
  3. Select which scores or superscores you wish to send.
  4. Select the valid ACT college codes or the college names to decide which colleges you’ll send your scores to.
  5. You can edit the list of schools you’ll send scores to by removing schools or adding more by clicking “add a choice.” Once you’re done, click “continue.” 
  6. Review your order. Make sure every piece of information is correct.
  7. Fill in your credit card information to make the payment, then click “submit” to submit the order.

The fee for sending ACT score reports is $18.50 per report, whereas the fee for sending SAT score reports is $14 per report. Once you’ve finalized and submitted your orders, they can’t be canceled, and all fees are non-refundable. 

Benefits and Considerations for Each Method 

Benefits and considerations of free score reports and additional score reports online

Now that we’ve discussed how you should send your SAT or ACT scores let’s discuss the pros and cons of both methods. 

Free Score Reports

Before you request a free score report for the ACT or SAT, let’s look at its pros and cons. 

Benefits

Requesting a free score report has many benefits. For one, it’s completely free. It also allows you to send your scores as soon as they’re released. This is not only a convenience, but it can be a lifesaver if you ever have to take the test at a later time. 

Considerations 

The biggest consideration is that your requested scores will be sent out no matter how high or low they are. In other words, you can’t see your scores and decide whether or not to send them to colleges. Ensure you’ve studied well before test day!

This option is also not strongly recommended for test-takers who haven’t decided which schools they want to apply to. But if you have already chosen the schools you will apply to and are confident that you can do well, this method is a great option for you!

Additional Score Reports Online

There are benefits and considerations to sending additional score reports online. 

Benefits

The greatest benefit of this method is that you get more control over your score reports. You can select which scores to send so only your best scores can be sent out. You also get to choose which schools receive which scores.

Considerations

Unfortunately, this method isn’t free. While the fee for sending reports isn’t necessarily expensive, you’ll have to pay for each report. The cost can pile up fairly quickly, especially if you’re planning to apply to many schools. 

Sending out scores with this method can also take longer than free score reports. You’ll have to request each report yourself; it also takes time to process requests before reports can be sent. The ACT, for example, takes about one week to process your requests.

For the SAT, you can request The College Board to send scores faster, but this comes at an additional fee. Nevertheless, sending scores yourself gives you complete control over which schools see which scores. 

FAQs: When to Send SAT and ACT Scores

Still have more questions about when to send SAT and ACT scores to colleges? Then check out these FAQs! 

1. Can You Send ACT Superscores?

An ACT superscore is the composite score calculated by taking your highest individual subject test scores from all of your ACT attempts. And yes, you can send superscores. To send a superscore, you must have scores from at least two tests. You send superscores by going to your MyACT account dashboard. 

2. Do You Need a Corresponding Online Account to Send Scores?

Yes. Every option to send score reports requires an ACT or College Board account. Colleges will not accept printouts or copies of your score reports or school transcripts including your score. 

3. Can I Use Fee Waivers for Sending Out Scores?

Both SAT and ACT have fee waivers you can use to send as many scores as you want for free. If you match the eligibility criteria for the SAT fee waiver or the ACT fee waiver, you can apply for one. 

4. Can You Send Archived Scores?

Yes. Both SAT and ACT offer the service to send archived test scores, although additional fees may apply. Colleges will also know that the score is archived. Archived scores may be considered less reliable than recent test scores, but they’re still considered by colleges when reviewing applicants.

5. How Long Does It Take for Colleges to Receive SAT Scores? 

The College Board sends your SAT scores within 10 days to colleges after they’re made available. You can have your scores rush-ordered for an additional fee. 

6. Can I Send My SAT Score After Applying to College? 

It depends on the colleges you’re applying to. Generally, you can send SAT scores to colleges after you submit your application, as long as it’s before the application deadline. If the application deadline has passed, it’s best to check the school’s website for insight on what to do next. 

7. Does It Matter When You Send Your SAT and ACT Scores? 

As long as your scores are received by colleges before the deadline, it doesn’t matter when you send your scores. However, we recommend sending them as soon as possible. 

Final Thoughts

Sending SAT scores to colleges is a critical step in the college application process. With three main options—sending scores for free when registering, paying a fee to rush scores after receiving them, or using a fee waiver if eligible—there are straightforward ways to make sure schools get your reports on time.

The key is planning ahead and sending scores 1-2 weeks before application deadlines to avoid any issues. Though the process itself is not complicated, following official protocols and deadlines will ensure your hard work preparing for the SAT pays off. 

Focus your energy on prepping through quality studying rather than worrying about score delivery. With the right information and preparation, you can master the test and seamlessly send your scores wherever they need to go.

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