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Should You Send Scores Straight to Colleges on Test Day?

You can send your ACT/SAT scores straight to colleges at no charge on test day -- but should you? https://www.collegeconfidential.com/articles/should-you-send-scores-straight-to-colleges-on-test-day/

Replies to: Should You Send Scores Straight to Colleges on Test Day?

  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 38,521 Super Moderator
    While I agree with what the author has written, I would also add one more category to the instances where you should just send straight to colleges - when the college is a safety (assuming said safety even requires scores.

    I would further add that while it does make sense to use free score reports to those colleges that require all scores, some of those colleges (Yale as an example), now allow self-reporting on the application, and only require the score report if the applicant is accepted and will attend.
  • chercheurchercheur Registered User Posts: 1,141 Senior Member
    edited November 20
    My kids did not use any of the free score sends. With so much time and effort put into the application process, why risk sending an unknown score? My students wanted to put their best foot forward, so we waited and paid the fee. They were done with testing their junior year, so there was no rush to send the scores.
  • Tricities3024Tricities3024 Registered User Posts: 16 Junior Member
    We messed up sending my child’s first score but after that we used the free scores for the safety schools and those that already sent acceptance letters. For the other exams once we saw the scores were good then we paid the $12 for each school.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 72,219 Senior Member
    Seems like the schools where one may hesitate to send scores to would be those which do a holistic admissions reading, allow score choice, and do not have nearby deadlines.

    But many schools do not fit the above description, so would there be any disadvantage to foregoing the included score reports with these schools?
  • chercheurchercheur Registered User Posts: 1,141 Senior Member
    I don't think there's a clear answer, @ucbalumnus . It's a good question!
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 5,051 Senior Member
    My kid didn't even finalize his list till he saw his scores. If your college planning depends on your test results, it's going to be a bit hard to take advantage of a free score send. If CB and ACT really wanted to help families financially they would extend some sort of discount indefinitely. And no fair raising the fee to make up for it.

    Also, it appears that an increasing number of uni's are now allowing self-reporting which is a MAJOR money-saver and kills the financial benefit associated with the free score send. Why send scores you haven't seen when you could wait and just report them when you apply?
  • intparentintparent Registered User Posts: 35,338 Senior Member
    This is another way in which low income students are disadvantaged in the college search process. It is a luxury to wait and see what the scores are before sending them (and for that matter, a luxury to sit for the test multiple times if the scores aren’t what you want them to be). I really like the trend to ward self reporting, and only sending to the school you decide to attend. I’m sure College Board and ACT hate it, since it cuts into their profits.
  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom Registered User Posts: 5,554 Senior Member
    Don't forget that colleges aren't they only places you may need to send scores. You can use a free score send to submit scores to National Merit, if your student retakes the SAT they will only consider the highest score taken and if your kid doesn't make the cut off based on the PSAT they'll just ignor the scores sent to them.
  • hebegebehebegebe Registered User Posts: 2,305 Senior Member
    edited November 24
    Note that ^^^ now applies for the ACT as well, as National Merit will accept that, starting with the class of 2020.
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 Registered User Posts: 630 Member
    edited November 24
    You can also use one of the free scores to send to the NCAA Clearinghouse, if you hope to play a sport in DI or DII
  • elena13elena13 Registered User Posts: 614 Member
    We're trying to minimize costs wherever we can. However, in applying to selective schools (that don't require all scores), it can be risky to send scores without seeing them. For the most part, we have used the free score reports for in state and safety schools. However, when my S decided to take the ACT once more, I waited until after he took the test to see how he felt he had done. He felt confident so we took a gamble and sent scores (within the few day window after the test) to four reach schools. His scores went up so we were happy we did it, but I'm also loving how many colleges are moving to self-reports of test scores.
  • drusbadrusba Registered User Posts: 9,470 Senior Member
    edited November 26
    I am among those who accept the claim of colleges that they will use the highest scores to determine admission and thus you should have no downside to using the free sends, but even so I still believe one should consider not using the free sends at all unless (a) finances are an issue, (b) time is of essence (such as sending an Oct test score to an EA college that requires test scores to be in its hands by Nov 1), or (c) the college in fact requires all scores (a very small number). The reason why: human nature. One who uses the free sends (even for a safety) and then learns the test scores are weak is going to worry that the scores have screwed one's admission chances no matter what the colleges say, and that worry will continue until after the applicant has submitted a much better score, and will continue until admission decisions are received. If you want to avoid the risk of having to worry, avoid using the free sends. You are not going to lose sleep worrying about whether a college will use the score against you if you never send it.
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