A question frequently asked is whether those applying for admission to a college are required to submit test scores for all SATs, ACTs, or SAT subject tests that they have taken. Since March 2009, College Board (CB) has allowed “Score Choice,” so you can withhold one or more tests from being sent when you order scores sent to a college. ACT has always followed a rule that it sends only one test per order and thus you would need to make multiple orders even to send multiple tests to a college. In reaction to CB’s adoption of Score Choice, some colleges adopted rules requiring all scores and some included ACT scores in the new rule
On CB’s site you will find a long list of colleges with “all scores” rule, https://secure-media.collegeboard.org/digitalServices/pdf/professionals/sat-score-use-practices-participating-institutions.pdf,which list has been copied by some other sites that purport to provide college admission assistance. That list is inaccurate including because most of the colleges listed as having all scores rules have never had one. In fact, besides being wrong on many four year US colleges, CB even included community colleges, for profit colleges, and foreign nation colleges as ones requiring all SAT scores, when, in fact, those colleges have never even required an SAT or ACT test for admission. You thus should not rely on CB’s list.
A. Colleges Having an “All Scores” Rule
The number of colleges that actually have an “all scores” rule as of today, August 15, 2016, appears to be small. Since 2009, some colleges have specifically withdrawn their all scores rule adopted in 2009 and now accept score choice, including USC, Columbia, Penn, and Pomona. One college, Duke, first adopted an all scores rule for those applying for entry into the 2016 freshman class and now, one year later, has dropped it for 2017 and states it accepts score choice. Colleges currently having an “all scores” rule are the following:
Georgetown: requires all SAT, all ACT, and all subject test scores, see https://qatar.sfs.georgetown.edu/admissions/faqs (and click open question on sending all scores).
Stanford: requires both all SAT and all ACT test scores but you can choose which, if any, subject tests you want to send, see http://admission.stanford.edu/application/freshman/testing.html it has been reported that Stanford responded to inquiries that all subject tests are not required).
Barnard: appears to be the same as Stanford in requiring both all SAT and ACT scores but not subject test scores, see http://admissions.barnard.edu/apply-barnard/standardized-testing-and-our-score-choice-policy.
Yale: requires either all SATs or all ACTs. If you decide to send both, you must send all of both. You can send whatever subject test scores you want to send. See http://admissions.yale.edu/faq/standardized-testing.
Cornell: requires either all SAT or all ACT scores, and if you decide to submit both you must send all of both, see https://admissions.cornell.edu/standardized-testing-requirements. The assumption is that it still also requires all subject test scores, although that may be subject to question. Three years ago Cornell was clear in requiring all subject test scores, see https://blogs.cornell.edu/admissions/2011/10/19/the-faqs-of-sats-and-acts/ which is a page from 2013 and not 2016. However, it seems to be at least saying now that you need not submit them unless applying to one of its colleges that require them.
Carnegie Mellon: requires either all SAT or all ACT scores, plus all subject test scores of those tests required for any of its colleges. See https://admission.enrollment.cmu.edu/pages/standardized-test-requirements. You can withhold subject tests if applying to a college that does not require them.
Rice: requires all SAT scores if you send SAT but does not appear to require all ACT scores or all subject tests, see https://futureowls.rice.edu/futureowls/Standardized_Tests.asp. Rice is a college that accepts ACT in lieu of both the SAT and subject tests.
University of California: UC requires all SAT scores if you send any SAT scores, does not appear to require all ACT scores if you send ACT, although it is arguably ambiguous on that point, and does not require all subject test scores, see http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/freshman/requirements/examination-requirement/index.html. The same rule applies to all nine campuses. Reports of responses to direct inquiries have confirmed that the UCs do not require all subject test scores if you send subject tests.
Syracuse: all SAT scores are required if you submit SAT; rule does not apply to ACTs and you can withhold subject tests which are not used by Syracuse for admission. See http://admissions.syr.edu/apply/whatwelookfor/
University of Miami: previously allowed score choice but has adopted a rule requiring either all SAT or all ACT scores, but not subject tests, allegedly to assure it had all scores to properly superscore your tests. http://admissions.miami.edu/undergraduate/about/virtual-counselor/do-you-require-the-act-or-sat-for-admission/index.html
The above are colleges that still have an all scores rule. Two colleges that did have such a rule last year but are now unclear are:
Tufts: “Tufts asks applicants to submit all SAT testing from all test dates.” See http://admissions.tufts.edu/apply/first-year-students/sat-and-act-tests/. Until recently that page said “Tufts requires” applicants to submit all SAT scores. It thus dropped requires and made it “asks,” which may, or may not, indicate a policy change. Note, even if sending all scores is required for SAT scores, the rule as stated is inapplicable to ACT or subject test scores.
Harvey Mudd: used to have a clear statement on its site requiring either all SATs or all ACTs, plus all subject test scores. In 2015, It changed its “Required Application Materials” webpage and the all scores rule disappeared. I inquired and it responded by stating its rule had not changed and still remained as before. Soon after my inquiry, Harvey Mudd changed that Required Application Materials page to add back an all scores rule. Harvey Mudd has recently changed the same webpage to provide the rule for 2017 freshman. The “Required Application Materials” page has once again dropped any reference to an all scores rule. See https://www.hmc.edu/admission/apply/first-year-students/application-materials/
I have not found any other colleges with an actual all scores rule still in effect. I have found other colleges that recommend sending all scores because the college superscores but they do not actually require you to send all scores. I have not checked every college in the US but did check the supposed all scores colleges listed by CB and many others.
When deciding what to do, you should always check the particular college for its current rule, including because the “all scores” rule is continuously in flux, and thus what exists today could change…
B. Consequences of Failure to Follow Rule
You should follow any all scores rule that exists for a college and not choose to hide scores. The colleges assert that they do not use lower scores against you, so sending all scores should not be deemed adverse to your application.
When you withhold a test, neither CB nor ACT provides the college with anything to indicate you even took the test withheld. However, your high school may report all your scores to a college on the official transcript with your grades that it sends to colleges, and thus you must find out what your high school does before deciding to withhold any test when ordering through the testing agency.
As to the penalty for ignoring an all scores rule, doing so could be considered grounds for rejecting you or withdrawing any admission given. As far as I am aware, there has not yet been any reports of applicants being adversely affected because of failure to report all scores.