If I were to ask 10 different families about the submission process of their student’s ACT or SAT results, I would almost certainly get an equal number of different answers. How do you know what will be seen by admission professionals and what won’t!? My philosophy, always assume the college(s) will receive your official scores! Here are a few key points in which all other assumptions can be effectively null:
- Transcripts – For the 89% of students that attend Public schools, expect your high school to submit your scores to colleges on your official transcripts. There are even a few Private schools that include this info on your transcripts. In fact, some colleges even accept these as official test scores – as they’re coming from an official source, ie. not the student, nor the family.
- Application – You’ll quickly find out that when submitting College Applications – whether the Common App or to a particular school – it will ask about the student’s academic background and college entrance exams test scores. At the end of almost every application, the student signs it, declaring the information provided was complete and accurate. I have known students to have their acceptances remitted because a school found out the information from the application painted a different picture than what truly exists.
- Collected – Often times, when students attempt to only send the highest scores, all of their scores are disclosed to a college – again because the college expects a complete and accurate portrayal of the student’s achievements and scores.
- Purchased Lists – It seems to be a little known fact, but one of the primary ways in which colleges get a student’s information is from the ACT, SAT, PSAT, and EXPLORE. Colleges often times purchase student’s information based upon a score range – so even if they don’t know your actual score – they will most likely know a narrow score range in which you fall within.
So, how should a student go about sending their scores? First off – I would recommend taking a FREE Practice Test for both the ACT and SAT – so you can determine a baseline and develop a strategy that is right for the student. These scores are not recorded in the student record, but provide an accurate measure of the student’s ability with these particular college entrance exams.
Secondly, I would never recommend that a student take an official test unless they felt prepared and confident in their ability. While an abnormally low score won’t necessarily affect admission at most universities – why provide any university with a reason to doubt their admission decision?