Score Choice – To Send or Not to Send?

A question we hear a lot at MTAT is: “When I register for the official SAT, should I opt to send
my scores automatically or wait until I get the results?”

There are pros and cons to automatically sending your scores. If you opt to send scores to up to
four schools for free, those schools will receive your scores each time you test. If you choose to
wait, you may send your scores to colleges of your choosing—and pay a fee for each school—
after you’ve received all your scores. Take a closer look at the pros and cons below and decide for yourself whether or not you should send you scores automatically or wait to see the results first.

• You show the schools that you’re interested, and they may reach out with merit-based
scholarship opportunities.
• You save money. But it’s only about $12 per school, which is a drop in the bucket
compared to tuition.
• Some schools will require you to send scores from every sitting anyway, so you could be
saving some time.


• The biggest downside to automatically sending scores is that knowing schools are going
to see your score could add pressure to an already-stressful day. Nervous test takers
might be better off waiting.
• Some students may not know exactly what schools they want to apply to. In fact, some
students might base that decision in part on their SAT scores.
• Finally, if you do have a bad day and bomb the test, you probably would rather keep
that information to yourself—if possible. Again, some colleges will require you to send
your scores for each sitting.

Be aware that colleges are usually looking for reasons to accept you rather than reasons to
reject you. If you submit a low score and a high score from a later test date, most colleges will
see the improvement as a sign of your hard work and determination. But don’t panic if it’s the
other way around and your last score is your worst. Most college applications include an
optional essay to tell them anything you think they should know about your academic
performance. This is a great place to let them know, for instance, that your freshman-year
grades were low because you were in the hospital half the year, or that you had the flu the day
of your last SAT. Don’t make excuses, but do let them know of any extenuating circumstances.

Got questions? Book a college-counseling appointment today! Call 512-453-7272 or email
[email protected]