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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

The Timing of SAT Score Reports

I've written about the timing of SAT score reporting in the past and it seems like a good time to revisit the topic. First of all it is worth mentioning that the UVA Application Instructions page has a link to a page all about standardized testing.

There are going to be three parts to this post.
  1.  How we (and many colleges) receive your SAT scores.
  2. The timing of SAT score reporting.
  3. What happens if you send scores after the deadlines.
This is going to be a long post, but I think understanding the logistics of score reporting will answer a lot of the questions we are getting right now.

1. How UVA Receives SAT Scores

We get a lot of email from people who ask if we will "accept" scores sent way before or way after a deadline. If you understand how scores get here, you'll know the answer.

Most colleges (UVA included) receive scores electronically. We do not accept or reject the scores, they arrive automatically. At slow times, the reports come once each day. Around deadlines, the reports come more often. I get an email every time there's an electronic transfer, regardless of whether the delivery is of one person's scores or of a massive group of scores from a popular test date.

2. The Timing of SAT Score Reporting

Now, let's talk about timing. The good news is that ETS has improved a lot over the years when it comes to how long it takes them to deliver scores.

If you have UVA listed as a school that should get your scores up front, the scores arrive pretty quickly.

However, if you wait to see your scores and then submit a request that UVA get them, it will take much longer. As a result, we do not recommend waiting to see scores before sending a report. ETS isn't totally consistent in the dates that they say they'll deliver scores. There's one spot where they say it'll take five weeks for colleges to get scores.

Screen shot taken here, 12/1/2015

However, the SAT folks assured me via Twitter last year that the five week wait is for international schools and most scores are sent to colleges one to two weeks of a request being made. If you are applying for Regular Decision and are reading this, send your scores well in advance of the deadline.

3. Sending Scores After Deadlines

In the first part of this post, you saw that we don't accept or reject score reports that come to us from ETS. So let's talk about what happens if you send scores after the deadline.

In our application instructions, we say that the last recommended test date is October for Early Action students and December for Regular Decision students.

If you take tests on those dates and designate in advance that UVA should get your scores, we know your scores will be here when we start to review your file. This doesn't mean you aren't allowed to send scores from tests taken after the deadline. It just means that there is a chance that we will have already started to review your file before those scores arrive.

You should still send those scores. After all, our review takes a few months and there's a possibility we'll be looking at your file several times after the scores arrive. Make sure there are SAT or ACT scores in your file by the deadline, but it is perfectly fine to send updated or new scores later.

Feel free to ask questions about testing in the comments!

Jack isn't stressed about testing at all.