Can You Send SAT Scores After The Application Deadline?

Can You Send SAT Scores After the Application Deadline?

Here’s a question for all the parents out there who are in the thick of college applications: can you send SAT scores after the application deadline? The short answer is, unfortunately, no. But the long answer is a little more complicated than that. Read on to find out everything you need to know about deadlines and how you can be ahead of the game.

The Role of SAT Scores

For most colleges, SAT scores are an essential part of the application review process. Colleges use official scores, along with other factors like a high school transcript and extracurriculars, for the holistic review process of each applicant and decide who to give an offer of admission to and who to deny. 

SAT scores can tell colleges a lot about an applicant. For example, a high score can show that an applicant is academically capable of succeeding in college-level coursework. Additionally, research has shown that there is a strong correlation between SAT scores and first-year college grades. In other words, students with higher SAT scores are more likely to get good grades in college. 

SAT scores are so important because they provide colleges with quantitative data that can be used to compare applicants side-by-side. That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that colleges also value qualitative factors like essays, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities. So even if your SAT scores aren’t as high as you’d like them to be, don’t despair—there are other ways to make your application stand out.

The Deadline Dilemma

So what happens if you miss the deadline to submit your official test scores? Unfortunately, if you don’t submit your scores by the deadline, most colleges will not consider them in their evaluation of your application. 

There are a few exceptions to this rule. Some colleges will “super score” your application, which means they’ll take your highest score from each section of the test (regardless of when you took the test) and combine them into a new composite score. 

Additionally, some colleges may allow you to submit late test scores if you have a solid academic record or if testing was disrupted in your area due to circumstances beyond your control (e.g., a natural disaster, global pandemic, etc.). If either of these applies to you and you’re worried about missing the deadline, reach out to the admissions office at the schools you’re applying to and explain your situation—they may be willing to make an exception in your case. 

Some Caveats:

Early Action

Early Action, or EA, is a college admissions process that offers applicants the opportunity to receive an admissions decision ahead of regular admissions decisions. This can be a great option for students who want to know whether they have been admitted to their dream school early on in the admissions cycle and have time to prepare accordingly. In order to apply for Early Action, students must submit their application materials, final test results, letters of recommendation, written essays, and any subject tests by an earlier deadline.

Test-optional policy / Test-Blind

This is the only application process where you would not have to submit your SAT or ACT scores at an appropriate deadline. These policies indicate that test scores are not a part of or as important to their admission decision.

Scholarship Programs

Scholarships are typically the loophole in the late submission process. Many schools have policies that will admit you into the school if your scores are high enough for admission and let you submit your best scores for a scholarship at a later date. You must contact the university directly to find out what their policies are but many students are eligible for an increase in scholarships if they are willing to get their scores up after their admission into the university.

What to do if you pass a deadline

There are several options you might consider if you miss an admissions deadline:

1) Consider taking a GAP year. This will give you another opportunity to apply the following year and make sure you don’t miss that deadline again. This also gives you more time to package yourself (i.e. increase extracurriculars, increase your ACT test scores, your SAT scores, apply for internships or work. You effectively recreate your senior year without classes. This is good news and means you would have a fresh start with the admission process.

2) Consider a school that has a later admissions deadline. Most competitive schools restrict the timeframe you can be admitted into their school. They want their prospective students to submit early so they can admit early. If you missed a deadline but still want to go to a 4-year university, you might consider a less competitive college with later deadline requirements.

3) Be a transfer student the following year. The last option would be to go to a junior college for 1 year and transfer to your university of choice the following year. This would keep you on the same collegiate track and you would enter as a sophomore.

In short, submission deadlines for SAT scores are firm—most colleges will not consider late scores in their admissions decisions. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule; make allowances for extenuating circumstances beyond an applicant’s control. If you’re worried about submitting late test scores, reach out to the admissions offices at the schools you’re applying to and explain your situation—they may be willing to make an exception in your case! With all of that said, our best advice is to make sure you have a strong college plan, prepare for the tests early in order to obtain high scores, select early test dates so you can prepare to take multiple tests if needed and make sure you have all of your regular decision test dates organized so you don’t forget to submit.

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