• 513-754-2240

Submitting ACT and SAT Scores on the Common App: A Step-By-Step Guide

As rising high school seniors start college applications, it's time to figure out if your student wants to share scores with colleges that are test optional or they want to withhold them.

And it's likely, they'll also be applying to schools that require scores too. 

Step 1: Are Scores Required?

There's only one place spot where you'll find the score reporting policy of the college - the college's own website. Do not trust third party sources. And remember, policies are continually changing, so don't trust outdate information. 

By August 1 of each year, policies are in place for that year's seniors. Be sure you have accurate information.

Step 2: Should Scores be Submitted Where Optional?

If your student has strong scores at or above the average ACT and SAT scores for the given college, scores can only help not hurt. So submit!

Test Optional doesn't = don't send. 

If your student has scores below the average, then you will likely want to withhold scores. Will withholding hurt your chances of admission? Maybe. The school will make the correct assumption that the scores aren't strong. 

Some colleges like The Ohio State University, the University of Notre Dame and Georgia Tech believe that scores are strong predictors of a student's future success on their campus. 

OSU ACT-SAT Score Policy:
"We recommend applicants take the ACT or SAT and submit test scores if they are available, as we believe that standardized test scores provide useful information and predictive value about a student’s potential for success at Ohio State."
The students who most benefit from test optional policies are those who meet institutional priorities. That means a specific area or objective that a college or university considers of utmost importance in its overall strategic plan and operations. It represents a focus area that the institution aims to address and allocate resources towards in order to achieve specific goals or outcomes.
For example, if a college wants students from a particular zip code or state, that would be an institutional priority and the college might be more lenient on students who meet that priority. 
If you are having trouble deciding whether to submit scores for your teen or not, our ACT-SAT Goal Score Workbook will help give you guidance. Download it here

Step 3: Enter Scores in the Common App

If your student has any schools at all that require ACT or SAT scores, inside the Common App navigate to the "Testing" section on the left sidebar. 
  1. Answer "yes" you want to provide scores.
  2. Enter scores with the highest individual Composite and Section scores earned so far, even if they are from different test dates.

In essence, the Common App is asking you to SuperScore your ACT or SAT

Using the Yes/No at the top of the section will then allow students to turn score reporting on or off as they submit each college. Even when "no" is selected then turned back to "yes" the scores will still be there. 

Step 4: Check Self-Reporting Score Policies

When a college allows students to self-report scores, it means that during the application process, students are given the option to report their standardized test scores (such as SAT or ACT) on their own without officially sending the scores from the testing agencies directly to the college.

Traditionally, colleges required applicants to request official score reports from the testing agencies to be sent directly to the institution. However, with self-reporting policies, colleges allow students to input their test scores directly into their application or an online portal.

Here's how it works: 

  1. Students provide their test scores in the Common (or other) App.

  2. Students are considered for admission based on honestly reporting their scores in the application.

  3. If admitted and then the student enrolls, the college will validate by the student sending their official scores directly from the testing agencies to the college for verification.

  4. It's important for students to accurately self-report their scores. Misreporting scores intentionally or unintentionally can have consequences, including rescinding an admission offer or revoking scholarships if the actual scores differ significantly from the self-reported scores.

Each official score report costs money, so this is a nice savings for your family. 

Just as with test reporting policies the only place to check if the college will permit self reporting of scores is on the college's website. 

If a college or university doesn't allow self reporting of scores, be sure you order scores to be sent directly from ACT or SAT well in advance of the college application deadline. 

Step 5: Submit College Applications

When submitting applications, double check that you've turned off or on the testing section in the main application per the policy and your student's individual decision on submitting scores. 


Older Post
Newer Post
Close (esc)


Use this popup to embed a mailing list sign up form. Alternatively use it as a simple call to action with a link to a product or a page.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now