To report or not report? That is the question! And there are multiple interpretations as well.
Take a look at three of the questions I get asked most on a daily basis...
How does a student know if they should report their test scores for a test-optional college?
Look at the college's most recent admissions data, typically found right on the college's admissions website. Look for the Class of 2025, for example. This is the current freshman class and the one that is most relevant to this year's high school seniors. The middle 50% range of ACT or SAT scores is what you want to look for. This represents the middle 50% range of test scores for the admitted class, which, again, is the most relevant to the students applying. If you look at a college's Common Data Set, the test scores reported are usually from the prior year and they are for the enrolled students, not the admitted ones. And the admitted students' scores are typically higher on average, thus making it more accurate for an applicant to consider. If the student's scores fall within or higher than the middle 50% (on all sections), the student can comfortably report their test scores. If the student's scores fall below that middle 50% range, they should consider applying test-optional (without scores) as long as their high school transcript is competitive for the college.
If a student decides they want their scores considered, should they self-report the scores right on the application or send official test score reports from the ACT or College Board?
A growing number of colleges are specifically requesting or requiring that students self-report test scores right on the application. This saves the student money and time. It also allows the student to put their best foot forward by only reporting the scores they want the college to see. If a college requires a student to self-report test scores, please listen and follow suit! It saves a college an enormous amount of time to not have to process individual score reports for every student who submits one. If a student ends up being admitted and decides to enroll, that is when the official score report would be required. If a college specifically requires a score report from the ACT or the College Board, please make sure to leave plenty of time as score reports often get delayed this time of year.
Can a student submit their test scores to some colleges but not others?
Yes! How I recommend that students go about this is to individually adjust the testing section on the application for each college they apply to. So, let's say you are applying to College A and you want College A to see your test scores; you can self report your scores in the testing section and submit your application to College A. And then if you don't want College B to get your test scores, you can delete those test scores from the application before you submit your application to College B. And so on. Changes made to Common App are not going to change the applications that were already submitted. However, with all of this back and forth it is absolutely crucial that a student reviews each application in preview mode and also has an adult reviewing everything to make sure that every application that is submitted is accurate and correct.