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One Small Thing to Check Before Your College Application Deadlines

I feel like a broken record this time of year; "It depends" is my common response to families when they ask me questions about how to report ACT and SAT scores to colleges. Every college is entitled to have their own test reporting policy and it can get very confusing.

Right about now is the perfect time to find out what each college on your list wants. Some colleges want self-reported test scores. Some want an official score report from the ACT and College Board. Some want them uploaded to the admissions portal. And some just aren't clear. 
The first step in figuring out what to do is to check the college's admissions website. Hopefully, the policy is clear as day.
Thank you, Bard College, for making your test score policy clear. Right on the website they indicate that if students want their ACT or SAT scores evaluated in the admissions process, they self-report their scores right on the application. Easy as pie!
I love a college that will permit self-reported scores right on the application. It saves the student money. It gives the student complete control over which scores the college sees. And it removes any concern about scores not reaching the college in time. Students should not send official score reports to colleges that clearly ask for self-reported scores. That is a big no-no.
Boston College also makes their test-reporting policy clear on their admissions website. For now, Boston College is test-optional (even though I am hearing they clearly want test scores). If a student wants their scores evaluated, they are required to send an official score report from the ACT or College Board. 
For colleges that require official score reports from the ACT or College Board, you need to plan ahead. Score reports can take time to reach the college or for the college to actually process the scores, especially leading up to deadlines. I recommend sending score reports about a month in advance of the deadline. And students do not have to wait to apply before sending their official scores; they can send their official scores before they submit their application.
But what if a college's test-reporting policy is unclear? What do you do? Call the admissions office and find out for sure. 

READ MORE: When to Use the Additional Information Section on Common App

So "it depends" when it comes to reporting test scores. I am constantly checking colleges' admissions websites to remind myself of individual policies. Like most things in the college admissions process, reporting test scores is another confusing step because it varies from school to school. I wish there was a universal answer when it comes to reporting ACT and SAT scores. Yet finding out a college's policy well in advance of any deadlines can allow you to plan accordingly.