10 months ago
Admissions Advice

Do colleges have access to my test history for the SAT/ACT?

I am sophomore in high school. I am planning to take SAT/ACT later this year, but I know that I will have to take it again in the future during junior year. Will colleges have access to my testing history for the SAT/ACT? In general, how does the SAT and the ACT handle score sending? If someone can please explain that, that would be very greatly appreciated.


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Accepted Answer
10 months ago[edited]

Colleges do not have access to your test history unless you submitted all your test scores to that particular college.

When you take an SAT/ACT test, you get a composite test score. It is up to you whether to pre-send those test scores to a college or send them the test score after you know what you got on them. This is the case for both the SAT and ACT.

So if you took the SAT or ACT say 3 times each you will have 6 test scores. You can either send those 6 scores automatically to your list of colleges when you register for the test or after you get your scores back. Or you can opt-out of sending any of them to any school as well so no one will know you took the tests. However, I think your HS counselor might have a record of your ACT and SAT test scores because they have access to your test scores and sometimes auto-load them up into Naviance. This is what happens at my school.

When you are ready to apply to college, many schools allow you to fill out the Common App or Coalition App with self-reported test scores. If you get accepted, the colleges will ask you to send the Official test score to them to verify your information. If you lie about your test score, your application can get rescinded. So if you got 1420, don't put down you got 1470 because you will have to find another college to apply to.

Also, during the test-optional cycle, if it exists for 2 more years when you apply, the college will ask you in the application whether or not you wish to have your reported SAT or ACT score part of your application for review or not. This means that if you reported a 1420 but then think you'd rather not have your SAT score be part of your file, they will redact the score or black it out so it can't be admitted into the body of criteria for evaluating you.

So when you are a senior, you will have say 10 to 20 colleges on your list and perhaps 3 SAT scores and 2 ACT scores, you will do the following things.

1.) You will Self-report the best score to the college on your application.

2.) For those colleges that require an official score, you will go to Collegeboard or ACT, org, and order a copy of your best score to be sent to the college admissions office directly for something like $13 a pop.

3.) Colleges will not see the entire history of tests you've taken.

4.) However, some colleges require that you submit the entire history of tests you've taken to them, and you better oblige. So in my case, I shall be submitting my entire test history to MIT, Dartmouth, and Stanford, and others.

As long as you keep improving, you have nothing to worry about. I personally think colleges like seeing an upward slope. They just do not want to see someone stuck at a range (say 1200 or 1400) who keeps taking the SAT 5-6 times with no improvement or going backward. Since the SAT and ACT are really not knowledge tests but test-taking tests, most people with better preparation and practice can tweak their scores up. I'm not saying someone can improve from 1000 to 1400 but if you are in the 1250+ - 1400 range you can with 100-200 hours of prep get into the 1400-1550 range if that's what you feel you need. It's better to take a lot of practice tests than to use "real" SAT test dates as your practice tests. That's not so wise.

Good Luck.


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