Should You Send Scores to Colleges When Registering for SAT/ACT?

Several high school students taking a test in a classroom
As part of registering for the SAT/ ACT test, Collegeboard and ACT allow you to be able to send your test scores directly to four colleges at no additional charge. Collegeboard even extends a nine-day grace period after the test day to send scores at no additional fee.
The following option confounds many parents and students: Is now the time to send scores directly to colleges? Does it help or create problems down the road?

The simple answer is, there is no downside to listing colleges to receive scores from the test. If had a bad test day, you can always cancel your test scores. If the scores are below your expectations, colleges will simply select your higher test scores from a later or prior test date.

However, a more nuanced answer will be based on whether you are junior or senior.
For juniors, my suggestion is to not worry about listing colleges. You are many months away from finalizing your college list. The savings from not having to pay for scores is deceptive because chances are that you will have additional colleges you will be applying to.
For seniors, you should already have colleges you are applying to and their approaching deadlines. Definitely consider listing colleges at the time you are  registering for the SAT/ACT.
The other question that is often asked at the time of registering for the SAT/ACT is whether you should take the test with essay or without. Read our blog post where we discuss this question.