After studying diligently for the ACT for months, it’s time to register for the ACT and decide how you want to send your ACT scores to colleges. Here’s the low-down on how and when to send your scores to colleges:
How to Send Your ACT Scores to Colleges
Unfortunately, you can’t just print out your score report and mail it to your school of choice. Most schools only accept official score reports from the ACT, usually sent digitally. So to ensure your scores are sent and accepted by your colleges of choice, you have two options:
1. Send Your Scores for Free
You can send four score reports for free for each ACT test you take. You choose the schools you’d like to send your scores to during the registration process, and your scores are automatically sent to them after your test is scored.
There are pros and cons to this option. It’s attractive because you can send your scores for free, as sending the scores later will cost $15 per report to send.
However, when you choose the free reporting, you don’t get to see your scores before they’re sent to the schools. You’re seeing your scores at the same time as your dream schools–for better or for worse.
This can be risky; what if you were sick or just had an off day, and completely bombed a section? Or what if it’s your first ACT and your score is almost guaranteed to improve the second time you take the test?
For the sake of being able to control how you present yourself to colleges, we only recommend using these free reports if the schools you’re applying to require you to send all your scores (which you can find out through some online research on your schools). If they don’t have this requirement, hold off and request additional score reports after you’ve had a chance to see your score.
What Do Colleges See on My ACT Score Report?
2. Request Additional Score Reports
Unfortunately, being conscientious will cost $15 per score report. Once you have your ACT test results and have made the decision to send them to schools, you can order your score reports online. Ordering by phone or via mail is no longer available.
The ACT has provided a comprehensive breakdown of this process on their website. We’ve included it below for your convenience:
To Order Additional Score Reports Online:
Create or sign in to your ACT web account and click “Send Scores to Colleges” on your dashboard. You’ll need a valid payment method to complete your request.
The ACT processes your request within one week of receipt and delivers reports to colleges you’ve selected depending on their preferred schedule–at least every two weeks.
What if I Registered With a Fee Waiver?
If you registered for the ACT with a fee waiver (which you can do up to four times), according to the ACT “the waiver covers one report to a student’s high school and up to four college choices (at the time he or she registers). After registration, the student can request any number of regular score reports for free.”
So we think this means you can send your scores for free to up to 20 schools, even after you get your scores back! If you have any questions or run into any problems, we suggest calling the ACT for help at 319.337.1270.
How Do I Decide When My Scores Are “Good Enough”?
To determine if your ACT score is competitive enough for a school you’re interested in, take a look at the average ACT scores for the school. If your score is in the 75th percentile (meaning you scored higher than 75% of applicants), then you and your school are a perfect match and should send that score in! You can read more about this in our post about determining how many colleges to apply to.
Finally: Play it Safe
So this has been a lot of information. To wrap it all up, we recommend not sending your scores for free to four colleges (unless the school requires you to send all your scores) and instead, sending your ACT results (for $15 each) to schools after you’ve seen them and have decided they’re the scores you want to send. This way, you’re completely in control of the image you present to the school.
How Many Colleges Should I Apply To?
10 Top Colleges for Each ACT Score Range
How to Interpret Your ACT Score Report