ACT scores are in, and now it’s time to move onto the next step - college applications! You may be wondering how to send your scores and whether you’re making the right choices about which ones you'll allow colleges to see. In this article, I’ll go through how to decide which scores to send and the way the process works overall.
Should I Send My ACT Scores?
ACT has a built-in Score Choice policy that allows you to send only certain scores to colleges based on how well you do on each test date. If you’re very unhappy with one of your ACT scores, you don’t necessarily have to show it to schools. There are some schools that require you to send all of your scores, but most allow you to pick and choose which test dates you want to send.
In order to decide which scores to send or whether you need to take the test again, you should take a look at the score range for your schools of choice. Read this article to learn more about finding your target ACT score. As a general rule, you should aim for a score that represents the 75th percentile of scores for admitted students for your school of choice (meaning your score is higher than 75% of the scores of admitted students). If you’re still not sure whether you should take the ACT again, read our guide to help you decide!
You should also consider superscoring as a factor. Colleges that superscore will take your highest scores from each section of the ACT across multiple tests and average them to create your highest possible composite score. Read this article for more information about how superscoring might affect your strategy on the ACT.
How to Send ACT Scores to Colleges
You can send your ACT scores to colleges several different ways, but the easiest way is to order score reports through your ACT web account. Click on the link that says “Send Your Scores” in your account homepage. You will get something that looks like this, with more dates listed if you took the ACT more than once:
Once you select the date you want to send on your report (remember, every test date requires a separate report even if you’re sending more than one to the same school), you will get to a screen that asks you to fill in the code for the school where you want to send it. You can also search for schools to find the appropriate code:
You can select up to 8 test date and school combinations per score report order. This is what it will look like when you select a school:
You have the option to select either standard or priority reports (more on this in a minute!). After you select the schools and test dates you want, you just have to enter in your credit card info and hit submit, and your score reports will be on their way!
Other methods of sending score reports include:
- Downloading the score report request form and mailing it in
- Calling the ACT (this costs $15 extra just for the call and is ONLY for priority reports - again, I'll talk more about those in a minute)
- Sending a letter of request to the ACT (instructions can be found at this link)
To find the correct ACT college code for these other score reporting methods, use this link.
Types of ACT Score Reports
There are three different types of ACT score reports. I'll describe each type and why you might or might not decide to order it.
Type 1: Free Reports
Whenever you register for the ACT, you have the option to send four free score reports. This is an enticing offer, but it can hurt you if your scores don’t end up being up to par, and you might not even know where you’re applying yet.
Overall, I’d say it’s better to forgo the free reports and wait until you get your scores back. Unfortunately there is no fee waiver available for score reports, but as I said, most schools will allow you to use Score Choice and just send your best score to avoid the extra fees.
Type 2: Regular Reports
Regular reports (reports sent after the free score report period) cost $12 per test date per school. This is another reason why it’s to your advantage to use score choice - it's in your best interest to send the minimum number of score reports to reduce your financial burden.
After the ACT gets your regular score report request, it will take about one week for them to process it and send it to your school of choice. Reports are delivered depending on the schedule of the school, but it’s almost always within two weeks or so of your request.
Type 3: Priority or Rush Reports
Priority reports for the ACT cost $16.50 per test date per school. These are processed two days after the ACT receives your request, as opposed to a week after the request for regular score reports. Priority reports should reach your school within 3-4 business days of your request. These reports can only be sent within the US.
Be careful with rush reporting, because some schools that only receive scores electronically may not review these types of reports any faster than regular reports. Read more about when to order rush reporting here.
Your priority score report is strapped to the back of a cheetah by the ACT - the cheetah's brain has a GPS implant. Some admissions officers might get bitten, but it WILL be there in time.
The process of sending your ACT score reports shouldn’t be too challenging if you know what to expect. Remember that most schools allow score choice, and many of them offer superscoring as well. You should check with your colleges of choice about their policies. You should also be sure you’re ordering reports with enough time to spare so they make it in with your application. Priority reports should be a last ditch option.
As long as you're aware of deadlines and know your options, sending ACT scores to colleges is a cinch!
Want to get a more in-depth look at your ACT scores and use them to study for the next test? Learn more about ordering Test Information Release.
Also check out this article for more information on how to get and interpret your ACT score results.
Not sure whether you should take the ACT with or without Writing? Find out which colleges ask for the Writing section.
Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
Samantha is a blog content writer for PrepScholar. Her goal is to help students adopt a less stressful view of standardized testing and other academic challenges through her articles. Samantha is also passionate about art and graduated with honors from Dartmouth College as a Studio Art major in 2014. In high school, she earned a 2400 on the SAT, 5's on all seven of her AP tests, and was named a National Merit Scholar.