I don’t know what the number one most stressful college application drama is, but a list of the top three has got to include missing SAT scores. You’ve invested time, energy, and maybe even a little of your sanity into reaching your SAT goal, so it’s totally reasonable to be rattled by this kind of curveball.
But before you panic, read this article to troubleshoot some of the most common reasons that SAT scores go missing. I will talk about what to do if you yourself can't find your scores, as well as what to do if the college you're applying to says your scores are missing.
Either way, most likely, you’re looking at a pretty simple problem with a pretty painless solution.
How to Check Your SAT Scores
Before we get into figuring out what to do about missing SAT scores, let's go over where your scores can be found if everything is going according to plan.
Although usually SAT scores are ready 3 weeks after your test date, because of the test update, scores for next few test dates will take longer than usual. For example, the March 2016 SAT scores will take about 10 weeks to score, while the May and June 2016 SAT scores will each take about 6 weeks to score.
You can find your scores in the My Organizer section of the College Board’s SAT website. For a detailed, step-by-step guide to using these online tools to find your score, read our guide to looking up your SAT scores.
If you've tried finding your scores this way but haven't had much luck, let's go through the possible reasons why.
Well, of course this blue panda doesn't know. Why did we even ask it?
What to Do If You Can't Find Your Scores
There are a number of reasons why your scores might not be showing up on the College Board website. Let's investigate together.
Are You Looking in the Wrong Place?
If you can you see only your most recent SAT score, and are missing scores from earlier test dates, you might be on the wrong section of the SAT site.
To see all the SAT tests you’ve taken recently:
- Go to My Organizer.
- Click SAT Scores on the left side menu.
- Click Access My Scores in the middle of the screen.
- Enter your username and password for the security check.
- Scroll down past the "My Test Registration" box to get to the "My Test Scores" box.
Are Your Scores Not Ready Yet?
If you are checking less than 3 weeks after your test date, you will most likely not see your score listed because it takes 3 weeks for the College Board to score your SAT. Also remember: if you took the test in March, May, or June 2016, your scores will only be available after 6-10 weeks.
If it's been 3 weeks since your test, you didn't take the test in March, May, or June 2016, and you still don't see your scores, your test could have been flagged for more attention. Scores may be released later for all sorts of reasons, usually to do with resolvable answer sheet problems. For instance, your answer sheet could have arrived late to the College Board. Or it could have had either missing information or you could have filled it out slightly differently than your registration.
If your test falls into this small group of flagged tests, you will see a message telling you to check back later. Just head back to the site on the recommended date—usually about a week later—to check again for your scores and to see your full score report.
Wouldn't it be sweet if the SAT website responded to passive-aggressive watch-tapping and eye-rolling?
Did Something Unusual Happen at Your Testing Site?
Think back to the day of your test: did anything weird occur? Scores can also be delayed if something out of the ordinary happened.
For example, if inclement weather closed the test site or if you were sick or need to reschedule your test, your scores will be released after the test day scores.
Or maybe you or someone else reported a complaint about testing conditions or the test center itself. If the College Board got a complaint about something that went wrong on the day you took the test, your scores could be delayed while the complaint is investigated.
Well, we did have to complain about the noise from that one kid's art-copter... does that count?
Are Your Scores From a Long Time Ago?
If you're out of high school and your test scores are more than a year old, they won't show up online any more. Instead, you have to request them from the College Board's archives for a fee.
You can order scores by mail by sending an Archived Score Report Order Form to SAT Program, P.O. Box 7503, London, KY 40742-7503.
You can also call Customer Service at (866) 756-7346.
What to Do If Your College Doesn't Have Your Scores
Sometimes it's not you, but your college, that can't find your SAT scores. So if you've gotten the alarming letter, email, or phone call telling you that your application isn't complete, let's work through the possibilities.
Did You Only Send in Earlier SAT Scores?
If you choose to use the 4 free score reports you get with SAT test registration, you have to re-select the colleges you want the reports sent to each time. Otherwise, they won't get the more recent scores. In other words, if you retake the SAT this fall, the 4 colleges you named on last year's registration wouldn't automatically get your new results unless you listed them again.
Are Your Scores Missing From Your Application?
Imagine the immense amount of paperwork and electronic records that admissions offices deal with during application time. Because of this sort of chaotic atmosphere, colleges may have already received your scores but just haven't processed and logged them yet. Filing your scores in with your application can take as long as a week!
To see if this is the case, you should feel free to call the college’s admissions office and calmly and respectfully ask them to double-check whether they've gotten your scores. Just remember that it's best to wait about three weeks after you send your scores before calling.
Still, sometimes things do get lost in the mail, misfiled, or electronically derailed. If the admissions office really can't find your SAT score report, don't lose your head. Instead, order a new score report from the College Board website as soon as possible so that you get it in as close to the application deadline as possible.
Pro tip: whatever you do, don't simply send the college a copy of your score report. This is not official and will not count as a score submission.
Is it weird that this is how I picture admissions offices after application season?
Disasters Do Happen, but Don't Panic!
Now that we've gone through the most common, most likely, and most solvable scenarios, we can move on to the highly improbable and darn near unbelievable. Sometimes tests go missing because of sheer ludicrousness. But if such a freak incident does occur, a reasonable and equitable solution (sometimes helped along by some press coverage) is sure to follow.
For example, your testing site could have simply boxed up your answer sheets and forgotten about them. This is what happened in Loudoun County Schools in Virginia for the test administered May 2nd, 2015. Luckily, the tests were eventually found and the College Board scored them through an expedited process.
Or, your test booklet could have had a timing misprint that totally messed up the scoring process. That's what happened to everyone in the country that took the SAT on June 6th, 2015. The College Board is offering to waive fees on retests for anyone who didn't make it through the incorrectly labeled sections.
Just imagine the story you'll get out of it, if this happens to you. You'll be dining out on that nonsense for weeks!
Curious whether you should retake the SAT now that you’ve found your missing SAT scores? Learn all about what's a low score, what's a good score, and what's an excellent score. Then, you narrow down what your own target SAT score should be.
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Anna scored in the 99th percentile on her SATs in high school, and went on to major in English at Princeton and to get her doctorate in English Literature at Columbia. She is passionate about improving student access to higher education.