SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

What Is the SAT Waitlist? Should You Get on It?

Posted by Samantha Lindsay | Jun 20, 2015 12:32:33 PM

SAT General Info



Did you miss the registration deadline for the SAT test date you wanted? You still might have a chance to take the test if you get on the waitlist.

Here are instructions on how to register for the SAT waitlist followed up by some advice on whether it's the right choice for you.


Requesting SAT Waitlist Status

You can request waitlist status between the late registration deadline and five days before the test date. This request must be made through your College Board account, and you should choose only one test center and test type (either the regular SAT or any of the SAT Subject Tests without listening sections).

Here's a table of the test dates for 2016-2017 along with the latest dates you can sign up for the waitlist:

Test Date Waitlist Deadline
October 1, 2016 September 26, 2016
November 5, 2016 October 31, 2016
December 3, 2016 November 28, 2016
January 21, 2017 January 16, 2017
March 11, 2017 March 6, 2017
May 6, 2017 May 1, 2017
June 3, 2017 May 29, 2017


Otherwise, waitlist registration works almost the same way as normal registration. You'll need to pay for test registration, upload a photo of yourself, and print out your Waitlist Ticket, which will be delivered to you via your online account. 


What Happens on the Day of the Test

Students on the waitlist are admitted to the test center on a first-come first-served basis. If there are enough materials left in terms of test booklets, staff, and seating after all the normal registration students have been accounted for, you will be able to take the test.

You'll pay a waitlist fee of $46 if you're admitted to the test center on the date you request. Unfortunately, fee waivers are not accepted for the waitlist fee. The good news is that if you're not admitted to the test center on that date, your registration fee will be refunded. 

Make sure you bring an acceptable photo ID and your Waitlist Ticket, along with all the other testing materials you’ll need. If you need to test with accommodations, you'll still be able to do so as long as your situation doesn’t involve any special equipment.

For example, if you need extended time or extended breaks, you should be able to test with those conditions provided they're confirmed by your Waitlist Ticket. However, anything that requires extra setup or coordination such as a computer for the essay, a scribe for the essay, a magnifier or other seeing accomodations for the test, or a reader for the test won't be available if you test with waitlist status. 


body_waitlistticket.jpgThe Waitlist Ticket provides you with an all access tour of the College Board factory - if you are pure of heart, you just might inherit the factory from Dr. S.A.T. College Board.


Reasons to Get on the SAT Waitlist

Is the SAT waitlist the right choice for you? Remember, you only have until five days before the test date to sign up for it. If one of these situations applies to you, you should think about getting on the waitlist. 


Reason #1: This Is Your Last Chance to Take the SAT 

If it’s your senior year and you just missed the late registration deadline for the December test date, you might consider the waitlist. Many colleges don’t accept scores from SATs taken later than December of your senior year. If you’re still unsatisfied with your scores and believe you could do better if you took the test one more time, sign up for the waitlist so you have that chance.


Reason #2: It’s Important to Your Game Plan That You Take the SAT at This Time

If you've been planning for this date for a while and know it’s the best time for you to take the test when considering your overall college application plan, consider getting on the waitlist after missing the regular deadline. For example, if this is a test in the spring of your junior year and you want to use the results to study over the summer for your last chance at the SAT senior fall, the waitlist is a good option. 

In general, if this was supposed to be a “benchmark test” for you (your first test junior fall, your second test junior spring, or your last test senior fall) but you forgot to register, you would be smart to consider going on the waitlist to keep yourself on track.


Reason #3: You Want to Get the Question and Answer Service 

The Question and Answer Service is the SAT’s most comprehensive score review resource. It gives you a copy of your test booklet and provides all the details for the questions you answered correctly, incorrectly, and omitted. It is only available for October, January, and May test dates.

If you know that you won’t get another opportunity to use the QAS as a study tool if you miss this test date, you should consider signing up for the waitlist. Remember, on other test dates you can still order the Student Answer Service, which is a less in-depth version of the Question and Answer Service.


Your final scores are just the tip of the SAT iceberg. You'll need to plunge into the watery depths with the QAS to find out how to improve them.


Reasons to Wait for the Next Date

Sometimes it’s not a good idea to go on the waitlist. It’s a lot of extra money, and you might not absolutely need to take the SAT on this test date. Here are a couple of reasons to hold off:


Reason #1: Waiting Until the Next Date Won't Impact Your Plans Much

For example, if it’s your junior year and you missed the October registration deadline, it might not be a big deal for you to take the test in November instead. You would still get in one SAT during your junior fall and have time in between that test and other test dates in the winter and spring to study.


Reason #2: The Waitlist Fee Is Too Large of a Financial Burden

As mentioned above, you can’t get a fee waiver for the waitlist fee. If you think it’s going to be a big strain on you to pay the extra $46, don’t go on the waitlist unless it’s really your last chance to take the SAT and you're counting on a higher score to get into your dream college.


The Bottom Line

You can put yourself on the SAT Waitlist up to five days before the test date.

It’s a $46 fee!

Consider getting on the waitlist if you're relying on this test date to stay on track with your study plan or it’s your last chance to take the SAT before applying to college.

Don’t get on the waitlist if you can take the test on the next date instead without major consequences.

Avoid putting yourself in this situation by being aware of test dates and registering far in advance!


What's Next?

Still trying to decide whether the next test date is a good fit for you? Read this article for advice. If you're coming up on senior fall, read this article to find out more about the best test dates for seniors.

If you already took the SAT and are waiting for your scores or trying to figure out how to interpret your results, you can learn more about that process here. 

Concerned about or confused by your SAT scores? Learn about ordering the Question and Answer Service and Student Answer Service or, for more extreme cases, Hand Score Verification. 


Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points? We've written a guide about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

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Samantha Lindsay
About the Author

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.

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