Most of what you’ll read below can be found couched in more confusing language right at The College Board’s own Score Choice™ website, or in their Score-Use  Practices report. The College Board, obviously, is the final authority since they make the rules, but since I’m often inundated by these questions, I thought it’d be nice to put all my thoughts down in one place. Ready? Me too!

  • Can I send only my math score from the March test? No. If you want a school to see any of your March test, you have to send the whole thing. Obviously this applies for any test, not just the March one.
  • Then what’s the point of Score Choice™? Depends who you ask. The more cynical among us think it’s just a ploy to get kids to take the test more to fill the coffers of The College Board, or a response to the fact that the ACT has always had score choice options. I see it as a big improvement because it allows you to strike a truly putrid performance from your record once you know the score, obviating the need for the panicked same-day-score-cancellation-because-you-sneezed-three-times of yesteryear.
  • So then, how does this work? Basically, you choose which scores to send to which schools, and which scores not to. For the SAT, you can choose to send whole scores from one particular test date, or not, but you can’t, as mentioned above, break it down further and sent only your math score from the March test and your reading score from theMay test. For SAT Subject Tests, you can choose which scores to send by subject. So even if you took Subject Tests in chemistry, US history, and Literature on the same day, you can decide to only send your US history score if that’s the only one you like.
  • Should I send 4 scores for free when I take the test? I advise against it. There’s a chance now that you won’t end up wanting those scores to see the light of day, but once they’re out they stay out. You can’t call up an admissions office and ask them to ignore scores you’ve already sent them. My parsimonious friends complain that it’ll cost you a little more to send scores later, but I think it’s a fair price to pay for peace of mind. Don’t send any scores until you’re DONE taking the SAT.
  • But my school doesn’t participate in Score Choice! Listen. I’m not going to sit here and tell you to lie to any schools to which you apply. If you end up attending that school, it’ll be weird that your very first interaction with them involved academic dishonesty. It will slowly consume you from the inside out, until you are little more than a dull-eyed husk shuffling back and forth between endless meaningless errands, waiting for your merciful release from the crippling guilt. It will never come. But you’re being misled if you think your school has some sort of exemption from The College Board’s rules. From their own site:

    Is there a loophole that allows colleges to “opt out” of Score Choice?

    Colleges cannot “opt out of” or “reject” Score Choice. Score Choice is a feature available to students. Colleges set their own policies and practices regarding the use of test scores. The College Board does not release SAT test scores without student consent. This will continue under Score Choice. Colleges, universities and scholarship programs will receive the scores applicants send to them.

    I should add that although it’s unlikely, there’s a chance your high school might include SAT scores on your official transcript. If you’re planning to leave off a score that you shouldn’t be, make sure you confirm with your counselor that this won’t happen to you. Maybe it’s apocryphal, since I’ve never actually heard of it happening, only heard of someone who knows someone to whom that happened, but you should ask just to make sure.

  • What does “super score” mean? Most (but not all) schools consider your best score from each subject (as opposed to your best single-sitting score) when they look at your application. People like to call this “super scoring.” This was done before Score Choice™, too.
  • How will I know whether my school looks at “super scores” when it considers applicants? You could call them and ask, or you could find your school in this .pdf from The College Board
  • Why do you keep using the ™ symbol in this post? The College Board site does it a bunch, and it just kinda cracks me up. It’s not like “Score Choice” is a super cool phrase that a competitor might want to steal, but someone decided it needed to be protected. I’m just having a bit of fun with it.
  • My scores are _____, what scores should I send? General advice: send scores from every date where you got your best score in at least one section. You’ve got a tougher decision to make if your scores look like this:
    • March ’11: 700R 600M 650W
    • May ’11: 450R 650M 650W

    I honestly don’t know what to tell you about that. Personally, I’d be reluctant to send May ’11, because that 250 point drop in Reading looks pretty terrible. That said, if your school does the kind of super scoring where only your best scores even cross the desk of the admissions officer, you could get away with it. In the rare case that your scores look crazy like these, don’t look to the Internet for advice; call admissions offices directly and get advice from the source.

Well, that’s all I can think of. Did I miss anything?

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