Blog Academics, College Preparation

How to Send Your ACT Scores to Colleges

Monday, October 15, 2018


If you are registered to take the ACT or are considering taking the test soon, you may want to have your scores sent to the college you hope to get into in the future.

Four free score reports

Everyone who takes the test has the option to have four score reports sent to different colleges or scholarship programs. You can make this decision when you register for the ACT until noon CST the Thursday after your test date. Keep in mind though, you will not have seen your score before the scores are sent to your school. So, if you score poorly then the college of your choice may know this before you get the news. You are not required to send your score out in advance, just know that this is a free option.

Additional score reports

If you’ve used up all your free score reports or you need to send more reports to different colleges, you can still order additional reports. After you receive your score, simply login to your ACT account or fill out an order form for additional score reports. Your account allows you to see your scores from all of the ACTs you’ve taken and create separate reports for colleges to see. The drawback is that each report cost $13 so use discretion when sending out your reports.

Choosing which scores to send

The ACT allows you to decide which scores you want to send out to specific colleges. If you took the ACT three times, then you could choose to send your top score. However, some colleges require you to send all of your scores in their submission policies. Read their fine print to see if this applies to you.

When scores should be sent

Sending a college your scores early does not increase your chances of being admitted to a school. Some students have even tried this as early as their junior year. Most colleges require your full application to be submitted before they will look at your score. If your scores are sent prior to receiving your application, usually your score goes in a general file and is stored away. Additionally, you should wait to send your score until you are satisfied with the result. If you need to retake the test and your score was already sent in, then the school will have your lower test score on file. Ensure that your test score is received prior to the application deadline though to be considered for admission.

Length of time to get test scores

Tests that only feature the multiple choice sections usually take two weeks to grade, but it can take up to eight weeks. If you completed the optional writing section, then it will take an extra two weeks on top of the previous time frame. If you are an international student, it can take an additional one to two weeks if the test was taken outside of the U.S. or Canada.

Results are posted online

When the multiple choice test is graded, the results will be available online. The test with the writing option will be posted two weeks later since it takes additional time to grade.

Electronic versus mail

Every college decides how often it will receive ACT scores. Some schools get scores daily whereas other schools only get them in batches every two weeks. Most schools get the scores electronically. Colleges will also accept paper scores delivered through first class mail. At a minimum you need to allow for one week for ordering scores, and one week for the college to get access to your scores. So order your scores at least two weeks prior to the application deadline. If you are waiting to take the test, ensure you complete the test a minimum of seven weeks before the application is due, otherwise it may not be delivered in time.

Send your ACT scores to University of Northwestern – St. Paul using the code 2138.