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ACT Process

March 7, 2018

ACT scores are arriving this week and others are getting set to register to take the next test so wanted to touch on some important points about the registration process and what actually happens with your score.


How to Send Your ACT Scores: 2 Methods

You can send your ACT scores either when you take the test or any time after you get your scores.


Method 1: Use Your Four Free Score Reports

From the time you register for the ACT until noon Central Time the Thursday after your test date, you have the option of sending out four free score reports to colleges or scholarship programs. However, this means you'll be sending your scores without having actually seen them.


Whether you should take this free reports offer really depends on your circumstances:


Pros: These four reports are free, so you'll save some money.

Cons: You won’t be able to take advantage of the ACT score choice policy (more on this later). In other words, instead of getting to pick and choose which of your scores colleges will see, your test results will be sent to colleges even if you do worse than you expect.

I recommend using the free reports to send scores to colleges that require you to send all your ACT scores.


Method 2: Order Additional Score Reports

You can also send your ACT scores any time after you receive them by logging into your ACT account or by sending in an order form for additional score reports. In your account, you can see your scores from all ACTs you've taken and create reports of these scores for colleges to see.


Here's some advice about whether you should send ACT scores after you've seen them:


Pros: You can customize each score report to have only the test dates you want to send to colleges. This lets you take advantage of ACT score choice (again, I'll tell you all about this a little further down).

Cons: Each score report costs $13 (even for students eligible for fee waivers), and each report can only have one test date and one college on it. For example, sending one test score to 10 schools costs $130, while sending four test scores to one school costs $52. Priority reports cost even more: $16.50 per report. These fees add up quickly, so think carefully about what you want to send where.


Here are some recommendations on when to send additional score reports:

  1. Send scores with your best section results to colleges that superscore the ACT. These schools will make a new composite score for you using your best English, Math, Reading, and Science scores from any ACTs you took.

  2. Send your single highest score to colleges that neither superscore nor require all your scores, to ACT scholarship programs, and to the NCAA/NAIA so you can play college baseball.

IMPORTANT - Some people and websites claim that you can print out your scores from the ACT website and mail or fax them to colleges as a way of sending scores for free. Unfortunately, the vast majority of colleges only accept score reports sent by ACT, Inc. What's more, most colleges only accept electronic scores through ACT's special service.


Can You Choose Which ACT Scores to Send?

Because of the way the ACT score ordering process is structured—you get to pick which s