As college-bound high school seniors continue to sort out problems with the new Common Application, one question that keeps popping up concerns the use of Score Choice in reporting test results to colleges.
Without calling the policy by any particular name, the ACT operates similarly and students who take this test are also free to select results by test date to send to colleges.
Although most colleges would prefer to receive the results from all tests taken, nearly all honor the terms of Score Choice and allow students the flexibility to pick and choose from tests for purposes of fulfilling application requirements.
But since the College Board formally debuted Score Choice nearly five years ago, it’s caused nothing but problems because a handful of colleges refuse to honor the terms of Score Choice and specifically require the submission of ALL standardized test results.
And it’s complicated. Some colleges require all SAT’s and all ACT’s (University of Pennsylvania). Others require all SAT’s or all ACT’s (Yale University). Some lump Subject Tests in with the requirement (Georgetown University) and others exclude Subject Tests from the requirement (Stanford University).
This year, the problems are exacerbated by poor wording on the Common Application, which appears to require applicants to report all SAT and ACT scores as opposed to only those they “wish” to report.
Within hours of launch last August, counselors familiar with the degree of flexibility allowed by Score Choice begged Common App officials to change the wording on questions relating to score reports.
After much hemming and hawing, some initial changes were made but for whatever reason, the process stalled and students were advised by the Common App Help Desk to just ignore the wording and report whatever they wanted on the form.
At the NACAC conference in Toronto, the problem was once again brought to the attention of Rob Killion, the Common Application’s executive director. Before a huge audience of counselors and college representatives, he agreed to fix the wording to conform with Score Choice.
But the question was only partially fixed for purposes of reporting AP scores and SAT Subject Test Scores. It was not fixed for reporting SAT’s and ACT’s.
And as of this writing, dropdown menus still ask a student to provide information that runs counter to the terms of Score Choice.
So rather than falsely answering what appears to be a straightforward request for the total number of tests taken, many students are declining to self-report ACT’s and/or SAT’s.
At the end of the day, self-reporting of test scores is optional. Official results must be sent in accordance with stated institutional policies from either the College Board or the ACT.
Although colleges are not always clear on their websites and the single “official” handbook on Score Choice policies contains many inaccuracies has not been updated since 2012, it’s important to know where colleges on your list stand on score reporting requirements before arranging for official reports to be sent.
Here are a few colleges that do not participate in Score Choice: