Taking the SATs is expensive and almost unavoidable if you want to go to college. It’s $52.00 to take the test then an extra $11.25 afterword to send your scores. College Board does give you the option to send your scores to 4 schools for free. The catch is that these schools much be selected before your test date. This means you lose the option of hiding your scores. There’s a lot to think about when deciding if (and who) to send your free test scores to.

Image From: College Board

Image From: College Board

Losing the Right to Hide Scores

When taking the SATs you have the option to not send certain scores to certain schools. This means if you bomb one of the tests you can retake it and not worry about the bad scores being seen. When sending your scores to the 4 free schools this is impossible—no matter what your score is the scores are being sent to those four schools whether you like it or not. This can make the whole situation a lot more stressful.

Your First SATs

It’s pretty common to take the SATs more than once. A lot of students take them the first time to see what they are like and the areas they need to improve on. This is something important to consider. It can be difficult to tell how well you’ll do when you’ve never taken the test before. Before you take the test it’s all practice questions and flash cards.

Sending your first set of SAT scores to you dream school may not be the best idea; remember that once you take the test there is no way to stop those scores from being sent to those schools even if you completely bomb. It can be dangerous to send out your free scores the first time because you don’t really know what type of score you’re going to get. If you want to utilize the free score option then it might be best to send them to you safety schools. Your first SATs are usually used as a base to know which schools will be your safety, match, and reach schools.

Whom to Send Them to

Once you’ve taken the test for the first time, you’ll have an idea of what your score will probably be around. At this point you should have a rough idea of what schools you’ll want to be applying to. Look at the average SAT scores that were accepted to that school. You’ll want to compare these scores to the scores of you previous test or tests. If the scores are close to one another then this is a good indication that that would be a good school to send you free scores to.

Why It’s a Good Idea

It can be a huge money saver. By sending out you 4 free scores, you’re going to end up saving $45.00. It’s also a great thing to use if you’re taking you SATs close to an application deadline. If you send your SAT scores during your junior year and early in your senior year, you’ll let a school know that you’re interested. This sometimes leads you application fees being waived and you end up saving more money.

When it comes to deciding whether or not to use your option of sending free scores, research is one of the most important things to do. You want to do a lot of research on SAT scores that have been accepted into any school that interests you. This isn’t the sort of decision you should be making the night before the test.

It’s important to remember that until you actually look at the test you don’t know what you’re really up against. Sending your first set of scores can be a bit dangerous since you don’t really know how well you’re going to do. It could also make the experience a lot more stressful since you now feel like you have to do you absolute best. The option of sending your scores to four schools free is both a blessing and a curse and should be thought over extensively. The most important thing to remember is once you make the decision there is no going back.

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