When and how do you get them? And what do they include?
If you took your ACT recently, then these questions are probably on your mind. The good news? I have some information to offer you. The bad news? Some of it is fairly vague. Just warning you now. 🙂
When will you get your ACT Score Report?
The short answer is 2-8 weeks after you take the test. Yep, you read that right. Sometime between two weeks and two months from when you take the test. Though, to be honest, you’ll probably receive your scores within a month. The ACT just gives you a long range of dates in case something weird happens.
How will you receive your ACT scores?
The score report you receive will be different from the report that gets sent to your high school, which is different from the one that’s sent to the colleges or scholarship programs that you’re applying to. There are three types of ACT score reports:
1. Student Report
The report that you’ll receive from The ACT is called a Student Report. You’ll be able to access it online, through your ACT Web account. It’ll include your ACT scores (by test and combined), as well as college and career information.
2. High School Report
The report that your high school receives is called a High School Report. Not a very inspired name, but it gets the job done. This report includes all the same information that’s in the Student Report, plus an image of your essay if you chose to take the ACT Plus Writing test.
3. College Report
Finally, there’s the College Report, which you’ll eventually need to send to each university or scholarship agency that you apply to. The College Report is a bit different from the Student and High School Reports, in that it contains additional information.
The ACT College Report includes your ACT scores, an image of your ACT Plus Writing essay, the grades you reported on up to 30 courses that you took in high school, and predictions for your performance in specific college programs and courses. Yeah, it’s pretty serous.
What’s important to remember here is that you have to ask for your ACT scores to be sent to colleges and scholarship organizations. This doesn’t happen automatically. You can opt to send your ACT scores to certain colleges when you register for the ACT. You’re allowed to select up to six programs at the time you register for the ACT, and the cost of these score reports is included in your registration fee.
Or, you can wait to send your scores until after you’ve taken the ACT and know how you performed. You’ll have to pay an extra $10-$20 per score report, but it’ll probably be worth it. More on that in a second.
ACT Score Reports
When should you send your score report to colleges?
When you send your ACT Score Report to colleges, the ACT only sends your scores on that one particular ACT exam. So, if you had already taken the ACT twice, but never sent those scores to colleges, the colleges will never see the scores on those tests.
This is really important to keep in mind when you’re choosing when to send your score reports. It might be really tempting to choose some programs when you register for the ACT, because you can send six score reports at no additional cost.
My advice? Don’t.
If you choose to send your score reports to colleges when you register for the ACT, the schools will receive your score report at the same time you do. Which means that you won’t know your score before the report is sent! If you bomb your ACT, these schools will automatically receive those bad scores. And once they’ve seen your ACT scores, they don’t unsee them.
So, while there is definitely a cost advantage to sending your score reports when you register for the ACT, I recommend waiting until you receive a score that you’re proud of. Then send your ACT score reports.
Note: If you can tell that you performed horribly on your ACT (like, you got food poisoning halfway through the exam and didn’t even finish the test), you have until the Thursday following the test to cancel your scores without ever seeing them.
The ACT offers all sorts of information about sending score reports, from report ordering options to costs and delivery options and helpful tips. I highly recommend reviewing all the official information!
Is this how the SAT works, too?
For the most part. The SAT now also offers score choice, although in the past, it sent colleges all of your scores. So regardless of whether you take the ACT or SAT, you have control over which scores you want to send. Keep in mind that in some cases it might be advantageous to send multiple test dates if a college “superscores,” meaning it calculates a combined SAT or ACT score out of your best individual section scores. This is much more common on the SAT than the ACT.
Alright, that’s enough about ACT score reports for now. If you have any questions or concerns, leave me a comment below and I’ll get right back to you. 🙂
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About Rita Neumann
Rita creates fun, inspiring, and educational resources that introduce students to Magoosh and help them prep for their exams. She earned both her BA and Master of Pacific International Affairs from UC San Diego, where she also studied Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Rita loves education and marketing, just as much as she loves vinyasa yoga and baking chocolate chip cookies.
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