When are September ACT scores available?

October 15 is the application deadline for three of the colleges that I'm applying to in the fall. My question is, when can I send in score reports?? I have already taken the SAT and ACT, and have gotten pretty much the same score on them (31 and 2070), but I am pretty confident that I will improve significantly when I take September ACT.

Will I be able to see my scores from the September test and send them into colleges in time? Or should I send the free score reports I get with registration and take the risk of not knowing what the scores are beforehand?

Also, should I send my current scores as a failsafe in case I don't make the deadline, or is that just a waste of money?

If you're taking the ACT without Writing, you should have time to send your September ACT scores to colleges even with the October 15th application due date. Multiple choice scores for the test are typically released about two weeks after the test. That means you'll get your full scores by the first week of October. It should take schools no more than two weeks to receive your scores electronically after you see them and send them out, which brings you to right around the application deadline.

If you're taking ACT with Writing, however, you might not be able to send your score in time for schools with October deadlines. Last year, after the first administration of the updated ACT Writing test, many students were upset to find that the grading of the Writing exam was taking longer than expected, mainly because ACT, Inc. will not send your scores to colleges until your entire test is graded. So even if your multiple choice test had been answered, if you'd taken the ACT with Writing and the essay wasn't scored yet, your scores wouldn't be sent out. It's to be hoped that with time, grading for the new ACT Writing test has gotten smoother and won't result in these kinds of delays...but ACT, Inc. does give the disclaimer that scores could take as long as 8 weeks to be available after the test date (which in most cases is after EA/ED deadlines).

As a precaution, I'd recommend contacting the admissions offices at colleges with the October deadlines to see what their specific policies are on receiving scores after the application deadline. Most schools don't have a problem receiving scores slightly later, but if you're feeling nervous about sending them so late you should definitely ask directly to give yourself some peace of mind.

As to sending your current scores, I'd say it's a good idea to send your 31 ACT score if it's not a huge financial hardship. If you improve on the September ACT, then just send those scores as well. If not, you're already done with your application.

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