I just got done reading an article from the Los Angeles Times on June 21, 2008. The article is about how the College Board will begin allowing its test takers, starting with the class of 2010, to choose “which of their SAT scores to share with admissions officers and which to hide.”
In other words the College Board is going to allow you to decide to send your best test date score or the history of all of your scores. At first thought, I’m sure that the idea of only sending your best score will relieve some stress for you because you know us admissions folks won’t be seeing your lower scores. It also probably makes you feel more confident that we won’t see that you took the exam four, five, or even six times to ultimately get a score that you feel good about. (BTW, is anyone ever really happy with their score? Okay…maybe those 5 students that get a perfect 2400.)
Both of these thoughts are good ones, but to be honest I’m not that happy about the change because I think it will get many students to think it’s a great idea without realizing all of the consequences of not sending all of their scores.
Here’s what I mean. An overwhelming majority of admissions offices across the country do what my institution, the College of Charleston, does. We look at all of your scores and then we combine your best scores from each section to give you your best overall – even if those scores weren’t on the same test date. It is really a win-win for all students. By selecting to send us just one score you eliminate our ability to do that for you, and in essence you could be hurting your chances of being admitted. So if you decide you only want to send your best scores, make sure you send the test dates that show your highest score in each sub section (not just the score of your best test date).
Also consider, by not sending us all of your scores it stops an admissions office from seeing how you were able to improve your scores and the context in which you did it. Sometimes being able to see that is invaluable to a student’s record because it shows how hard the student worked to get those scores. That said, not all students are fortunate enough to take the exam multiple times because of cost. Is it really fair that some students can take the test several times and some can only afford to take it once or twice, but when it comes time to review those scores, admissions offices can’t see the advantage the more privileged student had? It’s a tough call.
What’s best for you? That’s for you to decide, but whatever your decision, make sure you educate yourself on the changes and how it could affect your applications.