Now that you’re done taking the ACT, you’re wondering how you can send that shiny new score to your dream school. Sharing official scores with colleges can be done before or after you take the test, and it’s actually pretty easy. We’ll walk you through the entire process step by step in this article.

Wait – didn’t I already do this?

When you sign up for the ACT, you have the option to select four schools to receive your score report after you take the test. The advantage of doing this is that there isn’t an additional fee – it’s included with your registration cost. Also, these requests can be made anytime between when you sign up for the test, and noon Central Time on the Thursday after the test is completed.

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However, this isn’t a slam dunk option. Some students prefer to see their scores before they are submitted to any colleges. If you choose the free score reporting option, you can’t change your mind about sharing your scores if you didn’t do as well as you had hoped. Also, this means that superscoring and score choice are no longer options (more on each of those later). So while we certainly appreciate the ACT making this resource available, it may not be the best course of action for everyone.

Do I have to share ALL my scores?

Perhaps you’ve taken the ACT multiple times and you would prefer to only share your most recent score on your college application. Occasionally, some schools will want to see your entire testing history, but many schools will only request one score. You should talk with an admissions counselor at the school where you’re applying to see if you’ll be expected to share all of your scores.

Sharing a super score is also a good option to consider. If you’ve taken the ACT more than once, the ACT provides you an additional score called a “super score,” featuring your best section score from each test all combined into a new composite score.

For example, let’s say your testing history looks like this:

Test English Math Reading Science Composite
One 24 23 25 26 25
Two 27 28 28 24 27
Three 29 27 26 25 27
Superscore 29 28 28 26 28

Not all schools will accept superscores, but many will. Again, your admissions counselor will be able to answer that question for you.

Finally, many schools remain test-optional in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that in many cases, you don’t have to submit a score with your application for it to be considered. At the same time, having a good ACT score certainly won’t hurt your chances. It can also open doors for scholarship opportunities.

Most schools will publish the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles of test scores for admitted students. If you’re unsure of whether or not to submit your score, check these numbers to see how you might stack up against other students at the school where you’re applying.

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What scores can be sent?

The most basic scores to be sent are the scores from one specific test date. This means you took the test and liked all of the section scores and your cumulative score from that test date.

You can also send a superscore! Sounds pretty fancy right? A superscore is when you’ve taken the test at least twice, and would like to choose different section scores from different test dates. Not all colleges accept superscores, but many do. 

When will my scores be ready?

Usually, ACT scores are reported to MyACT in around 10 days but can take up to eight weeks. Writing scores take an additional two weeks to report. If you took the ACT outside of the US or Canada, expect delays of up to 2 weeks. 

It takes about two weeks for scores to be sent after you’ve requested them. After you’ve sent your scores to your universities of choice, you may not see them reflected in your application file immediately.

Colleges have different processing times, so if you are concerned about not seeing your scores in your application, contact the college’s admissions office directly. 

Where can I send scores?

You can send ACT scores to colleges, scholarship agencies, and high schools. Score reports cannot be sent to friends, family, tutoring companies, or any other organizations.

Official reports are sent with comprehensive information about your scores and information; if you want to share your score you can always print out the scores from your MyACT portal. 

Ordering Online

Sending your ACT scores is easier than ever, and here’s how:

  1. Log into your MyACT account. You should see your score listed on the main page of your portal, but if you’re looking for all of your scores click the “scores” tab at the top of the page. 
  2. Click “send this score” on the test date you’re looking to send.
  3. Choose the university you’re looking to send scores to. You can search by State and institution name, or by the university’s 4-digit code. 

You can select up to 8 test dates and school combinations per order. Every test requires a separate report, even if you’re sending more than one to the same school. A small number of schools will receive these by paper mail, but most schools get them electronically.

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When should I send scores?

There is no real advantage to sending scores early, other than that it might take some stress off of you later on. Schools won’t consider students more just because they have sent in scores early, but they may consider an applicant less if they fail to get their scores in on time. You see what I’m getting at here? Don’t feel rushed, but don’t put it off either. 

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In general, it takes around 2-4 weeks for a university to receive your score after you’ve requested them to be sent. It takes an additional 1-2 weeks for your scores to become available in your portal. In total, you’re looking at around 6 weeks of turnaround from the time you take the test, to the time your chosen universities receive your scores.

Consider this timeline when you’re looking to register for test dates!

Types of Reports

Free Reports

You’ll get four free score reports when you sign up for the ACT, but there’s a catch. You have to include the 4 schools you’d like to send scores to upon registration and they will automatically be sent your scores once you finish the test. The issue here is that you don’t get to know your score before they are sent.

But what if you’re not sure if you’ll perform well enough to share these scores? Or what if you don’t know where you’re applying yet? A good rule of thumb is to reserve these 4 score reports for your safety schools – schools you are fairly sure you’ll get into even with a less than ideal ACT score.

Saving money is a perk, but it might be worth the extra $16 to know you’re sending your best scores to your top schools. 

Regular Reports

Here’s the standard score report. It costs $16 per test date per school – so if you’re looking to send the scores from two test dates to two schools it’ll run you $64. Not cheap. The benefit here is that you get to know and choose your best score before sending them out. These scores will usually arrive within two weeks of your request. 

By now it’s probably not coming as a shock to you that the college application process is expensive. Being frivolous with your test scores isn’t going to help that issue. Limiting the schools you apply to save a bit of money isn’t always the answer if you think it’s keeping you from a potential dream school, though. 

It’s important that you’re realistic with the schools you’re sending scores to if you’re concerned about costs. It’s gonna be another $16 bill on the tab if you’re applying to Harvard “just for fun” (in addition to each school’s individual application fees). Reach schools are valid and you should still apply to them, but keep in mind what a realistic reach really is for you. 

Priority or Rush Reports

Unlike the SAT, ACT no longer offers this option, or at least they no longer advertise it on their site. This means the pressure is on to register for a test far enough in advance to make sure you have scores available for your applications. 


Still got questions? We’ve still got answers! 

Can I request a personal copy of my score report?

Currently, no. You’re doing all the heavy lifting here and still don’t get a personal copy? Ridiculous! The fact is, you’ll get access to your scores virtually through MyACT and there’s really no need to worry about ordering a personal copy anyway.

If you’re interested in having a paper copy of your scores for bragging rights or Mom’s scrapbook, you can always print your virtual results from home – just know that you can’t send them anywhere for official purposes; colleges won’t accept this back alley approach… unfortunately. 

I registered for a test before September 2011 before MyACT. Can I access these scores?

If you registered for the ACT prior to 2011, only the scores from tests you registered for in MyACT will be available. If you’re looking to send older scores you should know that while your scores don’t expire, not all colleges accept older scores. Generally, if a score is more than 5 years old it may not be considered valid by all institutions because of the constant renewal of the structure of the test. 

What does the archive fee cover?

ACT has an archive fee in place to cover the cost of locating and sending old scores. This is a $27 nonrefundable fee that applies per test date, per order. This fee is additional to the $16 fee for sending reports per test date, per report. 

This fee applies to scores from before 9/1/2019 (at the time this was written. If you’re visiting us from the future, check out this link for the current cut-off for archived scores). Sending old test scores is expensive y’all. Prioritize who actually needs to see these scores to avoid drowning in excess fees. 

If I request a superscore and two of my section scores (ex: math) are the same, which score will be sent?

If you are requesting a superscore and have two matching scores from different test dates, the most recent one will be sent. Nuff said. 

Can I just print my scores out and mail them?

No. Some schools have applications that allow for self-reported scores – meaning you enter the scores yourself – but any college that is asking for a copy of your score report needs to have an official copy sent by ACT. 

How close to application deadlines can I take the ACT?

Look to take the ACT no later than 2 months ahead of college application deadlines. Obviously, if you’re on a normal track, you should have your tests completed the summer after your junior year, or the early fall of your senior year, but if you’re cut for time, leave yourself at least 8 weeks. 

This isn’t something you want to be risky with. Some colleges accept late applications, but many don’t. Plus, if your goal is to look like a competitive applicant (which it should be), submitting a late application because you didn’t take your admissions test early enough isn’t going to help. 

Brady Ross

State of Arizona Average SAT Score – Class of 2021

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