The standardized tests, such as the SAT in Pleasanton, are inextricably a part of the college application process. Taking the test itself can be the most stressful part for a lot of students, but finding out their scores and sending them to their desired schools may be another stress-causing event.

There are other nagging things about the process of applying to college — particularly about your scores and deciding whether to send them to your desired schools. Will you submit your SAT scores to the four colleges for free before you actually get to see them? Or would you rather wait until you can view your scores first, before sending them to these schools — but for a fee? It is something to consider if you don’t feel good about how you did on the test.

There are a lot of things to consider when making this decision — the cost, superscoring, how well you fared on the exam, how many times are you taking it, and deadlines for sending in the application.

  1. Cost
    The college application process would surely put a dent in anyone’s pockets in one way or another. So in order to save money, you may want to take advantage of the free score report option.

The four-schools score submission option offered by The College Board (the institution behind the SAT) is free of charge only if you registered to take the test.

Sending the score reports to the four schools of your choice early on also indicates your interest to them. While this option could relieve you from additional expenses, the biggest drawback, of course, is that you will not be able to view the scores before they are sent out. That’s why many people do not see this as the best option to take advantage of.

But if you would rather see your scores before submitting them to the schools of your choice, you should wait afterward to send them. Sending these score reports may set you back about $11 to $16 (per school), but at least you are able to view your results.

  1. Superscoring
    “Superscoring” is a method by which colleges and universities pick out all your best section scores from the multiple dates you took the SAT test. Then they will add up all these highest section scores into one composite score. Many students find superscoring favorable as it allows them to show their highest possible scores.

This is feasible especially if you are taking (or have taken) the SAT multiple times. It might be best to wait first until you are able to see your scores and then submit all of them together to your desired schools, considering the fact that most colleges and universities in the country superscore the SAT (and also the ACT).

  1. How many times will you take the test?
    If this is your first time taking the SAT, it might be wise not to send the scores first but instead wait for a while until you can view them. In the event you have not done as well as you expected, you may refrain submitting them. Be sure to use these low marks as a way for you to improve — many students tend to do better the second time around.

If you’re taking the test more than once, you can take advantage of the superscoring used by most colleges and universities (which was explained earlier).

But, if you decide to take the SAT once and have no plans to re-take it, it is best to go with the four free score reports option.

  1. Do you think you did well on the test?
    How well (or badly) you did as you left the test center will also become a factor. For instance, if you feel you didn’t do the exam well as you had hoped, you may withdraw your free score report submission to the four schools you’ve initially written down.

Otherwise, you can go ahead and write down four schools to submit your scores, for free.

  1. Application deadlines
    Suppose you’re a senior taking the SAT, and your test date comes precariously close to the application deadline of a certain college you wish to apply. There is no better alternative but to sign up for the four free score reports.

If this is going to be your last time in taking the exam shortly before you can catch up on the deadline, go with the four free score reports option too. It can be a wise move especially if you’ve taken the exam more than once and that the colleges you’re applying to superscore.

Sure, you will be able to save money by choosing the four free score reports option, but it could have a detrimental effect on your application especially if you do not exercise caution. There are many other things (like the application deadlines or your own assessment of your performance) which will affect your decision to send (or not send) your scores. But if you know you’re going to take the SAT in Pleasanton more than once (or even twice), it is probably wise to wait first before you finally receive your scores.