High school junior studying from a textbook

Should I Send SAT Scores to Colleges as a Junior? The Early Bird Strategy

As you reach the end of your high school years, you may be wondering: Should I send SAT scores to Colleges as a Junior? Sending your SAT scores as a junior can have both advantages and drawbacks, so it’s important to weigh your options and make an informed decision.

When it comes to college admissions, early decision application deadlines are typically in November, with results sent out in December. To meet these deadlines, the last possible ACT date is usually in October, and the last SAT date is in November. Some colleges may even require scores from the September ACT or October SAT. Planning ahead and ensuring that your test scores arrive in time is crucial if you want to be considered for early decision.

However, there are potential drawbacks to sending SAT scores early. If it’s your first SAT and your scores aren’t within a college’s average range, it could affect your chances of admission. Similarly, if your score drops on a retake, it may not reflect well on your application. Some colleges require all SAT scores or all ACT scores, so every test result will be evaluated. Taking the SAT as a senior may create a time crunch and additional stress.

Key Takeaways:

  • Sending SAT scores as a junior can be beneficial for early decision applications.
  • Plan ahead to ensure your scores arrive in time for early decision deadlines.
  • Consider the potential drawbacks, such as lower scores impacting your chances of admission.
  • Retaking the SAT as a senior may create more stress and time constraints.
  • Consult with your college counselor for personalized advice and guidance.

The Benefits of Sending SAT Scores Early

Sending your SAT scores early as a junior can provide several advantages. Firstly, it allows you to meet early decision application deadlines and receive admission decisions before winter break. This early acceptance gives you a head start in the college application process, enabling you to plan your future more effectively. You can focus on other application requirements or even explore scholarship opportunities.

Secondly, if you send your scores from the last possible test date, you have a better chance of meeting a college’s average score requirements. Colleges often publish their average score ranges, and submitting your scores early can help ensure that you are within or above those ranges. This can improve your chances of admission and potentially qualify you for merit-based scholarships.

Additionally, early submission allows you time to retake the test if necessary without feeling rushed or stressed. If you feel that your initial scores don’t reflect your true abilities, you’ll have the opportunity to prepare and improve before the regular decision deadlines. This flexibility can significantly impact your college application outcomes.

The Benefits of Sending SAT Scores Early

  1. Increases your chances of meeting early decision application deadlines
  2. Allows you to plan ahead and strategize for other application requirements
  3. Improves your chances of meeting a college’s average score requirements
  4. Gives you the opportunity to retake the test and improve your scores

“Sending SAT scores early as a junior can give you a competitive edge in the college application process.” – College Admissions Expert

The Drawbacks of Sending SAT Scores Early

While there are advantages to sending SAT scores early as a junior, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks as well. One of the main concerns is that if it’s your first SAT attempt and your scores are not within a college’s average range, it could negatively impact your chances of admission. Similarly, if you decide to retake the SAT in hopes of improving your scores, there is a possibility that your score may actually drop, which may not reflect well on your application.

Another factor to consider is that some colleges require all SAT scores or all ACT scores to be submitted, meaning that every test result will be evaluated. This means that if you have multiple test scores and some are significantly lower than others, it may raise questions about your consistency and preparedness for college-level work.

Taking the SAT as a senior may also present challenges. It can create a time crunch, especially if you have a busy schedule with coursework, extracurricular activities, and college applications. Additionally, the added stress of preparing for and taking the SAT during your senior year can affect your overall performance. It’s crucial to have achieved scores within your school’s score ranges by your senior year to demonstrate your readiness for college.

Potential score fluctuations

It’s important to keep in mind that standardized test scores, including the SAT, can fluctuate from one test administration to another. Factors such as test-day nerves, personal circumstances, or even minor variations in the test content can impact your performance. By sending your scores early as a junior, you may not have the opportunity to retake the test and improve your scores to better align with your college preferences.

Overall, while sending SAT scores early can have its benefits, it’s crucial to weigh these against the potential drawbacks. It’s recommended to carefully plan your test-taking strategy and consider factors such as your preparedness, test scores, and the specific requirements of your target colleges before deciding whether to send your SAT scores early or wait until senior year.

Test Dates and Deadlines for Early Decision Applications

When applying to colleges through the early decision process, it’s important to be aware of the specific test dates and deadlines that each institution requires. These dates can vary from college to college, so it’s crucial to carefully review the requirements of each school you are considering.

Here are some examples of test date requirements for early decision applications at different colleges:

  • Caltech and Georgetown require early action applicants to take the SAT or ACT in October.
  • Princeton and Stanford recommend completing standardized testing before the November 1 deadline for early action.
  • Vanderbilt and Washington University in St. Louis prefer tests to be taken in October for early decision.
  • Williams College requires the ACT or SAT to be taken by October for early decision.

It’s crucial to check the specific test date requirements for each college you are interested in. This ensures that you have ample time to prepare for and take the necessary tests to meet the early decision deadlines.

Recommended SAT Test-Taking Schedules

When it comes to scheduling your SAT exams, there are two recommended test-taking schedules that you can consider. The first schedule suggests taking the SAT in October or November of your junior year, then again in March or May of junior year, and finally in August, October, or November of your senior year if necessary. This allows for improvement and retakes if needed, giving you multiple opportunities to achieve your desired score.

The second schedule suggests taking the SAT in March or May of junior year, then again in June or August between junior and senior year, and finally in October or November of senior year if necessary. This schedule may be beneficial for students who take the PSAT in the fall of their junior year, as it allows them to build upon the skills and knowledge gained from that experience.

Whichever schedule you choose, it’s important to start preparing for the SAT before your junior year. By dedicating time to study and familiarize yourself with the test format, you can increase your chances of success. Consider utilizing study resources and practice tests to assess your strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to focus on areas that require improvement.

Reasons to Take the SAT Before Junior Year

There are several compelling reasons why students should consider taking the SAT before their junior year. Early SAT preparation offers numerous advantages, allowing for focused and thorough studying. Even without extensive prep, taking the SAT earlier provides valuable testing experience and familiarity with the test format. It allows students to become comfortable with the timing and pacing of the exam, reducing test-taking anxiety. By taking the SAT earlier, students can also take advantage of the Score Choice option, which allows them to selectively send their best scores to colleges.

One of the key benefits of taking the SAT before junior year is the opportunity for score improvement strategies. Starting early gives students more time to identify their weaknesses and work on improving specific sections of the test. They can utilize resources such as online practice tests, study guides, and tutoring to strengthen their skills in areas that need improvement. This extra time also allows for multiple test administrations, giving students the chance to retake the SAT and achieve higher scores if necessary.

Early SAT preparation also allows students to focus on other aspects of their college application during junior and senior year. By tackling the SAT early on, students have more time to dedicate to their coursework, extracurricular activities, and personal statement. It enables them to strike a balance between test preparation and other important responsibilities, leading to a more well-rounded application. Furthermore, starting SAT preparation before junior year ensures that students have sufficient time to address any potential challenges or obstacles they may encounter during the process.

Creating an Optimal College Application Timeline

When it comes to college applications, having a well-planned timeline can make the process smoother and more organized. By strategically mapping out your tasks and deadlines, you can ensure that you stay on track and submit your applications on time. Here are some key steps to consider for creating an optimal college application timeline:

  1. Start in junior year: Begin by meeting with your college counselor to discuss your goals and aspirations. Research college websites to get a better understanding of the admission requirements and explore potential schools. This is also a good time to start preparing for any AP exams you plan to take in the future.
  2. Plan your standardized test dates: Determine when you want to take the SAT or ACT and register for the appropriate test dates. Consider whether you want to take advantage of early decision or early action options, as these may have specific test date requirements.
  3. Summer between junior and senior year: Use this time to brainstorm and complete drafts of your personal statement or essay. Open application accounts for the colleges you’re interested in and gather any necessary materials, such as transcripts and letters of recommendation. This is also an opportunity to finalize any extracurricular projects or achievements that you want to include in your application.
  4. Senior year: Seek feedback on your essay from teachers or mentors and make any necessary revisions. Finalize your list of target schools and their application deadlines. Be sure to submit your applications based on these deadlines and consider attending any interviews that are requested. Additionally, explore scholarship opportunities and make a final decision on where you’ll attend college.

By following this timeline, you can ensure that you’re staying organized and giving yourself enough time to complete all the necessary tasks for your college applications. Remember to seek guidance from your college counselor and utilize available resources throughout the process to maximize your chances of getting into your dream colleges.


By sending SAT scores to colleges as a junior, you can take advantage of early decision options and receive admission decisions early. This strategic approach allows you to have a head start in the college application process and provides valuable time for further preparation or retakes if necessary.

However, it’s crucial to plan ahead and meet the specific test date requirements for each college. Research the early decision deadlines and ensure your test scores arrive in time to be considered. Remember that some colleges may require scores from specific test dates, so careful attention to these requirements is essential.

While there are potential drawbacks to sending scores early, such as the possibility of scores not meeting a college’s average range or experiencing score fluctuations on retakes, careful preparation and strategic planning can help maximize your chances of getting into your dream colleges. Prioritize the quality of your application over speed, and seek guidance from college counselors and utilize available resources to ensure you’re well-prepared throughout the application process.