Just because you can automatically send ACT scores to four colleges for free, should you? You may wonder whether you should wait until after you receive your test score. In most cases, you should save the money and send your scores for free. Why?

  • By choosing your four colleges when registering for your ACT, you don’t have to remember to send your scores after you take the test. You can also make changes to these college choices up until the Thursday right after your Saturday test date. 
  • Most colleges will consider only your highest composite ACT. Some colleges will consider only your superscore, the average of your four highest sub-scores, even if they occur on different tests. So pick four schools that interest you; they’ll appreciate your interest and start marketing to you.
  • If this new score isn’t your highest, those four colleges will overlook it. If it is, you just saved the $18.5 per school fee to have the ACT send your official score report to each of those colleges.

However, there is one exception.

When you have already hammered a big score and have one or two favorite selective colleges, don’t send more scores automatically to those schools. If you had a bad test day and your score drops two or more points, those schools might question the earlier higher number.

For example, if you automatically sent your earlier score of 25 but your eventual highest score is 31, colleges will be impressed and only consider the 31. But if you automatically send the 25 after the earlier 31, the 25 makes the 31 look suspect.

Other than this one exception, just choose four schools that interest you, schools that you want to recruit you, and take advantage of the rare opportunity of something associated with college planning for free.

Above all, don’t sweat this decision. Other than the exception above, those four colleges will consider your best composite score or your superscore. Important strategies exist for getting into a highly selective college or winning a big scholarship, but whether you choose to automatically send your ACT scores isn’t one.