At Damian SAT ACT Prep Center and Educational Consulting we advise students If you’re reading this as a junior or younger, aim to have your standardized testing done before senior year, or at the very least by the October ACT/November SAT dates (this means the October 27th ACT and the November 3rd SAT for the 2018-19 school year).
This will make the application process less stressful since you’ll only have to focus on applications, not testing. Studying for the ACT/SAT while also working on your applications in December can be a real stressor and might result in subpar applications!
It also won’t look good if it’s a retake and your score goes down. (While most schools focus on your highest test scores, some require students to send all SAT scores or all ACT scores and will take all scores, high or low, into consideration.) This is why we at Damian SAT ACT Prep recommend having your testing done by senior year—including retakes.
If you really need to take one of the last possible ACT/SAT dates, plan ahead as much as possible so you have plenty of time to both study and work on your applications.
The majority of schools we researched will accept the December ACT and December SAT, but no later SATs or ACTs. If any of your top schools are on this list, do your best to complete your testing as soon as possible!
For regular decision, Amherst requires all materials to be received by January 1. This means you should aim for the December ACT or December SAT at the very latest.
According to Brown’s website, “Regular Decision applicants should complete all required testing by the December test date and arrange for results to be sent directly to Brown on or before the January 1 Regular Decision deadline” (emphasis mine).
Caltech lists December as its standardized testing deadline, meaning you can take the December ACT or SAT at the latest. Applications are due by January 3 for regular decision.
Everything has to be submitted by January 2 for Regular Admission for Cornell, which means your last-chance test dates for the SAT/ACT are in December.
At Dartmouth, because the regular decision deadline is January 2, the last possible SAT/ACT test dates for regular admission are in December.
Although Duke’s last test date is December for both the ACT and SAT, the school will accept ACT scores from the February test date and consider them as additional scores in your application file. The regular decision deadline is January 2.
Georgetown’s deadline is slightly later in January than those of many other top schools: “Regular Decision applicants should have all application materials postmarked by January 10” (emphasis mine). The December ACT and SAT are still the last test dates whose scores will arrive before the deadline.
There are two regular decision deadlines at Harvard: December 15 (the preferred deadline) and January 1 (the final deadline).
Harvard states on its admissions website, “Although it is possible to submit scores from tests taken as late as the December SAT and the February ACT, we recommend that you submit testing as early as possible” (emphasis mine).
However, the school also says, “Scores submitted before the end of November will allow us to begin our evaluation process for those submitting applications by December 15.” So even though you can submit scores from December tests, the earlier you submit, the better!