My kids are juniors and they will be taking the ACT at school next month. Yesterday while they were filling out the registration forms, my daughter texted me frantically asking what to do about the school codes to send scores to– what should she put in there?

Here’s a quick background: When you register for either the SAT or ACT, you can request to have your scores sent directly to 4 schools of your choice for free. If you wait and send the scores after the fact– when you’re applying to schools, for example– you pay $12 for SAT scores and $13 for ACT scores. So, seems like a no-brainer to do the freebies, right?

Not exactly. Before sending scores to a school, you should know its test scoring policy. You should not send a free score report to a school that allows score choice (where you choose which scores to send instead of being required to send all test results). If you might be eligible for any kind of scholarship or merit award that’s based on test scores, sending your test scores for free at registration is the textbook definition of penny wise and pound foolish. You don’t know when you register for the test how well you’ll do. Don’t risk thousands of dollars in scholarships to save $12.

Both the SAT and ACT offer fee waivers for score reporting, too. Like fee waivers for the tests themselves, this is typically done through the high school guidance counselor.