FAQ Friday, First Edition: Let’s Talk Testing

Where were we? Oh right...we were relaxing. Of course.

If you’re a longtime reader of the site (which we assume you are; surely you have continued to keep up with the goings-on in the JHU Office of Undergraduate Admissions long after you applied, were admitted, attended, graduated, and went on to become a successful doctor/businessman or woman/author/philanthropist, etc.) then you  might remember a segment called “Friday Favorites” (http://blogs.hopkins-interactive.com/blog/category/friday-favorites/). We’re bringing it back, with a twist: check here on Fridays for a short segment called FAQ Friday, where we’ll briefly look at some of the most frequently asked questions we’re getting on the phones, from visitors, or through our gotojhu@jhu.edu account. Of course, you can always view our FAQ here: http://apply.jhu.edu/apply/faq.html, but maybe the question we’re addressing on some random Friday will be the very thing you’ve been meaning to e-mail us about.

The application race is underway...except it's not really a race. At all.
The application race is underway...except it's not really a race. At all.

This week’s FAQ Friday: When do I need to send in my test results?

With the November 1 Early Decision deadline slowly/quickly approaching, we’re hearing this question a lot. Here’s the deal with when you need to submit your test results:

#1. (I think this will be a common thread in FAQ Fridays): Relax. You’re not alone. We receive over 20,000 applications each year, and every one of those applicants has to submit their scores so this is a common concern.

#2. Make sure you brush up on just what our requirements are. Someone should make a website for that. Oh wait! We already did and, being the geniuses that we are, we cleverly named it Standardized Test Requirements and you can find it here: http://apply.jhu.edu/apply/testreqs.html. Basically, you need either the SAT I Reasoning Test OR the ACT with Writing Test. We don’t have a preference on which test you take and you should send all of your scores to us. SAT II Subject Tests are not required, but are recommended. Go to the website. It makes things sound much more official than that.

We wouldn't recommend taking your SATs using a red marker like this clip art lady appears to be doing.
We wouldn't recommend taking your SATs using a red marker like this clip art lady appears to be doing.

#1a. Sorry. This is out of order (and also brings to mind a pro essay-writing tip: outlines can be your best friend) but it speaks to the main message of #1 (It was “relax”…have you forgotten already? You should get more rest.): Yes, we are talking about standardized tests. Yes, they will be considered in your application. No, no, no, they are not the end-all, be-all of your application and there is no magic number that we’re looking for. If there were, our admissions counselors would have a lot more free time on their hands. Unfortunately for them but happily for you, your test results are a small part of your application.  But, scores are required and, for some unknown reason, they seem to cause lots of stress among our applicants, so that’s why we’re talking about them today.

Back to relaxing.

Where were we? Oh right...we were relaxing. Of course.
Where were we? Oh right...we were relaxing. Of course.

#3. So you’ve taken your SAT I or ACT with Writing Test and AS IF that wasn’t stressful enough, now you’re chewing your fingernails to nubs wondering if your scores will get here on time. First, you should stop chewing your fingernails. Nasty habit to break. Secondly, here’s our stance on that:

Johns Hopkins requires that Early Decision (ED) candidates complete their required tests no later than October of their senior year. This means that applicants must take either the SAT or ACT with Writing prior to the November 1 ED deadline. (When TOEFL is required that exam must also be taken before November 1.) Test scores need to be requested from the testing agencies prior to our stated application deadlines but may arrive after the deadline. Though October scores will arrive past the deadline they will still be considered if requested in advance of the deadline. There is no need to rush score reports as they do not arrive any earlier. We cannot guarantee that November scores will arrive before the Admissions Committee evaluation.

Past experience does suggest that exams taken in November usually arrive in time. Therefore, Early Decision applicants may submit November testing if they are taking the SAT, ACT, or TOEFL a multiple time, or if they are taking the recommended but not required SAT subject exams. If the scores arrive before the evaluation then they will be considered with one’s application. We cannot guarantee that scores sent after our application deadline will be processed in time to be reviewed with one’s application and we do not delay the review of an application to wait for scores sent after the application deadline. Again, there is no need to rush scores from the testing agencies, as our office will not process them any quicker.

For Regular Decision, the above holds true with the dates switched out: Regular Decision (RD) candidates should complete their required tests no later than December of their senior year. This means that applicants must take either the SAT or ACT with Writing prior to the January 1 RD deadline. Note that if you plan to send January scores, you must submit your previous test scores prior to the January 1 deadline and then send any January scores as a later update. If you do not submit test scores prior to the January 1 deadline then your application will be considered incomplete.

Wrap it up, Admissions_Shelly. We don't have all day to read this blog.
Wrap it up, Admissions_Shelly. We don't have all day to read this blog.

#4 So, OMG, get to the point. (I know, I know…if this were a Common Application essay, I’d be 300+ words over the limit and the admissions counselor would be getting antsy. Not okay.) So in short: If you are taking your required tests for the FIRST time, you need to do so and request that your scores be sent to us before the application deadline. If you’re taking the test a second/third/seriously, do you love taking tests or something? time (or if you’re submitting the recommended but not required SAT II Subject tests), you can take it after the deadline to supplement your application but we can’t guarantee that it will arrive at our office in time to make it into your file. Most likely, it will arrive in time; HOWEVER, we can’t guarantee it and we can’t hold up application review to wait for test scores, so if you are really counting on an updated test score for your application, you should be safe and take the test before the application deadline.

Sound good? Sounds good to us, but then, our policies and procedures usually do. And I guess we weren’t into that whole brevity thing this week—better luck next time! Have a great weekend!

3 thoughts on “FAQ Friday, First Edition: Let’s Talk Testing

  1. How does one tell Hopkins they have scores from October they would like to include in their ED application?

  2. If you are taking a test (SAT, ACT, or SAT IIs) in October and want the exam to be considered in the ED process, be sure to note your intention to take the exam on the Common Application. In the testing section, you can list October as a date, the name of the exam you are taking, and then leave the score blank. I would suggest you then email your regional counselor with the score as soon as you receive it, following up with the official score report. There is no need to rush your scores. If you are out of space in the testing section, you can always list the October tests in the additional information section.

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