Kate Sundquist 5 min read SAT Info and Tips, Standardized Tests

How to Register For Your SATs

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If you’re getting ready to register for the SAT, we have good news for you. Registering for the SAT is a relatively simple process. Unlike AP exams, SATs are offered throughout the year, and you can register online or through the mail. You do not need to navigate the process of registering through a specific school and the registration process is exactly the same, no matter where you take the test.


In this post, we’ll outline who should take the SAT, when you should take it, and how to register for the SAT. Keep reading to learn all this and more.


Who Should Register for the SAT?

If you’re planning to apply to college, you will need to take either the ACT or the SAT. While both are accepted by all four year colleges that require standardized test scores, there are a few other factors that can help you decide which to take.


Sometimes, one test is more readily available in certain geographic regions. When this is the case, it might be difficult to find convenient testing centers for the other exam. Furthermore, some states actually require all high school states to take the ACT as a graduation requirement. These states include: Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Wyoming, Alabama, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin. If you live in one of these states, you might skip the SAT entirely since you need to take the ACT anyway.


Other determining factors that help you decide which test to take include how well you do under time pressure, how well you do with data analysis and critical thinking, and how well you do with mental math and reasoning. To learn more about these factors and how they impact which standardized test is the best fit for you, check out our post SAT vs ACT: Everything You Need to Know.


When Should You Take the SAT?

Ideally, we recommend that you take the SAT for the first time during the second semester of your junior year. This leaves plenty of time for improvement and gives you the opportunity to retake the test several times, if needed.


You’ll want to schedule your SAT during a period when you know you’ll be able to devote appropriate time to test prep. This means that if you’re a competitive athlete or have other seasonal commitments that take up a lot of your time, you’ll need to take these into consideration as you schedule your test.


At the same time, remember that the huge majority of students take the SAT more than once, so choosing a singular test date is only the beginning. You’ll more than likely need at least two test dates that are far enough apart that you can study in between.


To learn more about deciding when to take the SAT, check out these posts:


Discover how your SAT score affects your chances

As part of our free guidance platform, our Admissions Assessment tells you what schools you need to improve your SAT score for and by how much. Sign up to get started today.

How to Register for the SAT


To Register For SATs Online:


First, create a free account with the College Board if you don’t have one already.


Once you have a College Board account, log in to access online registration. You can only do this through your personal account. Parents or counselors cannot register for you.


During online registration, you will need to provide your full, legal name. Be sure to enter it exactly as it appears on your government or school-issued photo ID. You will also be required to provide some personal information, like your address, birthdate, gender, and high school.


There are other, optional questions about you that include things like anticipated graduation date, cumulative GPA, and intended college major. Although this information isn’t required, it is necessary if you want colleges and scholarship organizations to be able to find you through the Student Search Service.   


Finally, you will need to upload a digital photo that meets a set of very strict photo requirements. Keep in mind that successfully uploading your photo to the College Board site does not necessarily indicate that your photo meets every requirement. It only means that your photo was the correct file type and size. Be sure to carefully review the criteria to ensure that you won’t be turned away on test day.


Online registration is the recommended method, as it provides easy and continuous access to your score reports, admissions ticket, and Score Choice services for sending scores to colleges, universities, and scholarship organizations.   



To Register for SATs By Mail:


Some students, however, may choose or are required to register by mail. Register by mail if you are:


  • Paying by check or money order.
  • Younger than 13.
  • Requesting Sunday testing for the first time. (Repeat Sunday test-takers can register online or by phone. Phone registration is subject to an additional fee.)
  • Requesting the opening of a new test center closer to your home.
  • Unable to upload a digital photo of yourself as part of the online registration process.
  • Registering through an international SAT representative.


To register by mail, you’ll need to first obtain an SAT Student Registration Booklet from your school counselor. This booklet includes a paper registration form and an addressed envelope. Fill out each section of the form carefully. Some important details include:


  • Name: Be sure to fill in your full, legal name exactly as it appears on the photo ID that you’ll use on testing day. Middle initials are optional but if included, should match the middle initial on your photo ID.


  • High School Code: Your counselor can provide you with your high school code, or you can search for it online. If you are homeschooled, enter code 970000. If you have no high school code, enter 000003.


  • Photo: Include a photo that meets all of the photo requirements. Passport style photos are a simple way to ensure that your submitted photo is up to the task.


  • Fees: For the SAT, enter the fee into field 19a. For the SAT with Essay, enter the fee into field 19b. Additional fees for SAT II subject tests can be added into fields 20a, 20b, and 20c. The total of SAT II subject test fees should be filled out in field 20d.   


  • Test Center Code: You can ask your counselor for your test center code, or search for it online here.


Although it’s optional, it is highly recommended that you enter an email address on your registration form. This will allow you to receive updates on any test center cancellations, and to receive your admissions ticket by email.


If you’re applying by mail and have been approved by the College Board to test with accommodations, you should include a copy of your SSD Eligibility Letter in the envelope with your SAT Registration Form. Your SSD Coordinator can print your letter for you. If you do not have your letter, include a note with your name, SSD Number, school name, and school code. Your SSD Coordinator can look up your SSD Number online, or you can call the SSD office to obtain it.


If you’re using a fee waiver, enter the identification number on your fee waiver card. Read the SAT Paper Registration Tips for more information.


Tips to Prepare for SAT Day

Of course, registering is only one step towards SAT success. To learn more about how you can optimize your SAT performance, check out these posts:



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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.