Laura Berlinsky-Schine 4 min read SAT Info and Tips

SAT Dates and Deadlines for 2020-2021

This year has been an unusual one. No institution or industry has been untouched by the overwhelming impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — and that includes higher education. With so many SAT test dates canceled this year, many students are scrambling to squeeze in a sitting before they submit their applications. So, when can you take the SAT in the 2020–2021 academic year?

 

SAT Dates and Deadlines 2020–2021

 

Below are the forthcoming SAT dates and deadlines for the 2020–2021 academic year. (Note: Dates that have already passed are not included in these tables. SAT Subject Test dates are omitted.) Late registrations incur an additional fee.

 

Domestic Students

 

SAT Date Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline Deadline for Changes
November 7, 2020 October 7, 2020 October 20, 2020 (mailed)

October 27, 2020 (online or by phone)

October 27, 2020
December 5, 2020 November 5, 2020 November 17, 2020 (mailed)

November 24, 2020 (online or by phone)

November 24, 2020
March 13, 2021 February 12, 2021 February 23, 2021 (mailed)

March 2, 2021 (online or by phone)

March 2, 2021
May 8, 2021 April 8, 2021 April 20, 2021 (mailed)

April 27, 2021 (online or by phone)

April 27, 2021
June 5, 2021 May 6, 2021 May 18, 2021 (mailed)

May 26, 2021 (online or by phone)

May 26, 2021

 

International Students

 

SAT Date Early Registration via Representation Registration Deadline Deadline for Changes
December 5, 2020 October 21, 2020 November 5, 2020 November 24, 2020
March 13, 2021 January 27, 2021 February 12, 2021 March 2, 2021
May 8, 2021 March 24, 2021 April 8, 2021 April 27, 2021

 

How COVID-19 Is Impacting Testing

 

As you probably know, a majority of SAT test dates were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, most colleges, including top-tier schools, changed their application policies to test-optional for at least the upcoming admissions cycle, meaning students can choose whether or not to submit their scores.

 

Test-optional is not the same as test-blind. Test-blind schools like Caltech won’t consider standardized test scores even if students do choose to submit them, while currently test-optional schools like Harvard do consider scores if students submit them, but won’t penalize students who don’t. (Scores may still be required for placement for scholarships at some schools, so be sure to double-check.)

 

Remember, however, that if two similar candidates are being considered for admission and only one has submitted standardized test scores, that candidate is more likely to be admitted, even if their scores aren’t perfect. Keep in mind that scores are also likely to be lower this year because most students were unable to take the SAT more than once, if they were able to take it at all. At CollegeVine, for the 2020-2021 cycle, we advise submitting any SAT scores that fall within 60 points of the 25th percentile at a given school.

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Tips for Choosing a Test Date

 

No one test date is any easier or harder than another. While the exams themselves are not identical, the College Board imposes a curve to account for any discrepancies between the tests.

 

That said, there are some factors you should consider when determining when to choose a test date.

 

1. Consider when you’re applying to college.

 

This year, many seniors are scrambling to fit in the SAT before they apply to college because they were unable to take them due to cancellations. If that’s you, you’ll want to take the test as soon as possible because they won’t be considered unless you submit them with your application. (Remember, in many cases, you’ll be able to apply test-optional if you can’t squeeze it in, or aren’t satisfied with your scores.)

 

If you just started your junior year, however, you still have time. We suggest taking the SAT this fall, or in the spring, which will give you at least two more times to retake it if need be. (This assumes that the SAT administrations will go as planned, but, of course, the pandemic is unpredictable and could affect future test dates.)

 

2. Take practice tests in advance.

 

The SAT requires preparation. First, take a practice test so you know your starting point. This will allow you to figure out where you are and how far you need to go to reach your target score. It will also inform you as to the best time to take the test. If you have a long way to go, you’ll want to choose a later sitting; if you’re not too far off, you can choose an earlier one.

 

3. Factor in your schedule and personal commitments.

 

You’ll need to invest a lot of yourself in preparing for the SAT, so take your personal schedule into account when determining the best date for your first test. If you have any academic, extracurricular, athletic, or other commitments that consume a lot of your fall semester, you may want to hold off taking the SAT until the spring, when you’ll have more time to prepare.

 

4. Look into colleges’ SAT policies.

 

Many colleges have changed their standardized testing policies beyond simply going test-optional. Make sure you look into the policies of every college on your list so you know the deadlines for submitting scores, whether you need to take Subject Tests, and so on. This will also help you determine the best time to take the SAT.

 

5. Account for any financial or additional constraints.

 

It costs money to take the SAT. While it’s true that you can take the test more than once, you’ll have to pay for each sitting. Make sure you’re not throwing money away by taking the test before you’re ready. If your family has limited financial resources, you may also qualify for a fee waiver.

 

6. Check your stress levels.

 

This has been a trying year, and anyone would have cause to be stressed out. If you’re a junior, it’s fine to hold off, assuming you’ll have time to take it in the spring. Don’t add an extra burden to an already heavy load right now.

 

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and works as a freelance writer specializing in education. She dreams of having a dog.