Understanding SAT Deadlines

The SAT is offered year-round, but that doesn’t mean future college students can take the exam whenever they want to. In order to be counted towards a college application, the SAT needs to be taken before a specific date. In this article, we’ll give you a quick rundown of the different SAT dates you need to know as well as the SAT deadlines to ensure you have your test results in time for your college applications.

When is the SAT Available?

The SAT is available for students during different months of the year to juniors and seniors. The remaining SAT test date for 2023 is December 2nd. 

For 2024, the current digital test dates are:

SAT TEST DATERegular Registration DeadlineLate Registration Deadline
March 9, 2024February 23, 2024February 27, 2024
May 4, 2024April 19, 2024April 23, 2024
June 1, 2024May 16, 2024May 21, 2024

The exam is also expected to be available on:

  • August 24
  • October 5
  • November 2
  • December 7

All tests also have late registration deadlines, but they can come with an additional fee.

Why Do Students Need to Take Their SAT Before a Certain Date?

College admissions require students to submit their SAT scores before certain deadlines in order for the scores to arrive in time for college application submissions. Students looking to apply to a college by January 1st, 2024 won’t be able to take the March 9th test date and expect their scores to count towards their application.

Some scholarships and grants also require SAT score submissions by a specific deadline. For these, students should reach out to the organizers to get more details about SAT requirements.

Taking your SAT as soon as possible (and more than once) is always a good idea.

When Should Students Expect their SAT Results?

SAT results are usually released online in about 13 days after the student sat for the exam. However, some SAT tests may take longer to get results for – it can take up to 5 weeks in some cases.

This is just when students receive their results, though. Schools may not receive the students’ results for another 10 days, meaning it can take at least 23 days after a test date for a college to see SAT score results for a particular student. And that’s only if the student released the results to the school ahead of time.

For example, if a student sat for the June 3rd 2023 SAT exam, the scores released to students on June 16th. Colleges selected by the student would not receive the results until June 26th. 

READ MORE >> SAT Score Percentiles and Rankings: What’s Good?

What Are the Important SAT Deadlines?

SAT deadlines can vary from student to student and school to school. Here are some common ones you will want to note.

1. For Early Action and Early Decision Students

Important Deadline: Nov 1 or 15
Target for Latest SAT Test Date: October

Early Action and Early Decision application deadlines are usually November 1st or 15th. If you are applying to a college under either of these, you should plan to take your SAT by October at the latest. In 2024, that is expected to be October 5th. 

2. For Regular Decision Students

Important Deadline: Jan 1 (Some schools are mid-Feb)
Target for Latest SAT Test Date: December

The Regular Decision deadline is usually January 1st, with some schools having mid-January deadlines. Therefore, the latest date you can take the SAT for 2024 Regular Decision applications is December 2nd 2023, which is also the last exam until March 9th 2024. 

Generally, the latest deadline for SAT tests for your college applications will always be in December.

3. For Rolling Admissions

Many Rolling Admissions colleges do not require the SAT or ACT test results, but that doesn’t mean you should skip them entirely. Some of these schools may accept test results after December, too. If you take an SAT in March of your senior year and apply to a Rolling Admissions college in May, you should be able to submit your results along with your application. 

However, with Rolling Admissions, there are separate deadlines for priority consideration and for the start of the school year, so it’s important to be made aware of those to ensure you have all of your application materials in ahead of time.

What Should You Do If You Miss the SAT Deadlines?

While you can register for the SAT late, there is no taking the SAT late if you missed the final exam date for your colleges. This may not mean your application won’t be accepted, though.

Many colleges and universities in the United States have gone “SAT and ACT optional“, meaning you don’t have to take one of the exams in order to submit an application. Some schools may recommend you submit your test results, but you won’t automatically get a rejection letter if you missed the exams. It’s still a good idea to sit for the SAT if you can, just to give your application a leg up, but you have options. Several Rolling Admissions colleges, too, have made the exams optional.

Plan Ahead!

With schools that still require the SAT, you may be out of luck. Asking for a delay won’t work in your favor either. That’s why planning ahead and knowing SAT (and other important college planning) deadlines is important.

Colleges often start sending out acceptance and rejection letters in March and April, and with the next SAT after December in March, there simply isn’t enough time to retake the test even if you somehow managed to convince the school to let you take the test late.

Understanding the SAT deadlines is necessary if you want to be sure you can get your SAT results in with your college application. These dates can also be helpful if you want to plan ahead and aim for a higher test result. No matter your goals, be sure to mark your next SAT test on your calendar so you can be sure you’re prepared for the exam!

SAT scores can absolutely still have an impact on your college application success. Understanding where you stack up against other students submitting their applications can give you an edge and a number to aim for. Use our College Match tool today to see how your current SAT or ACT scores perform against other students who were previously accepted to your dream school.