Can You Fake Your SAT or ACT Scores? Should You?

In many instances, when applying to college, your SAT or ACT scores can help determine which schools you can and cannot get admitted into. Similarly, especially when applying for a job for the first time, your SAT or ACT scores can help decide whether you will get employed or need to apply elsewhere.

It’s exactly because of this why some students and job applicants fake their SAT or ACT scores.

In general, SAT or ACT scores may be faked when applying to test-optional schools where the scores and official score reports are not required. SAT or ACT scores may be faked, too, when asked by employers without requesting official score reports. However, the chances of getting caught are high.

Besides faking your SAT or ACT scores when looking for a college or university or an employment opportunity, it’s also possible to fake your standardized exam scores, technically speaking, by cheating on the SAT or ACT. For instance, you may pay someone to take the test for you or seek the help of a questionable test prep company.

In this article, however, we will focus on faking your SAT or ACT scores by:

  • Self-reporting on the Common App or Coalition Application SAT or ACT scores higher than what you got when you took the standardized exam to gain admission into the college or university you have always wanted to attend.
  • Stating a high SAT or ACT score during a job interview when asked by the employer, which usually happens when applying for a job for the first time or applying to certain companies.

Whether you are planning to fake your SAT or ACT scores for the sake of a college degree or a job, don’t! Official score reports from the College Board or ACT can reveal the truth, and this can lead to the revocation of a college admission offer or getting fired from employment. No matter the case, the stakes are simply too high.

taking a test

Applying for a Job

Believe it or not, it’s not just colleges and universities, except for test-optional schools, that request for the SAT or ACT scores of applicants. Some companies also ask for the standardized test scores of their applicants. This is especially true for fresh college graduates with no prior work experience.

It’s when applying to companies requiring SAT or ACT scores that many people are tempted to state fake scores.

According to a College Board spokeswoman, the SAT is made first and foremost to predict the readiness of students for the first year of college — the College Board has not conducted any study on the use of employers of SAT scores to predict which applicants would make for wonderful additions to their companies.

Despite this, there are companies such as banks and consulting firms that ask for the SAT scores of their applicants. In many instances, employers simply like to ensure that applicants with low math scores can compensate with other strengths that could benefit the companies they are applying to.

And this takes us to a crucial question…

Can employers request SAT or ACT scores?

As a rule, employers cannot request official score reports from the College Board or ACT. However, they can ask applicants to request copies of their official SAT or ACT scores themselves. The majority of employers who ask for SAT or ACT scores do not require applicants to provide official score reports.

There is no need to apply to another company if the one that you are applying to asks for your standardized test scores and you are not proud of them.

After a year, SAT or ACT scores are archived by the College Board or ACT.

Still, it’s possible to get your hands on official score reports no matter if you took the standardized test five or ten years ago. To request old SAT or ACT scores, you may access your online College Board or ACT account or email or call the College Board or ACT.

Since requesting for official score reports doesn’t come free of charge, it’s a good idea to ask a potential employer first whether or not you will have to present an official copy of your standardized exam scores.

And speaking of which, let’s answer this important question…

Should you include SAT or ACT scores on your resume?

There is no need to include one’s SAT or ACT scores on the resume. Colleges and universities are more interested in them than companies. However, standardized test scores should be included on the resume if the company one is applying to is known to care about an employee’s SAT or ACT scores.

As a general rule of thumb, the only time that you should state your SAT or ACT scores on your resume is when you wish to highlight your capabilities, such as when applying as a math tutor or professor.

On the other hand, the GPA may be included in your resume. This is most especially true if you have just graduated from college and are applying for your very first job. However, after getting your first job, you should update your resume for future use by getting rid of your GPA on it.

Faking one’s SAT or ACT scores can be tempting for those who aren’t particularly happy with their standardized test scores and are desperate to get the job they are applying to.

Besides the SAT or ACT scores, some people also lie about the colleges or universities they went to and the college degrees they earned.

Later, we will discuss this matter as well as what would happen if you faked your standardized test scores and/or college degree and your employer found out about it — so don’t stop reading now.

Self-Reporting on the Application

It’s when self-reporting one’s SAT or ACT scores that many students applying to their ideal schools are tempted to fake their standardized test scores. After all, they are given the opportunity to state their SAT or ACT scores without presenting any official score reports from the College Board or ACT.

As the name suggests, self-reporting means reporting your standardized test scores within the Common App.

Put simply, self-reporting lets you tell the school you are applying to your SAT or ACT scores before the College Board or ACT send your official score reports to it.

However, whether or not you grab the chance to self-report your SAT or ACT scores, you will still have to provide your official score reports sooner or later.

And this brings us to this important question…

SAT test

Why do admissions officers allow self-reporting?

Self-reporting of SAT or ACT scores makes it easier for admissions officers to have an idea of the academic and testing abilities of applicants. Because the standardized test scores are already on the application, they no longer have to sort through several documents, thus simplifying their work.

More and more US colleges and universities are going test-optional these days.

Basically, test-optional schools do not believe that standardized tests like the SAT and ACT are effective measurements of the college readiness (the set of knowledge and skills of a high school student upon graduation) of applicants.

If you are applying to a test-optional school, you may be on the fence about self-reporting your SAT or ACT scores since the college or university does not require applicants to provide or submit their standardized test reports.

Well, it’s still a good idea to include your SAT or ACT scores on the Common App.

A test-optional school will not consider your SAT or ACT scores when deciding your fate alright. Still, its admissions officers might decide to put you on the top of the list if they are impressed with your standardized test scores!

And this takes us to a question many students are too embarrassed to ask…

When not self-report SAT or ACT scores?

Whether the college or university is test-optional or not, in some cases, self-reporting one’s standardized test scores is discouraged. This is true if the applicant’s SAT or ACT scores are not as good as he or she would like them to be, and the exam will be taken again before the school decides.

One of the nicest things about the SAT and ACT is that you can take them numerous times until you are happy with your score. You can take the SAT as many times as you like. On the other hand, you can take the ACT up to 12 times.

Because of this, you may skip including self-reporting your SAT or ACT scores if you are not happy with them.

However, especially if you are confident that you could get SAT or ACT scores high enough to gain admission into the college of your dreams, it’s a good idea to self-report some other time.

Instead of self-reporting your SAT or ACT scores that you are not proud of, indicate the next date of your SAT or ACT exam. This will let the admissions officers know that your standardized test scores will be on the way soon. And, as a result, the admissions officers will not wonder why you did not self-report.

And this directs us to one more important self-reporting question…

When should you self-report to test-optional schools?

There are a couple of times when it’s a good idea for applicants to self-report their SAT or ACT scores. First, if they are proud of their standardized exams and would like to indicate their college readiness. Second, if the applicants feel that the rest of their application is not that impressive.

As mentioned earlier, a growing number of colleges and universities in the US are now test-optional schools. They include high-ranking and selective ones like MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, and Brown University.

Because the admissions officers in these schools will not consider your SAT or ACT scores when deciding, they will focus on the rest of your application.

They include your GPA, extracurricular activities, and recommendation letters. In some instances, such as when torn between two students, they may consider standardized test scores.

Suppose that there is only one spot to fill.

Your application and that of another applicant are equally stellar and the admissions officers are having a hard time choosing between the two of you. In this case, they may decide to take into account the SAT or ACT scores of the two of you to find out which one is the most deserving.

In the above example, self-reporting when applying to a test-optional school can work to your advantage.

Faking your SAT or ACT scores when self-reporting on the Common App just to impress the admissions officers is a complete no-no. That’s because they will surely know the whole truth the moment they get their hands on the official score reports sent straight to them by the College Board or ACT.

And this leads us to a significant part of this article…

What Will Happen If You Get Caught Faking SAT score

As Shakespeare once said early in his career, “the truth will out”.

So, if you think that you can easily get away with lying about your SAT or ACT scores on your college application or resume, think again.

The price to pay can be exorbitant if the test-optional school you applied to suddenly obtains your official score reports from the College Board or ACT. The same is true if the company you are working for all of a sudden asks you to submit your official score reports — or if a jealous co-worker learned about the crime and reported you to the employer.

In any case, here are the things that might happen if you get caught faking your standardized exam scores:

Revoked college admission

Besides offering admissions, colleges and universities also revoke admissions. When you are accepted to a school, it’s a conditional offer — all you have to do to keep your admission is maintain your grades and efforts that got you accepted in the first place. Otherwise, the school might revoke your admission.

One reason for revocation of admissions is the discovery of plagiarism on one’s application or falsified information, such as lying about SAT or ACT scores.

Applying to colleges or universities, especially selective ones, is difficult. Things can get even more difficult if you have less-than-stellar SAT or ACT scores.

Lying on your application won’t help you gain admission into any of your preferred schools. As a matter of fact, it can keep you from attending any of them for being blacklisted.

Incarceration (among other things)

Faking your SAT or ACT scores can lead to someone’s imprisonment. It’s very much possible for you to get arrested and wind up in jail if you get yourself involved in a cheating scandal concerning your standardized test scores.

In 2011, for instance, seven students were arrested for paying a 19-year-old guy between $1,500 and $2,500 each to take the SAT on their behalf. All of them faced misdemeanor charges, while the person who took the SAT for them — he even took the SAT twice in a single weekend under different identities — faced up to four years in prison.

Refrain from assuming that only students can get punished for cheating on the SAT or ACT.

Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman, for instance, was sentenced to 14 days in prison, given a $30,000 fine, community service amounting to 250 hours, and one year of supervised release for paying $15,000 to have her daughter’s SAT scores faked.

More than 30 parents that were involved with the scheme were arrested and charged, too.

Getting fired

Lying on your resume or during your interview, such as indicating fake SAT or ACT scores, can keep you from getting a job offer.

On the other hand, if the company discovers you lied after being hired, you can get fired. Therefore, stretching the truth, especially when caught, can jeopardize your employment status.

As mentioned earlier, some companies ask applicants about their SAT or ACT scores. If standardized test scores are deemed important by a company, it may ask for your official score reports before hiring you or after being placed on the payroll.

If your official score reports do not match the SAT or ACT scores you gave earlier, it could cost you your job.

Besides SAT and ACT scores, up to 78% of people lie about other things during the hiring process, such as earning a college degree from a prestigious school that they didn’t go to.

The majority of them usually end up being fired. Besides being fired, one may also have a difficult time getting hired elsewhere.

Just Before You Try Faking Your SAT or ACT Scores

Can you fake your SAT or ACT scores?

You certainly can.

This is most especially true if the college or university you are applying to is a test-optional school or if the company you are applying to does not require the submission of official score reports from the College Board or ACT.

However, refrain from assuming that you will get away with it 100%. In case the school or an employer suddenly decides to ask for your official score reports, there will be a lot of explaining to do.

In most instances, you may not have enough time to explain because it’s very much likely for the college or university to revoke your admission or the company you are working for to terminate you.

Because of the high chances of getting caught and the risks involved, too, faking your SAT or ACT scores is definitely not worth it.

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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