Posted in HS4CC

Reporting Test Scores on the Transcript

If you’ve taken my transcript class, you know that I discourage parents from reporting test scores (ACT, SAT, CLEP, AP, DSST, etc.) on their high school transcript. Often parents see this as an advantage when in fact it can be a disadvantage.

Disadvantaged on Accident

When a student’s test scores are requested by a college, their scores will be evaluated against other test scores. This is fair. Your student’s score will be considered in the same manner as their peers.

When a test score is not requested by a college, but a parent sends it in anyway, you’ve now added an extra evaluation point to your teen’s application that other students will not be evaluated against! Colleges will evaluate whatever you send them, so if you send in extra items, they can be used against your student. Students with “exceptional” test scores will always benefit by sending in the score, but it’s the rest of us with average or under-average scores that may experience a disadvantage.


“Test-optional” allows you to choose whether or not to submit standardized ADMISSIONS test scores as a part of an application. Students who choose not to submit test scores will not be penalized, but students who submit test scores (especially if these scores are impressive) may receive an advantage. Occasionally a homeschooled applicant may be required to submit a test score at a test-optional college. Sara Harberson, a well respected admissions consultant, recommends the following for test-optional applications:

“With widespread test optional policies, a student could choose not to take the SAT or ACT altogether or they could simply choose not to submit their scores. The beauty of the test optional policy is students have either option…Standardized tests are no longer an impediment to applying and attending college. But if you have high scores, use them. If not, don’t sweat it.”

Brown University: Test-Optional for 2023
Columbia University: Test-Optional for 2023 and 2024
Cornell University: Test-Optional for 2023 and 2024
Dartmouth College: Test-Optional for 2023
Harvard University: Test-Optional for 2023, 2024, 2025, and 2026
University of Pennsylvania (UPenn): Test-Optional for 2023
Princeton University: Test-Optional for 2023
Yale University: Test-Optional for 2023

Credit by Exam

Credit by exam (DSST, AP, CLEP) scores don’t belong on a high school transcript. DSST, AP, and CLEP exams are not admissions exams, they are college credit assessments. Your report on your teen’s high school transcript isn’t valid, all of those scores must be sent from an official transcript (not yours).

If your student is applying to college using the Common Application, you may self-report AP scores if you have them, but there is no where to self-report CLEP or DSST scores. Since AP scores don’t post until July, it is typical for students NOT to report their AP scores from 12th grade during the college application cycle.

Let’s argue hypothetically that your teen’s target college doesn’t award college credit for CLEP exams. When you include those scores or the word “CLEP” on the transcript, you create doubt with the admissions committee – should they exclude all the math credits your teen earned via CLEP? If 3 of the 4 high school math credits have the word “CLEP” attached to them, an uninformed admissions evaluator may conclude your student doesn’t have enough high school math credits or qualify for admissions. Admissions staff don’t award or evaluate college credit, so you’re opening up your student to the chance of being disadvantaged on accident.

CLEP (credit by exam) is evaluated by a registrar for college credit, there is no good reason to include it on the high school transcript for evaluation by an admissions committee. If your student studied Precalculus and took the CLEP exam, award them “Honors level” high school credit. Separately, send their Official College Board CLEP Transcript to the college’s registrar for evaluation of college credit. If awarded, it will appear once the student has matriculated into the college. (officially enrolled/paid)

Honors Precalculus1A


Visit the Homeschooling for College Credit Transcript Resource Page for more help or to enroll in our transcript course.


Executive Director of Homeschooling for College Credit