What SAT Score is Good Enough?

What SAT Score is Good Enough?

SAT_evaluate_your_scoreAs we’ve discussed, there’s no such thing as “passing” on the SAT. There are two main ways to evaluate an SAT score: by percentiles, and by the average scores at the college you’re interested in. Here’s we’ll go over the second method of looking at a score: score averages at colleges.

In an ideal world, you should only have to compete with yourself and not have to compare yourself with anyone else. However, in the highly competitive world of college admissions, especially for top-ranking schools, your score would have to be compared with everyone else’s to determine how well you would do in the school or program of your choice.

The idea of a “good score” is highly relative. The highest possible score is 2400, but very few students achieve this. The national average is in the 1500 range, but the truth is that you should aim to score much higher than the average to be considered by the best universities. This is why you should be aware of where you stand against other test takers on the basis of percentiles.

Why does my SAT score matter so much to colleges?

The fact of the matter is that almost all schools make their SAT data available to the public, and they know that their reputation would be affected by how high the scores of the admitted students are. To be considered as elite or selective, a school has to show that it only selects freshmen with significantly higher scores than the national average.

Ivy League universities are likely to favor students with scores averaging 2200 or higher, whereas schools among the top 150 would prefer that incoming freshmen have scores comfortably above 1800. Schools want to ensure that the freshman they admit have a high likelihood of achieving academic success, and an above-average SAT is one good indicator to look at.

Average SAT Scores at Specific Colleges

The best way to know whether your score is good enough is to compare it with the average scores of freshmen currently enrolled at the programs you are interested in. This information is typically available on schools’ websites.

Another way is to take a look at the average scores for the schools that you are considering. Below is a table showing the average range of scores of admitted students. An important thing to remember as you look at these scores is that they do not represent a cut-off point but rather show a general view of score averages.

School Average SAT Math Scores Average SAT Reading Scores
Amherst College 670–760 670–770
Arizona State University 500–630 480–610
Bard College 600–670 650–710
Boston College 640–740 620–710
Brigham Young University 590–690 580–690
Brown University 660–770 660–760
California Institute of Technology 770–800 720–780
Carnegie Mellon University 690–790 630–730
Colorado State University 520–640 500–620
Columbia University 700–790 690–780
Cornell University 670–780 640–740
Dartmouth College 680–780 670–780
Duke University 690–790 670–760
Emory University 660–760 620–710
Florida State University 560–640 560–640
Georgetown University 660–750 650–750
Harvard University 710–790 700–800
Johns Hopkins University 670–770 640–740
Louisiana State University 520–630 500–620
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 740–800 670–770
New York University 630–740 620–710
Northwestern University 700–780 680–760
Penn State University 560–670 530–630
Princeton University 710–800 700–790
Rice University 700–780 660–750
Rutgers University 540–670 500–620
Stanford University 700–790 680–780
Syracuse University 540–650 500–620
Trinity College 600–700 590–690
University of California–Los Angeles 600–760 560–680
University of Notre Dame 680–770 660–750
University of Pennsylvania 690–780 660–760
Vanderbilt University 710–790 690–770
Vassar College 650–730 660–750
Wake Forest University 630–710 620–700
Wellesley College 640–740 650–740
Yale University 710–790 700–800

What if my score falls below the average given in the table?

Remember that the SAT is not the end of the story – it’s just one part of your application. Colleges consider other factors aside from your SAT score. These factors include your GPA, extracurricular activities, and unique challenges you may have faced, among other factors. You can always apply to a school with a higher average SAT; just be aware that the SAT portion of your application will be at some sort of disadvantage.

If you are aiming at top schools and you feel dissatisfied with your score, remember that you always have the option to retake the SAT. Retaking increases your chances of obtaining a better score, and the good news is that even if you send all your scores, most colleges will still consider your best scores.

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