I was recently asked by a student what a good SAT score was. The answer depends on the student and the colleges to which they are applying. From the perspective of many colleges, a somewhat lower score for a student from a small rural public school might be similar to a higher score from a student at a top private high school.  This sort of approach is more common with private colleges than public ones. Public colleges tend to use more guidelines of grades and test scores in forming a freshman class.

But the real answer to what is a good SAT score really depends on the colleges to which you apply. Find the middle 50% of test scores for the colleges to which you are applying. If your SAT scores fall into that middle range you are generally going to be competitive for admission. To find the middle range of test scores you can look at the College Navigator web site. Find the college you are considering and click on the admissions tab. This will give you information about acceptances and rejections as well as average SAT and ACT test scores. Note that I said you would be competitive for admissions. If you are looking at some of the very selective colleges, test scores alone won’t tell you your chances of admission.

For most colleges, if your SAT scores put you in the top 25% of their average test scores, you will have a good chance of admission. Similarly, if your test scores put you in the bottom 25% of the average SAT scores, admissions will be more difficult.  But remember, very few colleges will make a decision for acceptance or rejection based solely on your SAT scores.


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