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Jon Chang

What’s a Good SAT Score?

Good SAT Score -Clemmonsdogpark

It’s been two years since Clemmonsdogpark first started blogging about the SAT revamp, but the March 2016 test is still fairly new. The old SAT was scored out of 2400, but the new SAT is scored out of only 1600, now that the Reading and Writing sections have been combined.

Seniors who graduated in 2017 are actually the first class where most people took the new SAT. There isn’t a ton of data about their scores yet, so everything we used to think of as a “good SAT score” has gone out the window.

Luckily, this post is here to guide you!

Watch the embedded video below for a quick overview of what qualifies as a “good SAT score” in 2018, and keep reading to find out what SAT score range you should aim for–no matter where you’re applying to college!

A good SAT score depends on where you want to go to college.

You don’t need to have a super-detailed spreadsheet of every single university in the United States and your chances of getting in (though you can see ours, if you scroll down 🙂 ). But you should have a rough idea of whether you want to go to the college half an hour from your house, or the ultra-prestigious school at the opposite end of the country.

Pick a few schools: some that you’re fairly confident you’ll get into, and some that you’ll have to work hard to impress. If you don’t have any idea where to start, make an appointment with your guidance counselor to talk about what colleges are out there and what you should aim for.

Next, look up the school’s admissions data, either on their official website or through a website like .

Let’s use my alma mater, Lewis & Clark College, as an example. The were 635 in Math and 665 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, making the average Composite SAT score 1300. If your own score is in that neighborhood ( or minus 50 points in each section), then you’re in pretty good shape for applying to Lewis & Clark. You can use this method to figure out a good SAT score range to aim for, depending on which schools you’re interested in.

You can also use SAT percentiles to find a good SAT goal score. Scoring around the average percentile is usually a fine goal – unless your transcripts are really lacking. To give yourself the absolute best chance at acceptance, you should aim for a score in the 75th percentile.

Not sure where you want to apply yet? Take a look at this table of SAT score ranges for the top 100 universities in the United States. The numbers are from the middle 50% score range (meaning 25% of admitted students had lower scores and 25% had higher scores).

Expand the table by clicking “Next” or type the name of your chosen school in the search box to find its the middle 50% SAT score range!

Universities and CollegesSAT (25th to 75th Percentile Scores)
Princeton University1470-1590
Harvard University1470-1580
Yale University1420-1590
Columbia University1490-1580
Stanford University1450-1590
University of Chicago1490-1590
Massachusetts Institute of Technology1500-1580
Duke University1440-1570
University of Pennsylvania1370-1520
California Institute of Technology1530-1590
Johns Hopkins University1460-1570
Dartmouth College1430-1560
Northwestern University1480-1560
Brown University1405-1570
Cornell University1480-1570
Vanderbilt University1480-1590
Rice University1440-1560
University of Notre Dame1390-1530
University of California - Berkeley1270-1540
Emory University1390-1540
Georgetown University1380-1470
University of California - Los Angeles1370-1530
University of Southern California1450-1540
Tufts University1410-1550
Test Optional: 1320-1500
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor1380-1540
Boston College1310-1450
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill1170-1390
New York University1340-1520
Georgia Institute of Technology1360-1490
University of California - Santa Barbara1210-1450
University of California - Irvine1190-1420
University of California - San Diego1300-1520
Boston University1220-1420
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute1320-1500
Tulane University1340-1480
University of California - Davis1260-1460
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign1380-1530
University of Wisconsin - Madison1280-1460
Northeastern University1400-1530
Pennsylvania State University1250-1430
University of Florida1180-1370
University of Miami1320-1460
Pepperdine University1190-1410
University of Texas - Austin1160-1390
University of Washington1190-1400
University of Connecticut1130-1340
University of Maryland - College Park1320-1470
Clemson University1150-1340
Purdue University - West Lafeyette1160-1360
University of Georgia1220-1360
Fordham University1250-1440
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities1320-1460
Texas A&M University - College Station1070-1310
Virginia Tech1100-1320
Marquette University1130-1340
Loyola University Chicago1120-1310

Like what you see?

Click on the name of any school listed above to check out our latest posts on how to get accepted to your school of choice–including a full breakdown of admissions data, tips, and frequently asked questions specific to each college!*

*For colleges which we have not yet covered in an admissions post, the link will direct you to the school’s admissions website, where you can do some poking around!

SAT score not as good as you hoped? Time to schedule a retake.

If you didn’t make it anywhere close to your target score, you may want to consider retaking the SAT.

Plan to take the test a second time 3-6 months from now. Here are a few tips to prepare:

  • Set aside a couple of study periods during the week where you focus only on test prep and nothing else.
  • Learn what your weaknesses on the SAT are and talk with your teachers, tutors, or really smart friends about how to overcome them.
  • Y’all also know that , right?

good sat score

However, don’t get too obsessed over your SAT score. If you get a 1350 combined score on your retake, it probably isn’t worth taking the SAT again if you were aiming for a 1400.

Remember that your SAT score is just one piece in a complex process of college applications. Admissions offices will be looking at your G.P.A., extracurricular activities, recommendations, and essays along with your SAT score. A good SAT score is important, but you still have other things to focus on that will make your application as strong as possible.

Good luck! Your dream school awaits! 🙂

Good SAT Score -Clemmonsdogpark

About Jon Chang

Jon has a degree in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University and a degree in science journalism from New York University. It's safe to say that he's learned a lot of things over the past decade, but he's learned how to write about those things too. All the while, he’s been tutoring students, helping them better understand their own coursework and showing them how to crack the code of the SAT and ACT. When he's not doing that, you can usually find him singing, playing violin, or coming up with bad puns.

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