Wondering what SAT score you should be aiming for based on your academic goals? Not even sure what qualifies as a good SAT score these days? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Watch the embedded video below for a quick overview of what qualifies as a “good SAT score” in 2019, 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 BigFuture.
Let’s use my alma mater, Lewis & Clark College, as an example. The average scores for incoming Lewis & Clark in fall 2018 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 (plus 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!
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 Magoosh has a huge bank of SAT practice questions too, right?
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! 🙂
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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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