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Jon Chang

What’s a Good SAT Score?

Good SAT Score -Magoosh

It’s been two years since Magoosh 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 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.

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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!

Top 100 Universities and CollegesPre-March 2016 SAT (25th to 75th Percentile Scores)SAT (25th to 75th Percentile Scores)
Princeton University2100-23801400-1590
Harvard University2100-23501470-1580
Yale University2140-23901420-1590
Columbia University2090-23501450-1590
Stanford University2080-23601390-1580
University of ChicagoNot Reported1460-1550
Massachusetts Institute of Technology2120-23601470-1590
Duke University2100-23801400-1590
University of Pennsylvania2100-23801400-1590
California Institute of Technology2240-23401530-1570
Johns Hopkins University2130-23001480-1560
Dartmouth College2050-23501420-1580
Northwestern University1990-23001400-1560
Brown University2060-23501440-1590
Cornell UniversityNot Reported1310-1470
Vanderbilt University2110-23601420-1590
Washington University in St. LouisNot Reported1460-1570
Rice University2040-23801440-1590
University of Notre DameNot Reported1390-1530
University of California - Berkeley1950-23301300-1550
Emory University2030-22701330-1520
Georgetown UniversityNot Reported1380-1540
Carnegie Mellon University2050-23101460-1570
University of California - Los Angeles1720-21601230-1500
University of Southern California1950-22101380-1520
Tufts University2050-22801440-1550
Wake Forest UniversityTest Optional: 1860-2150Test Optional: 1320-1500
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor1960-22401390-1540
Boston College1900-21901340-1510
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill1770-21001260-1470
New York UniversityWriting Scores Not Reported: 1250-14801310-1510
University of Rochester1840-21501320-1510
Brandeis University1910-22001370-1520
College of William and Mary1870-21901320-1510
Georgia Institute of Technology1960-22301400-1530
University of California - Santa Barbara1810-20701220-1460
University of California - Irvine1580-19601150-1410
University of California - San Diego1820-22201300-1520
Boston University1830-21201300-1490
Rensselaer Polytechnic InstituteWriting Scores Not Reported: 1280-14801340-1510
Tulane University1890-21401330-1480
University of California - Davis1570-19801140-1420
University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign1880-21701380-1530
University of Wisconsin - MadisonWriting Scores Not Reported: 1210-14201280-1470
Lehigh UniversityWriting Scores Not Reported: 1230-14201300-1470
Northeastern University1960-22401400-1540
Pennsylvania State UniversityWriting Scores Not Reported: 1090-13001160-1360
University of Florida1760-20501260-1440
University of Miami1800-20701280-1460
Ohio State University - Columbus1720-20701250-1470
Pepperdine University1660-19801190-1410
University of Texas - Austin1690-20901210-1480
University of Washington1660-20301200-1440
Yeshiva University1620-20201160-1420
George Washington University1780-20901270-1460
University of Connecticut1700-19301220-1370
University of Maryland - College ParkWriting Scores Not Reported: 1210-14201280-1470
Worcester Polytechnic Institute1770-20601280-1460
Clemson UniversityWriting Scores Not Reported: 1150-13401220-1400
Purdue University - West Lafeyette1600-19601160-1400
Southern Methodist University1810-21001290-1470
Syracuse University1630-19301170-1370
University of Georgia1700-20001210-1410
Brigham Young University - Provo1720-20401230-1430
Fordham University1750-20501250-1440
University of Pittsburgh1760-20501260-1440
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities1760-21401270-1500
Texas A&M University - College Station1560-19301130-1380
Virginia Tech1630-19501170-1390
American University1720-20101220-1390
Baylor University1650-19401190-1380
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick1650-20101190-1430
Clark University1670-19801190-1390
Colorado School of Mines1810-20701310-1470
Indiana University - Bloomington1570-19101140-1370
Michigan State University1450-18401080-1340
Stevens Institute of TechnologyWriting Scores Not Reported: 1260-14601320-1480
University of Delaware1630-19401170-1360
University of Massachusetts- AmherstWriting Scores Not Reported: 1130-13301200-1390
Miami University - Oxford1670-20001210-1420
Texas Christian University1590-19301150-1360
University of California - Santa Cruz1580-19301150-1370
University of IowaWriting Scores Not Reported: 1020-13201100-1380
Marquette University1560-18901130-1340
University of Denver1630-18801170-1340
University of Tulsa1620-20601160-1450
Binghamton University -SUNY1810-20701300-1460
North Carolina State University - Raleigh1710-19801230-1410
Stony Brook University -SUNY1690-20301220-1440
SUNY College of Environmental Science and ForestryWriting Scores Not Reported: 1070-12601140-1320
University of Colorado - BoulderWriting Scores Not Reported: 1070-13101140-1370
University of San Diego1820-22201220-1490
University of Vermont1650-19501180-1370
Florida State University1680-19101200-1340
Saint Louis UniversityWriting Scores Not Reported: 1120-13301190-1390
University of Alabama1450-18201060-1290
Drexel UniversityWriting Scores Not Reported: 1080-13001150-1360
Loyola University Chicago1540-18801110-1330
University at Buffalo - SUNYWriting Scores Not Reported: 1070-12701140-1330
Auburn University1570-18701140-1330

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?

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 -Magoosh

P.S. Ready to get your highest SAT score? Start here.

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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