What Are "Good" SAT Scores?

What Are Good SAT Scores?

One of the most frequent questions we get from high school parents and students is “What are good SAT scores?”  The truth of the matter is, there’s no simple answer to that question.  It depends on which colleges a student plans to apply to, how selective those colleges are, and how important standardized test scores are in the admissions process.  What are considered good SAT scores for one college could be considered exceptional scores for another.

Are My SAT Scores Good Enough?

The average SAT scores for 2016 high school graduates are 494 Critical Reading, 508 Math, and 482 Writing for students who took the old SAT. (Note: 2016 scores data cannot be perfectly compared to previous years, because while the majority of students in the class of 2016 took the old SAT, some took the new SAT.) However, most colleges release data regarding the average SAT scores for first-year students at their schools, which is one of the best ways for students to determine whether their SAT scores are considered “good enough” for a particular college.  Typically, the more selective a college is, the higher its average SAT scores for first-year students will be.  Keep in mind though that SAT scores are just one piece of the college admissions puzzle.  In most cases, high SAT scores that aren’t backed up by other aspects of a student’s application (like a strong high school record, extracurricular and volunteer activities, strong application essays and recommendations, etc.) are unlikely to win a student admission to a college.  However, when it comes down to it, the higher a student’s SAT scores are, the better, as strong SAT scores will give a student more options when applying to colleges.

SAT Scores Comparison Chart

As we mentioned above, one of the best ways to find out if a student has good SAT scores for a college is to compare the student’s SAT scores with the average SAT scores for first-year students at that particular school.  The comparison chart below shows the SAT scores for the middle 50% of first-year students, the acceptance rate, and the weight given to standardized test scores for a variety of popular colleges and universities for the New SAT.  Though a student’s goal should be for his or her SAT scores to fall within or above the middle 50% range for a college, remember that 25% of first-year students at that college scored below that range and still gained acceptance to the school.  If you don’t see the college you’re looking for on this list, go to the College Board’s College Search site.

College/University SAT Scores for Middle 50% of First-Year Students Acceptance Rate Weight Given to Standardized Test Scores in Admissions Process
American University 640-720 R&W 26% Important
580-670 M
32-37 R
Amherst College 720-790 R&W 14% Very Important
710-790 M
36-40 R
Arizona State University 550-670 M 83% Very Important
27-34 R
Auburn University 580-670 R&W 81% Very Important
560-660 M
29-33 R
Barnard College 700-760 R&W 17% Important
650-760 M
34-38 R
Bates College 630-730 R&W 23% Considered (not required)
600-730 M
31-37 R
Baylor University 600-690 R&W 40% Very Important
560-690 M
30-35 R
Boston College 680-750 R&W 31% Very Important
660-760 M
33-38 R
Boston University 650-730 R&W 29% Important
650-760 M
32-36 R
Bowdoin College 700-770 R&W 15% Considered (not required)
660-780 M
35-39 R
Brown University 720-790 R&W 9% Important
720-800 M
36-40 R
Bryn Mawr College 670-750 R&W 40% Considered
630-750 M
33-38 R
Claremont McKenna College 700-760 R&W 9% Very Important
700-770 M
Colby College 680-750 R&W 19% Important
650-760 M
34-38 R
Colorado State University Has not yet released mid-50% R&W 78% Important
540-650 M
28-33 R
Cornell 710-790 M 14% Very Important
35-39 R
Dartmouth 710-790 R&W 11% Very Important
680-780 M
670-780 W
Duke 720-780 R&W 11% Very Important
780-800 M
36-39 R
Emory 690-780 R&W 25% Very Important
690-760 M
34-38 R
George Washington 650-730 R&W 40% Important
720-730 M
31-37 R
Georgia Tech 690-750 R&W 26% Important
710-780 M
34-38 R
Hamilton College 700-760 R&W 26% Important
670-760 M
35-38 R
Harvard 740-800 R&W 5% Very Important
750-800 M
Ithaca 600-680 R&W 72% Important
570-660 M
30-34 R
Middlebury 690-760 R&W 16% Important
670-780 M
34-38 R
MIT 730-800 R&W 8% Important
780-800 M
37-40 R
Northwestern Has not released mid-50% R&W 11% Very Important
740-800 M
37-39 R
Princeton 730-800 R&W 7% Very Important
740-800 M
37-40 R
Stanford University 720-790 R&W 5% Very Important
730-800 M
36-40 R
University of Chicago 740-800 R&W 8% Considered
760-800 M
38-40 R
University of North Carolina 640-730 R&W 27% Very Important
620-740 M
32-37 R
University of Pennsylvania 720-780 R&W 9% Very Important
730-800 M
36-39 R
University of Virginia 670-750 R&W 30% Important
640-760 M
33-38 R
University of Wisconsin (Madison) Has not released mid 50% R&W 53% Important
660-780 M
31-35 R
Virginia Tech 590-680 R&W 71% Very Important
580-710 M
29-34 R
Washington University 730-780 R&W 17% Very Important
740-800 M
Yale 740-800 R&W 6% Very Important
740-800 M
37-40 R

Related Topics

  • For more general information about the SAT Test, visit our SAT Test page.
  • Students have options when it comes to sending SAT scores to colleges. Find out why StudyPoint recommends viewing SAT scores before sending them to colleges. Visit our Sending SAT Scores page.
  • For information about upcoming SAT test dates, visit our SAT Test Dates page.

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