What is a good SAT score for universities?

A perfect SAT score is 1600. The minimum score is 400. And the average for the class of 2018 was 1068. But what is a “good” SAT score for universities? Well, to be honest, it really depends on the universities you are applying to.

It is obvious that the higher your SAT score, the greater your chances are of getting into a top school. But even a perfect SAT score is no guarantee of admission at the most selective institutions. For example, if your target college is Stanford University, then you must be able to score more than 1520 on your SATs as 75% of the admitted students have that score.

The SAT has two sections, math and reading/writing, each scored on a scale from 200 to 800. To get into one of the top 100 most selective schools, you will generally need to have a composite SAT score of at least 1200, preferably 1400 or more. Composite SAT scores of more than 1400 are in the top five percent of test takers.

A great SAT score is no guarantee of admission at these schools since admission decisions depend on more than just grades and test scores. Students do get in with lower test scores, but most of the students at these schools have high test scores.

If your ultimate SAT score is close to the national average, then you’ll have a solid chance of gaining admission to a variety of schools. The higher your SAT score, the better your chances of admission at selective schools will be. Plus, high SAT scores also drive merit-based aid at many schools, so earning an above-average score can also save you lots of money — and spare you from accruing significant college debt. 

In contrast, a score that is well below average is low at just about any four-year school. You may be able to balance low scores with a standout college application at some colleges. But even if you’re accepted, the school may ask you to take some college-readiness courses before enrolling. And you won’t be as likely to earn merit-based financial aid. 

So, it might be safe to say that there are no rigid “good” scores to score on SATs. But it is always better to work hard and score relatively higher scores in order to secure your position on your target university.


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