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 2009 high school graduates are 501 Critical Reading, 515 Math, and 493 Writing.  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.  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 590-700 CR 53% Important
580-670 M
580-690 W
Amherst College 660-760 CR 15% Very Important
660-760 M
670-760 W
Arizona State University 470-590 CR 91% Very Important
480-620 M
Auburn University 520-640 CR 80% Very Important
540-660 M
510-620 W
Barnard College 630-730 CR 31% Important
620-710 M
660-740 W
Bates College 620-700 CR 27% Considered (not required)
640-710 M
620-710 W
Baylor University 530-640 CR 50% Very Important
550-650 M
510-620 W
Boston College 610-700 CR 30% Very Important
640-730 M
630-720 W
Boston University 570-660 CR 58% Important
600-690 M
590-680 W
Bowdoin College 660-750 CR 19% Considered (not required)
660-750 M
660-750 W
Brown University 650-760 CR 11% Important
670-780 M
660-770 W
Bryn Mawr College 600-700 CR 49% Considered
580-680 M
610-700 W
Claremont McKenna College 630-730 CR 18% Very Important
660-750 M
Colby College 630-720 CR 34% Important
640-720 M
630-710 W
Colorado State University 500-610 CR 72% Important
510-640 M
490-600 W
Cornell 630-730 CR 19% Very Important
660-770 M
Dartmouth 660-770 CR 13% Very Important
680-780 M
670-780 W
Duke 660-750 CR 19% Very Important
680-780 M
660-760 W
Emory 640-730 CR 30% Very Important
660-750 M
650-740 W
George Washington 600-690 CR 37% Important
600-690 M
600-690 W
Georgia Tech 580-680 CR 59% Important
650-750 M
580-670 W
Hamilton College 660-740 CR 30% Important
650-730 M
650-740 W
Harvard 690-780 CR 7% Very Important
690-790 M
690-780 W
Ithaca 530-630 CR 79% Important
530-640 M
530-630 W
Middlebury 640-730 CR 20% Important
650-740 M
650-740 W
MIT 650-760 CR 11% Important
720-800 M
660-760 W
Northwestern 670-750 CR 26% Very Important
690-780 M
670-750 W
Princeton 690-790 CR 10% Very Important
700-790 M
700-780 W
Stanford University 660-760 CR 8% Very Important
680-780 M
670-760 W
University of Chicago 690-780 CR 27% Considered
680-780 M
670-760 W
University of North Carolina 590-700 CR 32% Very Important
620-710 M
580-680 W
University of Pennsylvania 660-750 CR 18% Very Important
690-780 M
670-760 W
University of Virginia 600-710 CR 32% Important
630-730 M
610-710 W
University of Wisconsin (Madison) 550-670 CR 57% Important
620-720 M
570-670 W
Virginia Tech 540-640 CR 67% Very Important
570-670 M
540-630 W
Washington University 680-750 CR 22% Very Important
710-780 M
Yale 700-800 CR 8% Very Important
700-780 M
700-790 W

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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