Good SAT Scores For Colleges and Universities Requirements and Full Guild

what are good SAT scores for colleges? And not just any colleges, but your colleges specifically? In this article, we’ll examine the SAT scores needed for college and how these scores can vary due to differences in factors such as school prestige and competitiveness. We’ll then show you how to look for average SAT scores for colleges and how to set your own SAT goal score.

What Are Good SAT Scores for Colleges?

First off, what are good SAT scores for colleges? In reality, there’s no single answer to this question because good SAT scores for universities vary depending on where you’re applying. For some schools, an SAT score of 1400 will be significantly high, whereas for others (i.e., top-20 colleges) it’ll be fairly low. As you might’ve guessed, ultra-competitive, top-ranked schools typically look for some of the highest SAT scores in applicants. Below is a chart containing the top 25 US schools (as ranked by US News) and their ranges of SAT scores for incoming students. This data highlights the SAT score you’ll need to get in order to give yourself the best shot at securing admission into a highly competitive school. For each school, we give you the average SAT score, 25th percentile score, and 75th percentile score of incoming students. A 25th percentile score means that 25% of students scored at or below this threshold, while a 75th percentile score means that 75% of students scored at or below this threshold. Thus, the 25th and 75th percentiles represent the middle 50% SAT scores of admitted applicants—the average SAT score range for a particular school. Good SAT scores for universities are usually those in the 75th percentile or higher (i.e., anything above the middle 50%). Note: For those curious about what kinds of SAT scores are required for Ivy League schools, I’ve bolded all eight Ivies in the table below. This should make it easier to compare the SAT scores of Ivies with those of non-Ivies.

SAT Scores for Top 25 US Schools

School US NewsRanking(2018) 25th %ile SAT Score 75th %ile SAT Score Avg SAT Score
Princeton 1 1470 1590 1520
Harvard 2 1470 1600 1540
University of Chicago 3 (tie) 1490 1590 1540
Yale 3 (tie) 1490 1600 1540
Columbia 5 (tie) 1470 1590 1530
MIT 5 (tie) 1480 1590 1520
Stanford 5 (tie) 1450 1590 1520
University of Pennsylvania (Penn) 8 1450 1570 1510
Duke 9 1480 1590 1540
Caltech 10 1530 1600 1560
Dartmouth 11 (tie) 1410 1580 1500
Johns Hopkins 11 (tie) 1460 1570 1510
Northwestern 11 (tie) 1480 1580 1510
Brown 14 (tie) 1440 1580 1500
Cornell 14 (tie) 1410 1570 1480
Rice 14 (tie) 1450 1570 1510
Vanderbilt 14 (tie) 1480 1590 1530
Notre Dame 18 (tie) 1410 1550 1490
Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) 18 (tie) 1460 1570 1510
Georgetown 20 1390 1550 1460
Emory 21 (tie) 1350 1520 1430
UC Berkeley 21 (tie) 1330 1540 1440
UCLA 21 (tie) 1250 1500 1370
University of Southern California (USC) 21 (tie) 1360 1540 1450
Carnegie Mellon 25 (tie) 1430 1560 1490
University of Virginia(UVA) 25 (tie) 1330 1510 1410
  As you can see from this chart, the SAT scores you’ll need for these top 25 schools vary slightly but areoverall quite high. Of these schools, UCLA has the lowest SAT scores: the middle 50% of its incoming students scored between 1250 and 1500, or the 82nd and 99th percentiles. By contrast, Caltech maintains the highest SAT scores: only 25% of incoming students scored at or below 1530—an extremely impressive SAT score in the 99th+ percentile! Even more impressive, a whopping three-fourths of Caltech students scored at or below a perfect 1600. Top schools are like center brownies: lots of people compete for them, but only a few will win access to one. But what if you’re not interested in applying to only top-25 schools? To lend you a hand, we’ve gathered SAT score information for 76 additional schools. All of the schools selected for this list are relatively well known—some more so in their respective regions—and vary from large public institutions to small liberal arts colleges. Whereas some are extremely competitive, others are more laid-back—but all are worth considering for college! All schools below are organized alphabetically. To find a specific school, use ctrl + F to type in the name of the school you’re searching for. Note that University of California schools are listed using “UC.”  

SAT Scores for 76 Popular Schools

School 25th %ile SAT Score 75th %ile SAT Score Avg SAT Score
American University (AU) 1230 1410 1320
Amherst College 1430 1570 1500
Baylor University (BU) 1200 1380 1290
Binghamton University (BU) 1290 1440 1360
Boston College (BC) 1350 1510 1440
Boston University (BU) 1290 1470 1370
Bowdoin College 1440 1560 1500
Brigham Young University (BYU) 1220 1420 1320
California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) 1200 1420 1300
Chapman University (CU) 1200 1380 1290
Claremont McKenna College (CMC) 1430 1550 1490
College of William & Mary (W&M) 1340 1510 1430
Drexel University (DU) 1160 1370 1270
The George Washington University (GW, GWU) 1280 1450 1370
Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) 1380 1530 1450
Harvey Mudd College (HMC) 1450 1570 1510
Indiana University Bloomington (IU, IUB) 1140 1350 1240
Lehigh University 1300 1480 1370
Loyola Marymount University (LMU) 1200 1380 1290
Miami University (MU) 1210 1420 1300
Michigan State University (MSU) 1050 1310 1190
Middlebury College 1360 1540 1450
New York University(NYU) 1320 1500 1410
Northeastern University 1400 1530 1470
Ohio State University (OSU) 1240 1440 1330
Pace University 1030 1220 1140
Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) 1180 1370 1270
Pepperdine University 1190 1390 1290
Pitzer College (PIT) 1310 1510 1400
Pomona College (POM) 1430 1560 1500
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) 1360 1540 1420
Rutgers University (RU) 1190 1410 1300
Scripps College (SCR) 1370 1500 1430
Stony Brook University—SUNY (SBU) 1210 1430 1310
Syracuse University (SU) 1170 1370 1270
Temple University (TU) 1120 1330 1230
Texas A&M University 1130 1360 1250
Texas Christian University (TCU) 1160 1360 1260
Trinity College 1200 1440 1320
Tufts University (TU) 1440 1550 1490
Tulane University (TU) 1340 1480 1410
UC Davis 1160 1410 1290
UC Irvine 1120 1370 1250
UC Riverside 1110 1320 1190
UC San Diego (UCSD) 1250 1450 1350
UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) 1210 1440 1330
UC Santa Cruz 1150 1380 1260
United States Military Academy (West Point, US Military Academy) 1250 1440 1340
United States Naval Academy (US Naval Academy) 1250 1450 1400
University of Alabama (UA) 1070 1290 1190
University of Arizona (UA) 1050 1290 1170
University of Cincinnati (UC) 1110 1350 1230
University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) 1150 1370 1250
University of Connecticut (UConn) 1220 1410 1300
University of Florida (UF) 1250 1420 1330
University of Georgia(UGA) 1230 1400 1330
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) 1310 1480 1390
University of Iowa (UI) 1080 1370 1220
University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) 1200 1380 1290
University of Miami (UM) 1270 1450 1360
University of Michigan (UM, U-M) 1370 1530 1450
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (UM) 1250 1480 1360
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) 1280 1460 1370
University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) 1250 1420 1340
University of Rochester (UR) 1320 1510 1410
University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) 1240 1450 1350
University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas) 1210 1420 1310
University of Vermont (UVM) 1180 1370 1280
University of Washington (UW) 1190 1420 1300
University of Wisconsin—Madison (UW) 1280 1470 1370
Vassar College 1400 1530 1470
Villanova University 1280 1460 1370
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) 1160 1390 1280
Wake Forest University (WFU) 1290 1470 1380
Wellesley College 1370 1530 1460
Williams College 1410 1570 1490
School 25th %ile SAT Score 75th %ile SAT Score Avg SAT Score
  The list above is only a fraction of the length of Santa’s naughty-or-nice list.

How to Find Average SAT Scores for Colleges

With these two charts, we’ve given you—in addition to the 25th and 75th percentile SAT scores for each school—the average SAT scores of admitted applicants. These averages tell us what kinds of SAT scores you should aim for in order to match (or even possibly exceed) the qualifications of previously admitted students. But where can you find average SAT scores for colleges? The two best resources to look for SAT averages are our PrepScholar database and official school websites.  

Method 1: Use the PrepScholar Database

We at PrepScholar maintain a robust database you can use to get more information on the SAT scores needed for college. Start by typing in “[School Name] PrepScholar” or “[School Name] PrepScholar SAT” on Google. For example, here’s the page I got when I searched for “university of oregon prepscholar”: Click the link to either your school’s Admission Requirements page or SAT Scores and GPA page in our database. I’ll look at the University of Oregon’s Admission Requirements page (the first link in the screenshot above). Once on your school’s PrepScholar page, scroll down to look for a section about its SAT scores. Straight away, you should be able to spot your school’s average SAT score in a blue banner: If you’d like to see the 25th and 75th percentile SAT scores for your school as well, simply scroll down to look at the percentile chart: This is all you need to do to find the average SAT scores for colleges. However, if you’re having trouble locating a specific school in our PrepScholar database, move on to Method 2

Method 2: Use Official School Websites

This method involves looking for SAT score information on a school’s official website. The easiest way to do this is to hop on Google, search for “[School Name] average SAT scores,” and then click any links to official pages discussing SAT scores for your school. Another (slightly less convenient) method is to browse your school’s website and intermittently use ctrl + F to look for any mentions of SAT scores. The best pages to search are those offering information on admission statistics, the new freshman class, and facts and figures. By now, most colleges should report average SAT scores using the current 1600 scoring scale. That said, not all schools report average SAT scores. Whereas some won’t release any SAT score information at all, other schools might report SAT scores of admitted applicants in the form of 25th and 75th percentile scores. One example of this is the University of Oregon, which offers a middle 50% score range of 1100-1290. (Remember that the middle 50% simply means 25% of students scored 1100 or below and 75% of students scored 1290 or below.) Although this range isn’t the same as an average, it does give us the information we ultimately want to know: what kinds of SAT scores are considered better than average (and below average) at this particular school.   This freakishly beautiful kitten is anything but average.

How to Set an SAT Goal Score

We’ve seen how widely SAT scores for universities can vary; now, it’s time to figure out what score you’ll need for your colleges specifically. In other words, what should your SAT goal score be? A goal score is the SAT score most likely to get you into at least one of the colleges you’re applying to (excluding safety schools). Ideally, it’ll get you into all of them! Because SAT expectations can vary greatly by school and because there’s such an enormous array of colleges you can apply to, your SAT goal score will be yours and yours alone. Other students might have higher or lower goal scores than you—but none of that matters. In the end, what does matter is your goal score’s likelihood of getting you into the college of your dreams! To find your SAT goal score, follow these three simple steps:  

Step 1: Make a Chart

First off, make a table for the schools you’re applying to and their 25th/75th percentile SAT scores. You may download our worksheet or draw a table similar to the one below. On the left, list all the schools you plan to apply to (excluding any safety schools you’re about 90% certain you’ll get into). Here’s an example:
School 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
UT Austin
Texas A&M

Step 2: Find SAT Score Info Online

Your next step is to look for SAT score information for each of the schools in your table. To do this, follow the same steps as outlined in Method 1 for finding average SAT scores for colleges. Once again, here are the steps you’ll need to take:
  • Step 1: Search for “[School Name] PrepScholar SAT” on Google and click on the PrepScholar page for your school (either the Admission Requirements page or SAT Scores and GPA page will work).
  • Step 2: Scroll down to the SAT section on this page to find a chart listing the 25th percentile, 75th percentile, and average SAT scores for this school.
  • Step 3: Record the 25th and 75th percentile scores in your chart.
In addition to using our database, you can search for “[School Name] SAT scores” on Google and look for official web pages for your school. Many schools will report either average SAT scores or the middle 50% of SAT scores (which is what you’ll want for your chart). As a reminder, the minimum score in a 50% range is the 25th percentile, and the maximum is the 75th percentile. Once you’ve found SAT score information for all your schools, your chart should look like this:
School Name 25th Percentile 75th Percentile
UT Austin 1240 1450
Texas A&M 1130 1360
Baylor 1200 1380
TCU 1160 1360

Step 3: Find Your Target Score

Now, you’ll use the information in your chart to find your target SAT score. To do this, simply look for the highest 75th percentile score in your chart. This will be your SAT target score. You must hit this (or near this) score in order to give yourself the best chance of admission to all the schools you’re applying to. In this case, my goal score would be 1450 (for UT Austin), as this is the highest score in my chart. To figure out your (estimated) goal scores for each section (Evidence-Based Reading and Writing + Math), you can divide your goal score by 2. So a composite 1450 goal score would come out to a 720-730 EBRW goal score and a 720-730 Math goal score. My goal score? 100% completion in Breath of the Wild.(Brett Chalupa/Flickr)

Summary: What Are Good SAT Scores for Colleges?

Simply put, there is no one definition for good SAT scores for colleges. On the contrary, the SAT scores needed for college can vary significantly depending on schools’ SAT expectations and where you’re applying. While some institutions might look for scores in the 99th percentile, others might accept scores closer to the national average. In general, good SAT scores for colleges are those that are in the 75th percentile or higher for your schools. Such a score should elevate you well above the average SAT scores for your schools, ultimately allowing you to stand apart from other applicants. To find average SAT scores for colleges, we recommend perusing either our PrepScholar database or your schools’ official websites. Finally, to set an SAT goal score, just follow these three easy steps:
  • Step 1: Make a chart with all of the schools you’re applying to (excluding safety schools) and their 25th and 75th percentiles.
  • Step 2: Find SAT score information online by using either our database or your schools’ official websites. Record the 25th and 75th percentiles in your chart.
  • Step 3: Locate the highest 75th percentile score in your chart. This will be your SAT goal score, as it’s the one most likely to get you accepted to all the schools you’re applying to.

What’s Next?

Still curious about good SAT scores for colleges? Read all about average SAT scores to see how they vary for different groups of test takers, and learn what great, good, and poor SAT scores look like. Need additional help with setting an SAT goal score? Check out our step-by-step guide on how to set a target score for your schools. Ready to get the best SAT score you can get? With our completely customizable prep program, you can target your weaknesses and hone the skills you’ll need most for test day. We also offer a ton of expert SAT tips and tricks to help you get the score you need for college!]]>

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