What is a good SAT score?

Each student taking the SAT wonders about what score would be a good one. Is 2100 good? Or would only a perfect 2400 be considered a good score? However, instead of asking what score is a good one, perhaps the more important question is to ask, “Which college do you want to go to?” Different colleges have different SAT score ranges amongst their admitted applicants. Some colleges have an average admitted SAT score of 2250, whereas other colleges have an average admitted SAT score of 1950. There really isn’t one set ‘good’ SAT score. This is the first thing any student must remember.

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[Continue reading to find out what a good SAT score is…]

Which school are you aiming for? Most college counselors advice students to break down the colleges that they are applying to into three categories: reach schools, possible schools, and safety schools. Reach schools are schools that are extremely difficult to get into. Often, these schools receive tens of thousands of applications from exceptional students and the admissions decisions are not guaranteed even if one is a high-achieving student. Possible schools are schools that, although difficult to get into, often have a higher admissions rate and have admitted students with similar profiles to yours. Lastly, safety schools are usually schools that have the highest admissions rate amongst the three and you have confidence of being able to get in easily.

After making a list of reach, possible, and safety schools, you will have a better idea of what a ‘good’ SAT score looks like to you. To make a range of the SAT score that you might aim for, look up the average test scores for admitted students on their admissions website. Of course, you will have to remember that these scores are simply averages. Use them wisely in preparing for your SAT, but do not take them as an absolute admissions target.

Is a perfect 2400 enough for any school? Every year, a few hundred students receive a perfect SAT score and another few hundred students receive a perfect ACT score. Yet, these same students are not automatically admitted into the universities of their choice simply based on their SAT scores. Remember: any college application consists of multiple sections. The scores you just looked up are simply one part of the entire college admission process. The Common Application essay, supplementary essays, short questions, leadership and academic achievements, teacher recommendations, and more, form the rest of the admission process. Therefore, it is important that you view your SAT score in the right perspective.

Work hard on your SAT, but do not put too much pressure on yourself because your SAT score is just one part of your application. Having the right mindset as you prepare for the SAT is an important part of the process!

About the author: Shimin Ooi is a junior in Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs department. She has a strong interest in economic and health policy and has recently returned from a semester of study at Hertford College, Oxford. In high school, her extensive research on standardized tests helped her achieve a near perfect SAT score and perfect scores on each of her SAT Subject tests. Through these blog posts, she hopes to help others achieve test-taking success as well!

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