What is a good SAT score for college admission?

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SAT reasoning test referred to simply as the SAT is a standardized test used in the United States for college admission. SAT is owned by the College Board and administered by the Educational Testing Service. A good SAT score can boost your chances of getting into the college of your dreams but the question is what is considered a good SAT score?

SAT is graded on a 2400 point scale combining the points from its three main sections: Mathematics, Critical reading and Writing. Each section is 800 point each. Scores on the SAT usually range from 600-2400. A very important factor in scoring on the SAT is the time at which you take the SAT. Some students take it as early as sophomore year while most take it during their junior year or after.

A good SAT score for college admission depends primarily on the college you intend to apply to. Some colleges don’t have a very high SAT score requirement where 800 would do the job while other more competent colleges would ask for a 2100. Another thing that matters is how well your score compares with the scores of other fellow students or students in your State. You can find scores required for specific schools on the internet or through books. Some important sources for score information are the College Board, COLLEGEdata and Princeton Review guidebook. You can also check the websites of the colleges you intend to apply to for the SAT scores.

What is your goal?

When determining a good SAT score for college admission for yourself or your son/daughter you should know what college you are targeting. Do you wanna get into the big leagues like Harvard or just a state school will do? Remember, when determining your goal college you can’t be vague like maybe Harvard or WWU or maybe some other school. If you don’t set your target right you won’t have the right motivation for reaching it. 

Make a list of colleges you intend to apply to. Now determine the requirements of their admission process. Not every college looks for an exceptional SAT score, sometimes their focus is your high school grade point average and sometimes extra-curricular activities tip the scale. Look through their average SAT scores for previous years. This will give you the rightful idea for what you should be aiming at. Schools like Harvard would require high SAT scores for admission possibly 2100 or above while some state schools will accept students with average scores like in 1500s. Again, it all depends on the college you wish to apply to.

You can’t go wrong with a high score.

Whatever college you choose to apply to, a high SAT score will definitely improve your chances of getting admitted. You can’t go wrong with a high score. If your score is above 2000 bravo! The list of prospective colleges is endless. On the other hand if your score is below 1500 you might be looking at limited options. As I said above, it all depends on the colleges you are planning to apply to. All the average SAT scores fall around 1500 which gives you a decent amount of college options and lower scores narrow down your choices considerably. You can always re-take the test and improve your score but before making that decision make sure you understand your dream college’s requirements.

Average scores.

As I mentioned above a good SAT score is different for every college. To give you an idea here’s a list of average SAT scores of some schools in the United States:

Harvard: Math section: 710-790, Critical Reading: 700-800.

Georgetown: Math: 660-750, Reading: 650-750

Yale: Math: 710-790, Reading: 700-800

University of Washington: Math: 580-700, Reading: 520-650.

The Writing section is relatively new to SAT so its scores have not been considered by many colleges yet.

You can find the whole list at powerscore.com.

SAT isn’t the only requirement.

While determining your chances of getting into the top colleges you should keep in mind that a good SAT score isn’t the only requirement of a college application. Many colleges also take into account your high school record, your grade point average, your extra-curricular activities, the quality of your college essay or whether you made the honor roll or not. The requirements vary from college to college so you need a thoroughly go through their website to determine your chances.

Even if your SAT score is not that good, you can still stand a good chance for your college admission if other requirements of the college application are fulfilled satisfactorily. So if you have a 1400 on SAT but have an excellent high school grade point average and extra-curricular record, this can balance your college application to even out your chances.

Selective scores.

SAT is primarily composed of three sections: Mathematics, Writing and Critical Reading. Each section has maximum 800 points make the maximum total score: 2400. While most colleges in the United States consider a general SAT score some are more selective. For example some colleges would not take into account your score in the Writing Section and instead focus on the scores you get in the remaining two sections i.e Mathematics and Critical Reading. Likewise, some colleges just require an impressive score in the maths section. So, you should set your goal according to your college’s preference.

A good SAT score is relative.

Depending on your choice of school, a good SAT score can vary. The very important question you need to ask yourself is which college? Also take into consideration other requirements of your college application, this will help you determine whether your SAT score is good enough or not.


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