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What is a Good SAT Score?

In the intricate world of college admissions, the perennial question that looms over high school students and parents is, “What is considered a good SAT score?” The answer, however, is far from a simple number. It depends on your academic profile, college list, and intended major. In this article, Insight Education Head of Counseling Purvi Mody will delve into the nuanced assessment of SAT scores and share her insights into what’s a “good” SAT score.


1. You Academic Profile and GPA Matter

Good SAT scores can add to your GPA and convey academic readiness to college admissions officesYour SAT score reflects your academic rigor. When you decide whether to re-take the SAT or submit your score, consider elements like your high school curriculum and GPA. If your SAT score indicates a stronger academic readiness than your GPA, then it is a good SAT score. A student who has challenged themselves with a rigorous academic coursework, excelled in extracurricular pursuits, and received glowing recommendations might not require an exceptionally high SAT score to shine as a strong candidate. Conversely, a less robust profile may need to submit a strong SAT score to bolster their application.


2. Your College List and the School’s Testing Policies

The SAT score expectations differ from one college to another. It’s paramount to research the admission policies of the institutions on your radar. Are they test-optional, test-flexible, or do they specify certain score requirements? Some universities ask students not to submit their SAT scores unless it is 1500 or higher. Some college admissions offices must review SAT scores if it is submitted.


common data set showing ACT and SAT scores submitted and score distributionIn the quest to define a “good” SAT score, it is imperative to understand how your preferred colleges assess test scores in their unique admissions processes. A good resource is the Common Data Set. If you search “(College name) common data set,” you will find information on SAT score ranges, the percentage of students who submitted test scores, and whether the admissions office considers test scores an evaluative criterion. A thorough research can offer valuable insights into each college’s approach to standardized testing, and whether or not you should share your SAT with this school.

Check out our list on 2023- 2024 Test Optional Colleges and Score Reporting Policies


3. Your Major Choice Plays a Role

The choice of your major also plays a pivotal role in evaluating the significance of your SAT score. For instance, if you intend to major in Engineering or Business, you want to share a good SAT math score with the admissions offices. In contrast, liberal arts colleges may favor a strong score in the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) section. When we help our students decide which school they will submit their SAT scores to, we factor in their declared major choices and their test scores relative to their peers and to the applicant pool.


Should You Submit Your SAT Scores?

With the evolving landscape of college admissions, students often face a conundrum: whether to submit their SAT scores or choose test-optional. Here are some key considerations:


1. Check College Websites:

Visit the official websites of the colleges you intend to apply to. Most institutions explicitly state their test score submission requirements. The admissions office should be your primary source of information.


2. Tailor Your College Application to Each University:

As college admissions become more competitive, customize your application to every college with more thought and care. It is common for students to submit their SAT scores to one school but not the other. At Insight Education, we holistically assess your SAT score within the broader context of your college application. Does the test score add positive data to your profile? Will the college you are applying to view your SAT test score favorably? Is your score competitive in the context of your high school and the rest of the applicant pool?


3. Score Improvement:

If you are a sophomore or a junior, you may plan to take the SAT multiple times. Set a goal and study plan for yourself. If you are unsure about taking the SAT, the ACT, or neither, we recommend taking full-length diagnostic exams before deciding your testing strategy.

Learn more about ACT vs. SAT: Which Test Should You Take?


4. A Holistic Approach:

Remember that most colleges assess applicants holistically. Your GPA, academic history, college essays, recommendation letters, and extracurricular activities all play pivotal roles in the admissions process. Focus on building a comprehensive, powerful narrative of you and your uniqueness will maximize your chance in college admissions.




In summary, there is no magic number for a “good” SAT score. It hinges on your profile, college list, and intended major. As the college admissions landscape adapts to changing times, many institutions now offer flexibility concerning ACT or SAT score submission. Ultimately, your decision should be rooted in a thorough evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses as an applicant. Your SAT score is merely a piece of the puzzle, so ensure that your complete application paints a compelling picture of who you are and what you will contribute.

Still unsure about your SAT score? Contact us today to schedule a 1-hour personalized college planning session or a diagnostic exam to see where you stand!

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