high school student prepping for the sat

One of the most common questions about the SAT is, “What is a good SAT score?” Well, the answer may not be the one you’re looking for. The truth is that a “good” SAT score depends on how you define “good.” After all, if your goal is to earn admission to Yale, a “good” score will be significantly higher than it would be if your goal is to earn admission to the University of Connecticut.

To determine what “good” score will be for you, you first need to decide on a handful of potential colleges where you’d like to apply. For each college, you should determine the median SAT scores. The median SAT scores tell us where the middle 50% of previously admitted students scored.

For example, at the University of Connecticut, the middle 50% of admitted students for the class of 2022 scored between 1210 and 1390.

The median SAT scores give us some idea of what a student needs to score in order to be competitive for admission at a certain college. So, for a student hoping to earn admission to UConn, we might say that a “good” score falls at the top end of that median range – a student scoring 1300 to 1390 will have a good chance for admission, assuming that his grades, extracurriculars, and essays also stack up. A “great” score would fall above the median range – a student scoring above 1390 would have a great chance for admission (again, assuming that grades and other factors are similarly impressive).

One excellent resource for determining the median SAT scores at a college is the College Board’s Big Future website. We’ve also compiled recent test score data for some top colleges here.*

SAT Scores at Top Colleges

National Universities

U.S. News RankingSchoolMedian SAT Scores
1Princeton University1430-1570
2Harvard University1460-1590
3Columbia University1450-1580
3Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)1490-1570
3University of Chicago1480-1580
3Yale University1420-1590
7Stanford University1390-1540
8Duke University1490-1570
8University of Pennsylvania1420-1560
10Johns Hopkins University1460-1580
10Northwestern University1420-1560
12California Institute of Technology (CalTech)1530-1590
12Dartmouth College1430-1560
14Brown University1410-1570
14Vanderbilt University1400-1550
16Cornell University1390-1550
16Rice University1490-1580
18University of Notre Dame1370-1520
19University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA)1240-1490
19Washington University in St. Louis1470-1570


Liberal Arts Colleges

U.S. News RankingSchoolMedian SAT Scores
1Williams College1400-1570
2Amherst College1430-1560
3Swarthmore College1380-1540
3Wellesley College1310-1500
5Bowdoin College1290-1510
5Carleton College1360-1530
5Middlebury College1320-1510
5Pomona College1330-1510
9Claremont McKenna College1340-1510
10Davidson College1310-1470

Prepping for a Good SAT Score

Hopefully, you’ve already started your SAT prep, regardless of knowing what score you need for the college you are aiming for. If not, you need to develop an SAT prep plan to score as high as possible. Regardless of what the median scores are, you want to set yourself apart from the many other applicants, and having a higher SAT score will help with that. The best way to prep is with an SAT practice test. The more you practice, the more familiar you’ll become with the format as we well as improve on your information retention. If you want a more guided and personalized SAT prep program, there are always options like C2 Education.

*All ranking and score data based on the 2018 admission cycle.