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 Ranking School Median SAT Scores
1 Princeton University 1430-1570
2 Harvard University 1460-1590
3 Columbia University 1450-1580
3 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 1490-1570
3 University of Chicago 1480-1580
3 Yale University 1420-1590
7 Stanford University 1390-1540
8 Duke University 1490-1570
8 University of Pennsylvania 1420-1560
10 Johns Hopkins University 1460-1580
10 Northwestern University 1420-1560
12 California Institute of Technology (CalTech) 1530-1590
12 Dartmouth College 1430-1560
14 Brown University 1410-1570
14 Vanderbilt University 1400-1550
16 Cornell University 1390-1550
16 Rice University 1490-1580
18 University of Notre Dame 1370-1520
19 University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA) 1240-1490
19 Washington University in St. Louis 1470-1570


Liberal Arts Colleges

U.S. News Ranking School Median SAT Scores
1 Williams College 1400-1570
2 Amherst College 1430-1560
3 Swarthmore College 1380-1540
3 Wellesley College 1310-1500
5 Bowdoin College 1290-1510
5 Carleton College 1360-1530
5 Middlebury College 1320-1510
5 Pomona College 1330-1510
9 Claremont McKenna College 1340-1510
10 Davidson College 1310-1470

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.