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What are good SAT scores? Do you have the SAT scores you need to get into your top choice schools? This article explains the relationship between college admissions and SAT scores.

SAT scores are just one of many criteria used by colleges to make admissions decisions. Nevertheless, their importance shouldn’t be underestimated. As much as admissions officers say they take an open-minded and holistic approach to their decisions, SAT scores can make or break an application. And let’s face it — it’s easier to compare numerical data than it is to decide whether a semester in France should be ranked higher than a state soccer championship.

Also, schools usually make their SAT data public, and they know that their reputations depend upon high numbers. A college won’t be considered “highly selective” or “elite” if its students have an average SAT math score of 470.

So what is a good SAT score? The exam consists of three parts: Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing. The scores from each section can range from 200 to 800, so the best possible total score is 2400. The average score for each section is roughly 500, so the average total score is about 1500.

Very few students get a perfect SAT score, even those at the country’s top colleges. The list below shows the middle range of SAT scores for different schools. The middle 50% of admitted students fell within these numbers. Keep in mind that 25% of students who were admitted scored below the lower numbers listed here.

Finally, you’ll see that some of the school profiles include the critical reading and math scores, but not the writing scores. This is because the writing part of the exam is still new, and many schools do not yet use it in their admissions decisions. We’re likely to see that change in the next couple years as colleges figure out the relationship between the writing score and academic success.

Here are some of SAT scores for top schools

Auburn (Main Campus)

  • Critical Reading: 520 – 640
  • Mathematics: 540 – 660
  • Writing: 510 – 620

Carleton

  • Critical Reading: 660 – 760
  • Mathematics: 660 – 740
  • Writing: 670 – 750

Duke

  • Critical Reading: 660 – 760
  • Mathematics: 680 – 780
  • Writing: 660 – 760

Harvard

  • Critical Reading: 690 – 780
  • Mathematics: 690 – 790
  • Writing: 690 – 780

MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

  • Critical Reading: 650 – 760
  • Mathematics: 720 – 800
  • Writing: 660 – 760

Middlebury

  • Critical Reading: 640 – 730
  • Mathematics: 650 – 740
  • Writing: 650 – 740

Pomona

  • Critical Reading: 710 – 780
  • Mathematics: 690 – 770
  • Writing: 690 – 770

Stanford

  • Critical Reading: 660 – 760
  • Mathematics: 680 – 780
  • Writing: 670 – 760

UCLA

  • Critical Reading: 560 – 680
  • Mathematics: 590 – 720
  • Writing: 580 – 700

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