What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

What is a Good SAT Score in 2019?

Is your SAT score enough to get you into your dream school?

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Many students sit for the SAT with a goal of achieving a particular score. Maybe they feel the need to hit a certain number to get accepted to their dream college. Or, perhaps they simply want to earn a specific score for bragging rights. Whatever the case, the definition of a good SAT score can vary from one person to the next (and from one school to the next).


So, what really constitutes a good SAT score in this day and age? In general, a good score is any one that enables you to get into your chosen college and pursue your academic goals. Additionally, solid SAT scores can help students qualify for private and institutional scholarships. Read on to learn about the different factors impacting what’s considered a good SAT score in 2019.


How Have Other Students Been Performing?


Without comparison, It’s hard to assess whether an SAT score is good. On the contrary, students have to look at how their peers are performing in order to evaluate their own scores. The College Board provides a chart showing SAT user percentiles based on various SAT scores. By looking at these numbers, you can get a strong sense of how your individual score compares to the national average. Additionally, evaluating your user percentile can give you an idea of how likely you are to be accepted at your dream school.

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SAT Score Percentiles for 2018

The below table shows SAT scores along with the average percentile of 2018 test takers who scored below that number. In general, the higher your SAT User percentile, the better your score is perceived to be by colleges and scholarship committees.


SAT Score SAT User Percentile**
800 10
880 20
940 29 (Score for 30 not provided)
1000 39 (Score for 40 not provided)
1050 49 (Score for 50 not provided)
1110 60
1170 70
1240 80
1340 90
1500-1600 99+


National Average Scores


Along with looking at percentiles, students can evaluate their performance by considering average national scores among SAT test takers. There are two required sections of the SAT: Math and Evidence-Based Reading. Each section is scored between 200 and 800, with 800 being the best possible score. Students also receive a total score, which is the sum of the Math and EBR scores; this sum ranges from 400 to 1600. (The Writing section is optional, and students who choose to take this component of the test receive three separate scores, each ranging from 1 to 4).


The College Board calculates the national averages for each year’s graduating class. As of 2018, the national average Evidence-Based Reading score was 536, and the average Math score was 531. That means 2018’s average total SAT score was 1068.


What SAT Score Is Required to Get Into a Good College?


The fact is that college admissions decisions aren’t based solely on students’ SAT scores. While most colleges list the average SAT scores for incoming freshmen, schools often admit students who scored lower based on other factors, such as their grades, essays, recommendation letters, and extracurriculars. On the other hand, there are also cases when even a higher-than-average SAT score won’t be enough to guarantee a student entry into their dream school.


It’s also worth noting that individuals may disagree about what constitutes a good college. After all, the best school for journalism majors isn’t necessarily the best one for aspiring engineers. To determine what qualifies as a good SAT score, start by evaluating what schools you hope to attend and then view your scores in this context. 


Additionally, students should note that what’s considered a good SAT score depends in part on their background and experience. Many college admissions teams already employ socioeconomic calculations to better evaluate SAT scores in context. This factor is likely to become increasingly relevant now that the College Board has announced the development of its new adversity score. This adjusted score, which strives to level the playing field for students applying to colleges, will reflect test takers’ family income, educational background, and neighborhood safety. While students won’t see this score, it will go to the colleges to which they’ve applied.


Is My Score Good Enough to Get Into My Dream School?


While there’s no way to be 100% certain that a particular SAT score will guarantee you a spot at a given school, you can get a sense of your odds by looking at the percentage of students in your score percentile that said school admits. For best results, choose a range of safety, target, and reach schools while keeping these percentiles in mind. For safety schools, a student’s SAT score should be equal to or better than 75% of admitted freshmen. For target schools, scores should fall in the 50% to 75% range. Your scores should be in the 25% bracket for reach, or dream, schools.


Want to know how your SAT score impacts your chances of acceptance to your dream schools? Our free Chancing Engine will not only help you predict your odds, but also let you know how you stack up against other applicants, and which aspects of your profile to improve. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to gain access to our Chancing Engine and get a jumpstart on your college strategy!

Short Bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.