So, you just received your SAT or ACT scores and you're not sure whether you should celebrate or immediately register for the next test date.

Well, it all depends on the colleges you are considering. A 23 on the ACT or a 1800 on the SAT may be above average at one university but below average at another. The higher your score, the more options are open to you.

What Are Good New SAT Scores? March 2016 was the first administration of the New SAT with scores released in mid-May. Stay tuned! Our awesome research team is following the May score release closely.

good SAT scores and ACT scores

The Higher, the Better

The national average for the SAT is 1500. For the ACT, it's between 20 and 21.

If you are close to these averages you will likely be accepted into a considerable number of colleges and universities (as long as you have decent grades), but may not be considered at more selective schools. Above average SAT and ACT scores will improve your chances of getting into a more selective school.

Scores below an 1100 on the SAT or a 15 on ACT are considered low at just about any four-year college. You can overcome low scores with good grades or an outstanding application. But even if you're accepted by a four-year college, the school may advise or require you to take some remedial courses as a freshman.

What are Good Scores For YOUR Goals?

Not sure how you measure up? Most colleges publish admission data regarding the previous year's freshman class. Compare your scores with the average scores for the colleges on your list. You can also find score ranges and acceptance rates for many schools in our Best Colleges guidebook or in our online college profiles.

Sample College Profile

Test Scores

SAT Reading
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
530 - 630
SAT Math
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
530 - 660
SAT Writing
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
540 - 640
ACT Composite
25th-75th percentile (enrolled students)
24 - 28

Our school profiles list the 25th–75th percentile ranges for enrolled students. For the sample college above, composite ACT scores of 24 to 28 cover the middle 50% of current students. (Your composite ACT score is the average of your Math, English, Reading, and Science section scores).

Do your scores fall in the lower end, or even below, the school's average range? That school may be a long-shot (though still possible!). Do your scores fall well within the school's average range? That school could be a match!

Room for Improvement

Unless you pulled in a perfect 2400 or 36, you can always improve your score. Some students are confident that their numbers are high enough to get them into the college of their choice. But unless you're an honorary member of the admissions committee, you never know.

A good SAT score or ACT score can also help you snag additional scholarship money. Even if you have already been accepted to a college, you may want to consider taking the test again (say, in December or January of senior year) for that reason. Our college counselors can help you with testing plans and matching your scores to schools. 

Where do you stand?

Want to talk about YOUR SAT or ACT scores in more detail and figure out what comes next? We can help! Our SAT and ACT experts will go over your personal score report and help you determine what the next step should be.

Call 1-888-955-4600 for a FREE consultation.