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Articles / Preparing for College / Is My SAT Score "Good"?

Aug. 31, 2009

Is My SAT Score "Good"?

Question: Is 630 a good SAT Math score?

When it comes to SAT scores, "good" and "bad" are relative terms, depending on where you're applying.


There are lots of places where you can see the SAT norms for all schools on your current roster. The College View site is one of them. Click on the "Name" tab and type in a college that interests you. Then hit "Search." Choose the college's name on the list on the next screen. (Depending on the school you pick, it could be the only name on that list.)

You'll see a tab that says, "Admissions." There you'll find test score ranges (the middle 50 percent) and you can see where (or if) your 630 falls within that range. For instance, if you look up "University of Hartford," you'll know that their middle range for math is 480 - 590. So your 630 would be considered a very good score there. On the other hand, if you look up Duke University, you'll find a median range of 680 - 790. So your 630 is not a "good" score by Duke standards.

Most colleges put more weight on test scores than their admission officials are willing to admit. However, don't assess your admission chances strictly by the numbers. If your test results are below a college median, ask yourself if you have other traits that will be attractive to that school (e.g., Are you a recruited athlete? An underrepresented minority? Do you come from a disadvantaged or very unusual background? Do you have any unique talents?) If you answered "No" to all these questions with test results at the low end of the range as well, then your admission odds may not be so hot . But if you responded affirmatively, you may still be in the running, even when your SAT scores aren't especially "good."

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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