I used to tell people, “A good SAT score is the one that gets you into College of your choice.”

What I really meant was, “do your research and see what type of scores the colleges on your list are asking for.”

Then there are the families that say, “1550!” What a number! More importantly, what a specific number. Not 1540? Not 1530?

I get it, 1550 is beautiful.

It’s close to perfect without being perfect. Its high enough that everyone will respect it, but not so high that everyone expects Harvard.

Well, my answer to the “What is a good SAT score?” is still the same, “The one that gets you into the college you want to attend.” But this time, I’ll help you do the research.

When you look at your college list, look up the average SAT score for each college.

You’ll be presented with two numbers, the range of scores the school accepted.

Shoot for a score that is in the middle or more towards the higher score.

That’s it.

For example, the University of Michigan has 1380 and 1550 (there goes that 1550 again.) on its website. What that means is, if you can get in the middle, roughly 1470, you have a good shot.

For the university of Chicago (a test optional school) admitted students have a score range of 1020 – 1600. But their middle 50% was 1500-1560. So in order to have a shot, getting as close to the 1500 as possible.

By the way, If the University of Chicago doesn’t consider the SATs in their admission process, then why is it that their 50th percentile is so high? Could there be a correlation? Higher SAT scores increase the likelihood of admission? Or do students with higher SAT scores then to be the students who are most likely to get into Chicago?

You can also do this with your GPA . Many schools post the range of GPA for their incoming class.

Here is a list of colleges and their SAT/ACT scores.

Click here to download our Parent’s Guide to the SAT and ACT