SAT Scores and College Admission Requirements

The SAT is a standard college admission test that indicates a student’s knowledge in the subjects of reading, writing and mathematics. This test demonstrates for college admissions representatives what a student knows and how that knowledge is applied in practice. While other factors such as grade point average, extracurricular activities or volunteerism are also considered, most colleges and universities also use the SAT scores to make informed decisions about the admission of a student. In fact, the most likely predictors of college success are a high grade point average coupled with high SAT scores.

College admission requirements for SAT scores vary from college to college. Many community colleges do not require SAT testing. Most major colleges and universities, however, do. The highest possible score is 2400, but this is rarely achieved even by the highest ranking students. The SAT, as stated, is a three part exam covering critical reading, writing and math. The average score for each of these subjects is approximately 500. That gives the average student a total score of 1500.

So, how does this compare with college admission requirements? Auburn College – for example – requires a critical reading score of 500 to 600, a mathematics score of 520 to 620 and a writing score of 490 to 590. This would fall within the average range. UCLA is a little more stringent, requiring a critical reading score of 570 to 680, a mathematics score of 610 to 740 and a writing score of 580 to 710. Harvard University requires scores that are higher still. Admissions looks for a critical reading score of 690 to 790, a mathematics score of 700 to 800 and a writing score of 690 to 790.

SAT Scores for College AdmissionsSAT Scores

The more prestigious the school, the more selective it often is in requiring higher test scores. Higher test scores can be achieved through hard work and diligent study. The areas tested on the SAT are subjects that are taught in high school classrooms around the country. Working hard throughout high school will not only improve GPA, but will also build an excellent knowledge base from which to draw during SAT testing. In addition, practice exercises such as the PSAT can give students a glimpse at the timing and format of the SAT test. Finally, there are a number of online and print tools to prepare students for taking the SAT, so assistance is never far. Students should prepare thoroughly, because excellent scores offer more collegiate options.

Many students elect to take the SAT more than once in order to ensure the best possible score. Late in the junior year of high school is when the first testing generally takes place. This allows students to become familiar with questions and testing procedures. By the fall of a student’s senior year – having become familiar with the subjects, questions and testing procedures – many students elect to take the test a second time to improve upon the previous score. By this time, most students are familiar with the college admission requirements of their selected schools and are prepared to meet higher testing standards.