What Does Your College SAT Score Mean?

Categories: Admissions Advice

SATToday, the students who took the March SAT will finally be able to refresh the CollegeBoard website and see their scores.

But now everybody’s wondering, “What does my score mean?”

According to College BoardSAT scores are on a scale from 200-800, with additional subscores for the essay (ranging from 2-12) and for multiple-choice writing questions (on a 20-80 scale). You probably knew that already, though.

So what you really want to know is what these scores mean to college admissions?

Here’s what CollegeBoard.com says about your score:

Your SAT scores tell college admissions how you did compared with other students who took the test. For example, if you scored close to the mean or average — about 500 on SAT critical reading and 500 on SAT mathematics — admissions staff would know that you scored as well as about half of the students who took the test nationally.

But this is also probably old news to you–of course your SAT score will help admissions officers see where you stand among your peers.  You want to know what your SAT score means for your college search: Where can you get in? What’s a safety school? What’s a reach school?

While an SAT score can help you navigate your college options, it’s not the end-all be-all of your college career.  If you score kinda low the first time, don’t get down on yourself, tear out all of your hair and announce to the world that you’re never going to get into college. Just don’t.

Do, however, take time going over your exam.  Use your resources at school and online to see what you can improve. If there’s a will, there’s a way.  Find the option that fits your goals and financial capabilities. There are SAT tutors, classes, books and even very helpful online products to help you increase your score. Then, take the test again.

So after you get a score you’re content with, what can you do with it?

Option #1: Tape your score to the wall beside your bed so you have something beautiful to wake up to every morning.

Option #2: Apply to college.

Since most of you will probably opt for #2, you should find where you score fits into different colleges.  Every college has a different average of accepted students’ SAT scores, so it can get pretty confusing. Making a Cappex profile will make this process super simple by showing you your chances at each school based on historical data.

And now that you found that colleges you want to apply to, your’e probably asking, “but how much of admissions in based on the SAT score?”

Again, for each college it varies.  One college might value the SAT dramatically more than another. If you’re super curious, speaking with college admissions departments will give you a better idea about what they’re looking for.

While it’s difficult to speak for all schools, we’re gonna go ahead and put an umbrella statement out there because the questions about SAT scores are pouring down on us: There’s more to your college application than your SAT score.  A score can show aspects of your intelligence, but it barely cuts the surface of a student’s personality, wisdom or drive.

Original Post Date: March 31st, 2011

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