ACT and SAT scores resized 600When juniors and seniors in high school begin eying college admissions requirements, the most important thing on their minds is the score. What are the average ACT or SAT scores for the school they want to get into?

Knowing the average can give students something to shoot for. The score varies for each school—but different types of schools usually have similar score requirements. As part of their admissions information, most schools will openly post the minimum score required to be admitted to the school. 

It is important to note that schools will often take the "total package" into consideration if a student is one or two points shy of the minimum required score. But it's also important to keep in mind that, to receive academic-based from the school, a student's score needs to be well above the minimum!  

For example, if a student has outstanding grades, a compelling admission essay, and has demonstrated leadership in school, then the admissions office may be willing to admit that student if his or her SAT or ACT scores fall slightly below the minimum requirement.

Even so, it's better not to depend on this possibility. If your student knows which schools he or she wants to send applications to, you can use this guide to determine what the score range is for that particular school.

Average SAT and ACT for Ivy League Schools

Ivy League schools remain the most competitive schools. And Ivy League schools don't merely look at the scores a student has received. Because the school admissions process is highly competitive, the admissions department will scrutinize all aspects of a student's application. 

On average, Ivy League schools expect a student to score within the 700s on reading, math, and writing. ACT scores should fall within the 30s on reading, math, and writing. Each university has its own minimum threshold, so be sure to read the school's admission guide to know exactly which scores would be required.

Average SAT and ACT for Non-Ivy League Private Universities

Although competition for non-Ivy League private universities may not be quite as fierce, these schools still maintain superior admission standards. These schools are highly selective and will also look at the student as a total package, taking into consideration each student's extracurricular activities, scholastic progress, and entrance essay when making the final choice.

For these universities, you will need to have an SAT score that falls between 650 and 750 on reading, writing, and math. Students need an ACT score between 27 and 35 on reading, writing, and math. Each school is slightly different; check the school's admission guide to see where its minimum threshold falls.

Average SAT and ACT Scores for Public Universities

Public universities see the highest number of applicants and it can be difficult for students to stand apart from the crowd unless they are well prepared. This means a student must have good SAT or ACT scores, a good entrance essay, letters of recommendation, and a good scholastic record. It also helps if the student has shown development as a leader within his or her school.  

Students who are from out of state may need to possess even higher credentials than those who live in state, so that must be kept in mind as well.

On average, students need to have SAT scores ranging from the 550s to the 700s in math, reading, and writing. For the ACT, scores of 24 or 25 or above in math, reading, and writing are good targets to shoot for. These scores vary widely by state: some states are happy with 19s, and will give scholarships for 25s. As with private institutions, it's important to check each individual university's requirements.


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