Many students want the answer to these questions, and although there are certain numbers that will definitely impress every time, the answer depends on where you are applying.
Top colleges will accept either test, and what constitutes an acceptable score varies from school to school. However, the NCES (National Center for Education Statistics) collects data directly from colleges, and reports on the score range of the middle 50% of students admitted in the previous year. Let’s have a look at the most recent admissions data from the NCES of some of the top U.S. colleges (in alphabetical order):[table id=5 /]
Looking at this table, you can see that if you’re aiming for the most competitive schools, you should be trying for scores in the 700s for the SAT and the 30s for the ACT.
That being said, each college has different expectations. Some colleges do not require the SAT or ACT at all. To see what a good SAT or ACT score is for your top choices, check out the College Navigator resource on the NCES website, enter the college you are searching for, and have a look at the ‘admissions’ tab under its info.
Keep in mind that the middle 50% of students who were accepted had scores in this range, but the other 50% had scores that were higher or lower. Take an ACT or SAT practice test to determine where you stand relative to your dream school, and other schools of interest, and then make a study plan to help reach your personal best score!