fbpx Skip to main content

The Middle 50%: What’s a Good Score for the Colleges on Your List?

By September 14, 2018September 17th, 2018College Admission Requirements

The best way to see if your test scores may be competitive for your top choices is to look at two key portions of the score range for accepted applicants to each college. Approximately 75% of first-year students at a school score at or below the 75th percentile score. Approximately 25% of enrolled students score at or below the 25th percentile. Between those scores, you’ll find the middle 50% of enrolled students’ scores. This can help you put your test performance into context.

While no score can guarantee you admission to a specific school, a score above the school’s 75th percentile is competitive. Your time would probably be best spent improving other areas of your application, like essays or even your level of demonstrated interest. If, on the other hand, your scores are below the 25th percentile, you might benefit from further prep and testing.

Below are 25th and 75th percentile scores for a sampling of colleges that represent a wide range of middle 50% scores. For a more comprehensive overview, check out the Compass 360, a compilation of score brackets from 360 popular colleges across the United States. The Compass 360 also identifies dozens of test-optional and test-flexible schools.

As you can see, the variation between colleges is quite substantial. The real answer to “What’s a good score?” depends heavily on where you plan to apply.

Wondering how your Subject Test scores stack up? See our blog post on SAT subject test scores!

The Compass Team

Compass is one of the world's leading providers of in-home and online, live one-on-one tutoring for high school students aspiring to attend selective colleges.


  • charles says:

    My son is a senior, he scored 1500 on PSAT, 1560 on SAT and 36 on ACT, being an Asian, what’s his chance on Ivy colleges

    • Art Sawyer says:

      A test score is only one factor — and not the most important one. The important thing in your son’s case is that his scores make him a competitive applicant at any college. But he will be competing with many other high-scoring students.

Leave a Reply