SAT scores indicate which college is the best academic fit for students

Madeleine Katz, Online Editor

Some students spend months studying, analyzing PSAT scores, and learning tips and tricks to ace the test. Others walk in on test day, not knowing that they aren’t allowed to use mechanical pencils and scrambling to find a calculator. Taking the SAT is an important step towards applying to college, and SAT scores are an important indicator as to which college is the best academic fit for students.

After spending three hours on a tedious test and a few weeks of waiting, test-takers can find their scores on the College Board website. Scores fall on a range from 400 to 1600 and and are usually a major factor as to whether students are accepted or denied to the colleges they apply to during senior year.

Scores above a 1400 mean that students are prepared for a rigorous and high ranked college including Ivy League schools. Along with a high GPA and a few extracurriculars, students with scores above a 1400 could have a good chance at the highest ranked universities in the United States.

A 1300 to 1399 score typically means that students are prepared for high ranked schools, such as Florida’s top ranked colleges and universities, but are not quite at Ivy League level. Most of the colleges ranked as the top 100 universities in the United States by US News accept students in this score range. According to Prep Scholar, the average composite SAT score of the accepted student at University of Florida falls under this range.

Most students who score a 1200 to 1299 are considered for in state schools such as Florida State University and University of Central Florida as well as out of state schools, some of which are ranked above 100 on the US News list of best domestic universities.

Students with scores between 1100 and 1199 have a chance at acceptance to schools such as Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University, and other schools both in state and out of state.

With scores below a 1100, it is harder to get accepted to most colleges and universities, but not impossible. High GPAs and extracurricular activities can make up for a lower SAT score in some cases. Community college is always an option for students with lower scores who are interested in getting a degree.

It’s important to keep in mind that the SAT can be taken multiple times and is superscored by most colleges, meaning that only the highest score in each section of the SAT is counted as part of the composite score that they consider.

A low SAT score doesn’t mean that a student is restricted to the colleges that generally accept students within a certain score range. Students who feel that the SAT does not well represent their abilities, can opt to take the ACT which is a similar standardized test that colleges also consider and is comparable to the SAT.

Students who are not the best standardized test takers are still not completely out of luck if they don’t get the score they hope for on the SAT or ACT. Select top ranked colleges are test optional or test flexible, so that students can choose not to send in standardized test scores at all, or allow students to choose to submit scores other than their SAT and ACT scores, such as AP scores or SAT subject tests. University of Chicago, which is ranked as the third best university in the United States by US News does not require applicants to submit test scores at all.

For students who are interested in higher education, the SAT can be extremely important but there are alternative ways to qualify for colleges and universities. It is imperative that high school juniors research the schools they plan on applying to senior year in order to make sure that they fulfill all the requirements and that it would be a reasonable fit.