When the SAT or ACT scores come out, the first question we hear is “is that a good SAT or ACT score?” This is a tough question to answer because “good” is very relative.

Before I answer that question for a parent or student, I always ask to what schools is the student planning to apply? This is important when starting test prep so that the student has a clear idea of his or her goal score. Here are a few of the most popular schools in Virginia and the SAT scores of the middle 50 percent or the average of accepted students:

College Name Mid-50% SAT Mid 50% ACT Avg GPA


31-34 4.27
Virginia Tech 1100-1320 24-29 3.97
VCU 1070-1250 21-27 3.63
JMU 1110-1250 23-28 3.14
Radford 910-1060 19-24 3.24

Another question to ask is what else do you bring to the table as an applicant? For example, an athlete that is being recruited by a school may score at the lower end of the accepted SAT scores but be accepted since the school may weigh athletic ability against the less than stellar SAT scores. Similarly, if you had a challenging year during your freshman year of high school and your GPA is not as high as you’d like, you may want to show that your SAT scores are above the average accepted scores to show the effort that you are now putting into your studies and your readiness for college level work.

The bottom line is there are many factors in college admissions and SAT or ACT scores are just one measurement that admissions counselors will use to determine whether or not they grant you admissions. Set a goal based on the schools to which you plan to apply. For highly competitive schools, like UVA or William and Mary, shoot for 1400+. For moderately competitive schools, like VT or JMU, shoot for 1200-1300+. For less competitive schools, like Radford, shoot for 1000-1100+.

Want to talk in more detail about your specific situation? Give us a call.

*Note: Data table updated on 4/4/19, click here for a list of all Virginia schools.