How to search colleges based on your SAT/ACT score?

Once you have your SAT/ACT scores or projected scores, you are one step closer on the road to college. While you may already have an idea of your dream school, it is likely that you are still trying to decide on what the future holds.

Before you even step foot on campus, the internet can be a great tool in helping you narrow down the seemingly countless choices of colleges.

College Search Tools

Once you have your SAT/ACT scores, you can put them into an online college search tool. Three of the most effective are Big Future, College View, and College Data. A good college search tool will have many nuanced filters, rather than just a generic list of courses and scores. Each of these will give you slightly different results, so it is worth taking your time searching.

The aim of these tools is to create a shortlist of colleges and courses that you can begin your more in-depth research on. While they may not exactly forecast your perfect college, they can eliminate some unsuitable ones.

Majors Offered

By now it is likely that you have a rough idea of what career or industry you would like to go into. For this, there is probably a specific major required. Using the Majors Offered filter on the college search tools is a great way to differentiate between an Engineering focused school or an Art-focused school, for example.


Hate the cold? Totally okay! Your dream school isn’t your dream school if it is in the middle of a snow zone. By filtering your college search by location, you can pinpoint some options on a certain coast or even in your home state.

Whether you prefer a rural, suburban, or city environment is important to consider, just as dorm or campus housing availability is.

Sports & Activities

While the study is important, college is about so much more than just your classes. Perhaps you are a star athlete or have a love for theatre? These are important factors in searching for a college, just like your SAT/ACT score. Remember, college is supposed to be a holistic experience, not just about what school looks good on paper.

Academic Credit

While your SAT/ACT scores may not be quite what you were hoping for to get into your dream school, there are sometimes other factors that affect getting into college. Perhaps you’ve taken AP classes, or have already earned some college credits to be transferred. It’s important to take these into consideration when searching for a college- don’t rule any school out too soon!

Price and Payment Support

It is no lie that college is expensive, but the wide range of costs can be confusing and prohibitive. Whether you have a certain budget in mind, are looking for an estimate to figure out a student loan, or are looking to research tuition support programs it is important to factor these in right from the beginning of your search.

While no search engine can tell you your perfect college straight away, once you have your SAT/ACT scores, it may be easier to start narrowing down your choice of colleges. And remember: have fun! College is an exciting part of your life and research is just the first step.


Alice Moore