This month, with many high school juniors receiving their first college testing results, "The Dean" has been flooded with queries that ask, "How good is a PSAT Selection Index of ______"? And the numbers have been all over the map: 220, 180, 130, 103 and 85. A variation on that theme was, "Is a 79 in math a good score?" or "Should I be happy with a 78 in Critical Reading?" As my 12-year-old son would say, "Ya think??" ;-)
I'm sorry. I don't mean to be snide. I realize that many first-timers could use a Cal Tech degree just to interpret the score reports. Moreover, "good" scores are relative. What might be considered a strong showing for a so-so student may seem mediocre to a very able one. Likewise, "good" or "bad" scores will depend on how high an applicant is aiming. What passes muster at Slippery Rock might not wow admission folks at Stanford.