What Is a Good SAT Score for the Ivy League?

What SAT score do you need for the Ivy League? Learn about average SAT scores for these top schools and how important test scores are for admission.

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by Stefanie Grodman

Updated August 15, 2022

Reviewed by Lonnie Woods III

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What Is a Good SAT Score for the Ivy League?


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of institutions — including all eight Ivy League universities — adopted temporary test-optional policies for students applying for admission in fall 2020. And many colleges and universities continue to make standardized tests optional for students applying in 2022-23 and even 2023-24.

These policy changes have given learners with Ivy League aspirations unprecedented flexibility. Prospective students can now evaluate whether to include their scores. To determine what a good SAT score is for Ivy League admissions, students should consider how their scores compare to the average and median SAT scores.

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How Important Are SAT Scores for Ivy League Schools?

Ivy League schools often use a holistic approach when assessing applicants. While high test scores reflect well on transferable skills like reading comprehension and math ability, they're just one of many metrics that elite colleges consider.

Admissions officers also take grades, extracurriculars, athletics, essays, and work experience into account to gain more meaningful insight into prospective students' capabilities.

For this reason, earning a perfect SAT score will not guarantee admission. Students with perfect scores must still compete with other applicants who've earned perfect or near-perfect scores. Pairing high test scores with other markers of academic excellence allows applicants to stand out from other qualified candidates.

Average Ivy League SAT Scores in 2021

The table below illustrates the middle 50% of accepted students' SAT scores, or the range of scores from the 25th percentile to the 75th percentile. These scores pertain to students admitted in fall 2021, or the class of 2025, unless otherwise noted.

School SAT Middle 50% Scores Acceptance Rate
Brown University 1480-1560 5.5%
Columbia University 1510-1560 3.9%
Cornell University 1450-1540 8.7%
Dartmouth College 1440-1560* 6.2%
Harvard University 1460-1580* 5.0%
Princeton University 1450-1570 4.4%
University of Pennsylvania 1490-1560 5.9%
Yale University 1460-1580* 4.6%
Average of All Ivies 1468-1564 5.5%

*Indicates data for fall 2020 enrollees

When preparing for the SAT, students applying to Ivy League colleges should aim to score in the 75th percentile, or the highest end of the middle 50%. Since these institutions have exceptionally low acceptance rates, earning scores that exceed the majority of admitted students' is an effective goal for those looking to leverage their test scores.

Do All Ivy League Schools Require SAT Scores?

Because of disruptions to testing procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many highly selective programs do not require students to submit test scores. All eight Ivy League universities will maintain their test-optional policies for the 2022-23 application cycle, though these changes may not apply to student-athletes or transfer students.

For some students, eliminating testing requirements presents major advantages. Standardized test prep can be a costly and time-consuming investment. Even so, high SAT scores still reflect students' credentials and abilities. Learners should not dismiss the opportunity to bolster their applications by taking the SAT.

Since test scores may not be required, applicants must compare their scores with the average SAT score and strategize whether submitting their results will be an asset or a hindrance.

In general, you should submit your test scores to test-optional schools if they exceed the median scores. You should not, however, submit scores that fall below the middle 50% (i.e., the 25th percentile).


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BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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