Average SAT Score for Ivy League

Average SAT Score for Ivy League: What You Need to Know

SAT scores are crucial in college applications, especially when applying to prestigious institutions like Ivy League schools. 

The SAT, a standardized college readiness exam, has two main parts: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, each with a top score of 800. A perfect SAT score is 1600.

These scores are expressed as percentiles, indicating the proportion of test-takers scoring lower than the assessed person. For example, a 75th percentile score suggests that the individual outperformed 75% of test-takers.

In evaluating candidates for Ivy League schools, admissions committees often focus on the middle 50% of accepted students’ SAT scores, encompassing scores from the 25th to the 75th percentile. 

While these score ranges vary among schools and across years, they serve as a reference point for admissions decisions.

It is essential to emphasize that SAT scores constitute just one aspect of the college admissions process. Admissions officers also consider factors such as GPA, extracurricular involvement, essays, and other criteria when assessing applicants.

Average SAT Scores for Ivy League Schools

Many high school students dream of getting into an Ivy League school. The SAT score is one of the most critical factors in the admissions process. The SAT score is a standardized test measuring a student’s college readiness. 

It is an essential factor in the admissions process, and Ivy League schools are no exception.

The average SAT scores for Ivy League schools are incredibly high. However, the scores vary from school to school. Here is a table that shows the average SAT scores for Ivy League schools:

School Average SAT Score
Brown 1505
Columbia 1535
Cornell 1485
Dartmouth 1500
Harvard 1540
Penn 1515
Princeton 1545
Yale 1520

As you can see from the table, the average SAT scores for Ivy League schools are incredibly high. However, it is essential to remember that these are just averages. Some students get accepted with lower scores, while others get rejected with higher scores.

While the SAT score holds significance in the admissions process, Ivy League institutions consider various other elements, including extracurricular involvement, essays, and recommendation letters. Nevertheless, a strong SAT score can enhance a student’s prospects of securing admission to an Ivy League school.

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Breakdown by School

Harvard University

Harvard University, a distinguished Ivy League institution, places great importance on holistic admissions. While the average SAT score for admitted students is approximately 1500, and the average ACT score is 34, it’s crucial to recognize that these scores represent just one facet of the admission process. 

Harvard assesses applicants comprehensively, considering factors like extracurricular involvement, essays, and letters of recommendation.

Yale University

Yale University, a prominent Ivy League institution, boasts high admissions standards. Admitted students typically achieve an average SAT score of approximately 1500 and an average ACT score of 34. Yale’s holistic admissions approach evaluates leadership, creativity, and intellectual curiosity.

Princeton University

Princeton University is renowned for its challenging academic offerings and distinguished faculty. Admitted students typically boast an average SAT score of approximately 1500 and an average ACT score of 34. Additionally, Princeton seeks individuals who exhibit leadership qualities and a genuine enthusiasm for learning.

Columbia University

Columbia University, situated in New York City, boasts diverse academic programs. Admitted students typically hold an average SAT score of approximately 1500 and an average ACT score of 34. In addition to these scores, Columbia considers qualities like intellectual curiosity, creativity, and community engagement during admission.

Brown University

Brown University is renowned for its open curriculum and commitment to student autonomy. Admitted students typically boast an average SAT score of approximately 1460 and an average ACT score of 33. The university highly values intellectually curious, self-reliant, and self-driven students.

Dartmouth College

Dartmouth College, situated in Hanover, New Hampshire, is renowned for its robust undergraduate programs. Admitted students typically boast an average SAT score of approximately 1490 and an average ACT score of 33. Dartmouth seeks intellectually curious, collaborative individuals with a strong work ethic as its ideal candidates.

University of Pennsylvania

The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia is renowned for its robust business and engineering programs. Admitted students typically achieve an average SAT score of approximately 1500 and an average ACT score of 34. Additionally, Penn highly values applicants with leadership, community engagement, and a genuine enthusiasm for learning.

Cornell University

Cornell University is in Ithaca, New York. It’s known for strong programs in agriculture, engineering, and business. Students usually have SAT scores of around 1460 and ACT scores of around 33. Cornell also values leadership, creativity, and a love for learning in applicants.

Admission Process and Requirements

Admission to Ivy League schools is fiercely competitive, with a rigorous evaluation process. The admissions committee considers multiple factors, including academic records, test scores, extracurricular involvement, recommendation letters, and application essays.

While standardized test scores and GPA are important, Ivy League admissions are holistic, meaning that the admissions committee considers the whole person, not just their academic achievements. 

Therefore, applicants with exceptional extracurricular activities or unique life experiences may be advantageous in the admissions process.

Legacy status may influence the admissions process as it pertains to applicants who are the offspring of alumni. Certain Ivy League institutions may grant preferential treatment to such candidates. Nonetheless, it’s important to note that legacy status alone does not ensure admission.

The acceptance rate for Ivy League schools is typically low, ranging from 5-11%. This means that even highly qualified applicants may not be admitted. Therefore, applicants must apply to various colleges and universities, not just Ivy League schools.

In terms of test scores, Ivy League schools have high expectations. 

The middle 50% of admitted students typically score between 1450 and 1570 on the SAT and achieve ACT scores in the 30s. However, it’s important to stress that test scores, while important, are only one part of the admissions process and do not solely define academic potential.

In addition to test scores and GPA, Ivy League schools consider letters of recommendation, application essays, and other factors when evaluating applicants. Therefore, applicants must put their best foot forward in all aspects of the college application process.

Impact of Test-Optional Policies

The Ivy League schools have undergone a notable shift in admissions procedures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Several of these prestigious institutions have implemented test-optional policies, allowing students to choose whether to include standardized test scores in their applications.

While the shift to test-optional policies was initially seen as a temporary measure due to the pandemic, many schools have announced plans to continue this policy beyond the current application cycle.

For example, the Ivy League has extended its test-optional policy for the 2022-2023 application cycle, and some schools, such as Cornell and Columbia, have even extended it through 2024.

The impact of test-optional policies on admissions is still being studied, but some early research suggests that these policies may lead to increased diversity among admitted students. 

For example, a National Bureau of Economic Research study found that test-optional policies led to a 43% increase in low-income and first-generation students admitted to four-year colleges.

However, it is essential to note that test-optional policies do not necessarily mean that standardized tests are no longer necessary in the admissions process. 

Many educational institutions continue to factor in test scores when assessing applicants, and certain students opt to include these scores in their applications if they believe it will enhance their candidacy.

Additional Factors in Admissions

While SAT scores are essential in the Ivy League admissions process, they are not the only factor. Admissions committees also consider a range of other factors when evaluating applicants. Here are some of the additional factors that may be taken into account:

Academic Excellence

Ivy League institutions are renowned for demanding academic standards, and their admission panels seek students who have excelled in high school. Alongside impressive grades and test scores, these committees consider factors like course difficulty, class ranking, and honors or accolades.


Ivy League institutions seek students with a robust extracurricular profile. This encompasses engagement in sports, clubs, volunteering, internships, and various activities, emphasizing leadership, initiative, and community dedication.

Work Experience

Some Ivy League schools may also consider work experience when evaluating applicants. This can include part-time jobs, internships, or other work-related experiences. Admissions committees seek students who have demonstrated responsibility, time-management skills, and a strong work ethic.


Ivy League schools seek students who will contribute to the campus community. This can include students who have demonstrated a commitment to service, leadership, or other forms of community involvement. Admissions committees want to see that students are engaged and active members of their communities.


While the Ivy League schools do not have a minimum GPA requirement, they are looking for students who have demonstrated academic excellence. This can include high grades in challenging coursework and a strong overall GPA. Admissions committees will also examine the student’s transcript to see if they have taken a rigorous course load.

Other Factors

In evaluating applicants, Ivy League schools consider various factors beyond those previously mentioned. These factors encompass considerations such as diversity, legacy status, and a candidate’s demonstrated interest in the institution.

International Students

International students are also evaluated based on the same criteria as domestic students. However, admissions committees may also consider factors such as English proficiency, cultural fit, and international experience.

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