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26 August 2023

7 minutes read

Navigating SAT Scores: List of Top 25 US Universities Accepting SAT Scores

Key Takeaways

  • SAT scores are crucial for college admissions, providing a standardized assessment of an individual’s academic suitability for a particular institution.
  • Preparation strategies should include familiarizing oneself with the test format, utilizing practice tests, and focusing on improving weak areas alongside mastering test-taking techniques.
  • Understanding the average SAT scores for top universities helps set realistic score targets for the average student.
  • Highly selective universities often have high SAT score requirements, typically ranging from 1470 to 1600, coupled with exceptionally low acceptance rates.
  • Scores around 1200 still open doors at a considerable number of reputable schools, offering many applicants a wide range of opportunities.

Would you like to know about the SAT scores of top US universities?

Look no further! Here’s a detailed overview of the top 25 American universities and their SAT score counterparts.

The Scholastic Assessment Test or SAT is a standardized test that is widely used in the US for college admissions. The test is meant to evaluate a high school student’s readiness for college.

However, it is mostly used as a specific data point intended for colleges to help them compare all their applicants.

One of the most common questions that the SAT-preparing students may have is: “What SAT scores do I need for the top US university entry?”

Below, you will find out the required SAT score at US universities, universities that accept SAT 1200, and other relevant information about college acceptance.

UniversitySAT EBRW Score RangeSAT Math Score Range
University of Chicago745775
University of Pennsylvania700-770720-790
Yale University730-780730-800
Columbia University700-780710-790
Princeton University710-780720-790
Cornell University680-760720-800
University of California, LA620-710600-740
New York University660-740690-790
Stanford University690-760700-780
Harvard University730-790730-800
California Institute of Technology740-760790-800
MIT(Massachusetts institute of technology)720-770770-800
University of California, Berkeley630-720630-760
John Hopkins University735780
Chapman University640640
Pitzer College690720
University of Rochester670750
University of Virginia705725
Tulane University700720
Binghamton University680695
Indiana University Bloomington625630
University of Florida675685
Stony Brook University640695
Georgetown University1410-15401320-1470
University of Florida1410-15401320-1470

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Understanding the SAT Exam

The SAT, or Scholastic Assessment Test, is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the United States.It assesses a student’s readiness for college and is intended to provide colleges with a common data point that can be used to compare all applicants

Master the SAT with confidence, ensuring a smooth pathway to your desired undergraduate program. For personalized guidance and expert insights, connect with Ambito pro today!

Did you know?

Many US top colleges have made SAT scores a mandatory eligibility criteria for international students.

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What Is an SAT Score?

SAT score is one of the most important aspects of your college application. The SAT is composed of four main sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) and Math. Each portion is scored from 200 to 800, adding up to a total score of 1600 for the Math and EBRW sections.

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The Role of SAT Scores in College Admissions

The SAT Writing section evaluates a student’s proficiency in grammar, usage, and writing skills, hence plays a critical role in showcasing their readiness for college-level writing and composition. Colleges use it to assess an applicant’s ability to communicate effectively, an essential skill across all academic disciplines.

  • Standardized measurement: SAT scores are used to provide colleges with a standardized measure of the academic suitability of an applicant.
  • Comparison tool: These scores make it possible for colleges to gauge the eligibility of applicants from different backgrounds fairly.
  • Academic potential: Students’ SAT scores are often evaluated alongside other considerations such as GPA and extracurricular involvement to forecast their ability to succeed in college.
  • Admission criterion: Many colleges use SAT scores as one of the considerations for admission, with some having minimum eligibility levels.
  • Scholarship potential: Higher SAT scores increase the chances of getting merit-based scholarships and financial assistance.
  • Academic benchmark: SAT results also act as a measure of a student’s preparedness for academic work in college and guides their preparation for the same.
  • Prediction of potential: While not the only predictor, student SAT scores are used to determine potential readiness to handle academic responsibilities in college.
  • Comprehensive: Some colleges conduct a comprehensive evaluation in which SAT scores form one of the considerations rather than the stand-out qualifying factor.

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How to Get Good SAT Scores for College Admissions?

To effectively improve your SAT score, incorporating a strategic approach to your preparation is essential. Here are structured strategies to help you score better for your SAT exam.

  • Understanding the test format: Through various sources, ensure an understanding of the structure of the SAT, including the sections, types of questions, and time limits. This will eliminate most of the anxiety that comes from not knowing what to expect.
  • Official SAT practice: The College Board, creators of the SAT, provides access to official practice tests. Studying these resources will help you become familiar with the test while finding your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Targeted practice: Distinguish which areas you can improve upon rapidly and divest more time to weaker areas.
  • Learn the test-taking strategies: There are several strategies one can adapt when taking the SAT, from learning the art of guessing, time management skills, and mastering various question types.
  • Review your mistakes: Prepare a detailed report on the reasons behind any questions you give responding to understand how you avoid such mistakes in future tests.
  • Building your vocabulary: A good vocabulary will help with understanding the passages better for the reading sections and help with the accuracy of answers. Read more materials to improve on vocabulary.
  • Practice writing essays: Writing an essay is optional, however, if one decides to take this section then one should practice by writing essays under timed conditions. Focus on clear essay structure, argumentation, and utilizing evidence.
  • Stay consistent with your prep: Prepare regularly, weekly preparation is recommended to extensive cramming.
  • Eat properly, sleep on time, and exercise: Preparing both mentally and physically matters in test-taking as most people believe it.
  • Consider a prep course or tutor: If preparation is proving a difficult challenge, a coach or tutor can help you with your revision.

The Average SAT Score at Top US Universities

The average SAT score’s top US universities could vary significantly from one university to another. For example, at the University of California, Los Angeles, enrolled student’s average SAT scores range between 1330-1510, and at the University of Michigan, it’s 1340-1530.

This information helps in finding the exact SAT scores by enrolled students of the university you are planning to apply to and, most importantly, indicates your score target.

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Navigating Admissions: Strategies for Top Universities and Beyond

Securing admission to top universities in the US is very challenging, and a good SAT score can increase your chances significantly.

SAT Score Requirements for Elite Institutions

For example, obtaining admission to universities such as Harvard, Stanford, and MIT usually requires an average SAT score of 1470 to 1600. Furthermore, it is also important to note that most of these universities have an extremely low acceptance rate, sometimes below 10%.

Opportunities with an SAT Score of 1200

An SAT score of 1200 is approximately the 74th percentile, which means you did better than 74% of the test-takers. Even though this may not be good enough for the top-tier universities, a good number of reputable schools accept SATs of this range.

SAT Scores for Admitted Students at Ivy League Schools

A closer look at the SAT scores for admitted students to Ivy League schools such as Princeton, Yale, Harvard, and Cornell University, and what these scores reveal about the competitive nature of admissions.

Universities Accepting SAT Scores: Beyond the Ivy League

Highlighting other top colleges and universities accepting SAT scores, with a focus on institutions like Stanford University, the University of Chicago, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, showcasing the wide range of options available for high-scoring students.


If you are planning to study abroad, the SAT is a prerequisite when applying to universities in the United States. However, certain foreign countries also use SAT requirements to award students college places.

Nonetheless, the SAT score required may differ from country to country; thus, it is ideal to adhere to the specific university requirements you wish to join. Improving Your SAT Score Improving your SAT score increases your chances of joining the school of your dreams.

Some of the ways to improve your score are: Practice often: the more you practice, the better you will be. Use available online resources, do more practice tests and use SAT Preparation books to help you. Know your errors: go through the answers and check the reasons behind the answers you got wrong.

This will help you prevent another situation similar to the one where you failed. Time management: SAT demands the proper use of time. Practice answering the questions within the given time frame to improve your pace and accuracy.

Keep your confidence high: self-belief can make a difference in your performance. Be confident, and your belief will enable you to attempt the paper comfortably.

The SAT score is an important part of the college admissions process, and one should aim for a score that is competitive in the universities they are applying to. Even though Harvard, Stanford, MIT and other top-tier universities require very high scores, many other reputable universities accept scores even at 1200.

Find Your Path to College Success: Make your college application stand out. Speak to an expert today and learn how our personalized guidance can help you succeed.


What is a good percentile score on the SAT exam for admission to top US universities?

A good percentile score for admission to top universities, including Ivy Leagues like Yale University, falls in the 75th percentile or higher. This typically means achieving a composite score well above the average, often closer to the highest SAT scores of 1600.

Are liberal arts colleges test-optional, and how does that affect college admissions?

Many liberal arts colleges have adopted test-optional policies, allowing students to choose whether to submit SAT scores. This approach focuses more on GPA, letters of recommendation, and extracurricular activities, though submitting high test scores can still enhance an application.

What SAT score range is considered competitive for admission to the best colleges?

Competitive SAT scores vary, but for the best colleges, students should aim for scores in the top 25th percentile of admitted students, often around 1350 to 1600.

Do colleges and universities consider other factors besides the SAT score?

Yes, colleges and universities also consider other aspects of your application, such as your high school GPA, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, and personal statement.

How do colleges and universities use the SAT percentile to evaluate applicants?

Colleges use the SAT percentile to compare applicants against each other and the national applicant pool. A 75th percentile SAT score, for example, indicates a student scored higher than 75% of test-takers, which is advantageous in the admissions process.

What are the SAT score requirements for international students applying to universities in the USA?

International students are generally held to the same SAT score requirements as U.S. students. Top universities look for high SAT scores, typically in the range of 1470 to 1600, alongside strong evidence-based reading and writing skills.

How does the test-blind admission policy affect students’ chances of getting admission?

Test-blind policies mean that SAT or ACT scores are not considered at all in the admissions process. This can benefit students who feel their SAT scores do not adequately reflect their academic abilities, allowing them to focus on strengthening other parts of their college application.

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