SAT Scores for the Ivy League

What Are the SAT Scores That Guarantee Admission to Ivy League

If you’ve read through our last post on the Ivy League, then you should know by now that high SAT scores are far from sufficient to get you admission into any of those.

Ask any of the directors of admissions in any of these schools and they’ll tell you that even a perfect score on the SAT is not enough to get you in.

It might get your foot in the door but without working hard to forge your hook. They’ll most likely kick you out the door, politely of course, or not. Our last post addresses that. Check it out.

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This, however, does not rule out the importance of high SAT scores when applying for an Ivy League school. The school has to be sure that you’re fit to be able to compete favorably in the academic environment.

As we go on in this article, here’s one thing you should bear in mind, if your SAT scores aren’t high enough, then you have to make sure that other aspects of your application like your personal statement (where your extracurricular feats are listed), recommendation and GPA are super high.

If your SAT scores are crazy high though, then just an excellently forged hook will do; no need for anything too crazy.

Just ensure that you keep this at the back of your mind: a high test score even a perfect one is not enough, and a carefully forged hook isn’t either. Each depends on the other to get you into that Ivy League school you’ve been dreaming about.

Don’t forget what we said about your personality too. It plays a key role in determining whether you get accepted or not.

COVID Has Changed Many Things Affecting SAT Scores and Ivy League Admissions

After the pandemic, many schools decided to review their admissions processes and requirements.

As a result, most schools, including Ivy League schools, decided to make tests optional for the 2022/2023 application cycle. In fact, many will continue to make this optional through to the 2023/2024 application cycle.

This change gives students unprecedented flexibility since they can now decide whether or not to include their scores when they apply. Nevertheless, if you intend to send in your scores, then here’s what you should know.

What Are the Ideal SAT Scores for the Ivy League?

First, check out our article that provides you with the basic knowledge of the SAT – A Complete Guide to understanding the SAT.

Well, there are two boundaries for SAT scores that will grant you admission to most all Ivy League schools. There are 1590 out of 1600 for the SAT or 35 out of 36 for the ACT.

If you score as high as this, you’ll be within the top 25 percent for almost all Ivy League schools, and you don’t have to bother working to get your SAT scores higher than where it’s already at. It’s great just the way it is.

What you should be more concerned about now though is ensuring that other parts of your application are topnotch.

The other boundary we talked about will put you at the bottom 25% which isn’t exactly the best place to be. It’s 1470 out of 1600 for the SAT or the 31 out of 36 for the ACT.

You should already see how the other scores we earlier mentioned already put these scores in a really precarious position. If your scores fall within this range, you’d have to work to improve on them.

And unlike the other guys in the upper 25%, you’d have to work twice as hard to ensure that your hook is more than excellently forged. In fact, let it be perfectly formed or at least, very close to that. We will go into the details of how to improve on a low SAT score much later but for now, let’s look at something else.

READ: What GPA Do You Need For an Ivy League Admission?

25th and 75th Percentile SAT/ACT Scores

Let’s check out the 25th and 75th percentile SAT/ACT scores for the Ivy League schools

School75% SAT25% SAT75% ACT25% ACT


You don’t need to be told that these are really tough standards because even the 25% is quite a feat for some students, and getting anything lower will push your chances of getting into these top schools down to almost a zero.

By the way, did you know that scoring within the 75th percentile automatically places you within the top 1% of students nationwide? This is no small achievement we tell you, so you gotta work hard.

What SAT Scores for the Ivy League Should You Be Aiming for?

The table above gives a general overview of scores in the Ivy League. But getting a target score that you, in particular, should be aiming for is dependent on the schools you plan to apply to.

Figuring this out is pretty easy and straightforward and we will proceed to take you through the step-wise process for getting that done.

Before getting into the process, it is imperative you know why you need to have a target SAT score. With a target score, it’s easier for you to monitor your own progress as you study. Ensure you don’t set your target data based on what your squad is going with, your goals are different, you should build yours based on data.

So the first thing you want to do is to create a worksheet. A good template could be something like this with the following headers (credits go to


25th percentile

75th percentile


Target score:




You can create something like this on your own or something better if you’re smarter. Lol.  Anyway, this is a good template you could work with.

What Next?

Now, after creating this worksheet, fill in all the schools you’d like to apply for where you have the schools’ column.

You’re going to research on each of these schools on your list. And this is how you’re going to it: you’ll Google the average SAT score for each school in this format: “(name of school) average SAT”.

So, if, for instance, my preferred school is Brown, I’d Google “Brown average SAT”.  You’d most likely find the numbers on their “about us” page.

When you get these numbers across the different sections, sum them up and enter them into the spaces for the 25th percentile and 75th percentile accordingly, it’s as straightforward as that. So, you’ll repeat this process for other schools of your choice and then calculate the average for each percentile to get your target score.

After filling out this worksheet, share it with your parents and friends, and paste it on your wall. The more you look at this goal, the more likely you’ll be to meet it. And whatever your score your target might be, don’t freak out, you can get it. Everyone can.

What if Your SAT/ACT Score Is Low?

If you get back your SAT/ACT scores and it’s not causing you to throw a big party, don’t get too emotional. Just relax and plan your way to getting a better score. There are four ways we suggest you go about this.

1. Retake the Test

Except you’re taking the test in your senior year, i.e. December or February, you’d most likely have the chance to retake your test and improve your score.

Even without prepping so much, simply by the reason of taking the SAT at a previous time you already have an edge to do much better on your next test.

But then, we want to make the most of the retake, so you might want to prepare as much as you can.

2. Try Taking the Other Test

You know that there are two tests available for admission into college, that’s the SAT and the ACT. Now, if you’ve been taking only one of the tests, then it might be time to try the other. That is, if you were taking only the SAT, then you might want to try the ACT and vice versa.

The similarities between these tests are actually very close, so you shouldn’t have a lot of hiccups switching to either test from the former.

However, it’s important to bring to your notice that some students fare better at a particular test than others, so it’s super important to ensure that you’re writing the better test for yourself.

3. Find Out Why You Didn’t Do So Well on the First Try

It’s very necessary to understand why you didn’t do so well on your first test, and a way to do this for the SAT is to request a copy of your marked test from College Board through their Question and answer service.

By doing this, you get to see the questions you answered incorrectly and figure out why you got them wrong. This will also help you proactively decide on what areas you need to improve on and how you intend to go about them.

If it’s the ACT you took, then you’d be requesting a Test Information Release (TIR) which is quite similar to the Question and Answer service of the SAT.

This service gives you your test questions, the answers you gave, and the answer key. So, you can use this to see how you fared and also re-strategize for a better score on your next try.

With these services at your fingertips, you can clearly analyze your strengths and weaknesses and know how to effectively direct your prep for maximum results.

READ: All You Need to Know About SAT – SAT FAQs

4. Do Better in Other Areas Too

Even though a good SAT/ACT score is necessary to give you a good chance at the Ivy League, you’ll still need to do brilliantly on other areas to stand a much better chance. Some of these areas include:

Your GPA

You already know the drill for this one. To ensure that your GPA is high enough, you must pay attention to tests and homework.

Strong Letters of Recommendation

To develop this, you’d have to have to be really close to some of your teachers for a considerable period of time (in years, by the way), so that they can give you a really good letter.

The truth is you can get your teachers to give you a letter even without being so close to them. But if you want something deep enough to strike a chord with the admissions director, then that kind of letter can only come from a teacher that really likes you.

Extracurricular Activities

We’ve already told you how to forge your hook in the last post. Refer to it in case you missed that. It’s a very vital part of your application and when corroborated by a good recommendation letter, it can significantly boost your chances.

Truth be told though, these options we listed above are best if you have enough time on your hands which is why we advise students to start preparing for their SAT/ACT test from grade nine.

If you’re pressed for time though, here are two options you could also try. We aren’t assuring you that you’ll get Ivy League though but miracles happen.

Make sure your personal statement is perfectly done. By putting some effort into writing your personal statement, you can give the members of the admissions board a strong and lasting impression.

This way, even if other parts of your application aren’t too wonderful, your application won’t be thrown into the trash at first glance.

Another option is to make sure that your application is carefully worded.

With these options, you should be able to give your entire application a total overhaul. So, don’t let a low SAT score discourage you, instead get yourself together and figure out how you can put these tips to use for a better result on your next try.

It’s a Wrap!

We hope we’ve been able to give you a good and exhaustive guide on SAT scores for an Ivy League schools. Do you, by chance, have more questions that we haven’t answered? Feel free to comment on this post and we will get back to you pronto!

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