SAT Scores for Top US Universities – Clever Harvey

SAT Score US universities

It is always exciting to study abroad, especially when it comes to studying at US Universities and colleges. As a high school student, you may also have a dream of studying in such places as it may shape your future in different ways. Since these universities may offer you everything in terms of world-class education and the best infrastructure, it is something that is worth applying for. 

In order to apply for universities abroad like MIT, Boston, NYU, Harvard etc, it is important that you understand the basic requirements and criteria before you start the process. First of all, the SAT Scores for US Universities work as an entry criterion for securing admission. A lot of universities will ask for your SAT Scores to consider your admission along with various other factors defining your application in a holistic manner.

While you might be wondering how SAT Scores for US universities can decide your admission and what more you need, we have covered in-depth information about SAT Scores, Cut-off, and other requirements that can help you in securing admission to US universities.

SAT Scores for US Universities

Every college in the US has different requirements related to SAT Scores which can vary as per competitiveness and the number of applications they receive. Some universities may take you with just an SAT Score above 1300 while others may require you to have a score more than 1500. As SAT Scores for US universities is still a major factor, you should always aim for higher numbers to increase your possibility of getting admission into some of the top universities.

What do SAT Scores provide?

Imagine you are among the thousands of students who want to get admission to some prestigious college or university which just has 100 seats for a particular undergraduate program. How do you think the college will be able to decide whom to take or not to take? In order to simplify the process and make the application process easier and fair, colleges rely on standardized tests such as SAT to shortlist students. 

SAT is started with the aim to evaluate your basic understanding of language (Reading & Writing) and mathematics. It is a test that can conclude how well you are prepared for higher education for colleges in countries like the US, UK, or Canada. To understand it better, the SAT Scores for US universities work well as one of the prime entrance criteria to get admission in colleges and universities abroad.

As the competition is fierce and the number of applicants is increasing year by year, it is becoming tough for colleges to evaluate applicants just on the basis of their marks. Apart from SAT, they also expect students to be well versed in extracurricular activities and other real-life skills.

Good SAT Score

Are you having a doubt whether your SAT score is good enough to make it to universities in the US?

While referring to SAT Score, there is a defined range which is scored out of 1600. It is possible that you might have scored less than 1000 or more than 1500. A good SAT score is a measure to determine how well you have done in the exam and whether you have qualified as per the norms and eligibility of top institutions or not.

Most of the top institutions in the US prefer to have a score above 1300 in order to get you into the admission shortlist. While in general, any score above 1000-1200 can be considered as a good SAT Score as you still have some chances to get into colleges and universities in the US. (Source: US News)

SAT Cutoff for US Universities

The SAT Cutoff is a standardized measure to shortlist you based on your SAT Scores. As colleges in the US do receive huge numbers of applications, they make SAT Score a crucial component other than additional factors such as high school grades and portfolio to enroll students. Some of the top universities and colleges in the US may even have cutoff scores higher than 1400-1500 range.

Composite SAT Scores of Top 20 US Universities

The composite SAT Scores are the overall scores out of 1600. Here are the cutoff scores of different universities in the US:

UniversitySAT Cutoff (Composite Score)
Harvard University1520
Stanford University1505
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)1535
University of California Berkeley (UCB)1415
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)1455
Yale University1515
Columbia University1505
Princeton University1505
New York University (NYU)1510
University of Pennsylvania1500
University of Chicago1470
Cornell University1480
Duke University1510
Johns Hopkins University1505
University of Southern California1440
Northwestern University1495
Carnegie Mellon University1460
University of Michigan 1435
Brown University1485
Boston University1420

SAT section based Cut-Off for US Universities

Many universities also release cutoffs based on different SAT Sections such as EBRW and Maths. Here is the table mentioning section-wise cutoff for various top universities in the US:

UniversityEBRW (Reading & Writing)Maths
Harvard University710-770740-800
Stanford University700-770740-800
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)730-770780-800
University of California Berkeley (UCB)650-740680-790
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)690715
Yale University740-800720-770
Columbia University700-770740-800
Princeton University710-770740-800
New York University (NYU)670-740690-790
University of Pennsylvania700-760750-800
University of Chicago730-770770-800
Cornell University680-760720-800
Duke University720-770750-800
Johns Hopkins University720-760750-800
University of Southern California660-740680-790
Northwestern University700-760730-790
Carnegie Mellon University700-760760-800
University of Michigan 660-740680-790
Brown University700-770730-790
Boston University650-720670-780

SAT Scores in a Test-Optional World

You might be wondering what “Test-Optional” means? Since covid-19, the universities and colleges have chosen to eliminate the mandatory requirement of SAT Score as many students were not able to take SAT due to the closure of examination centers. It is given as a choice to candidates while submitting applications whether they want to submit SAT Scores or not for the year 2021-22. As of now, many of the universities have announced to remain “Test-Optional” for 2021-22. 

How Test-Optional criteria will affect my application without SAT Score?

As the SAT score is not the only requirement to shortlist you there are various other factors that also play a role in determining your application for the university. The high school grades, portfolio, extracurricular activities, recommendation letters, statement of purpose, etc. play a crucial role in evaluating your application. In test-optional criteria, these considerations are counted as an essential factor that can decide your selection for the university.

Many Test-Optional Universities will still recommend you to send SAT Scores

This is quite an interesting fact to note that various test-optional universities might recommend you to send SAT Scores for US universities as it might help them evaluate your application in a better way. You can still choose to appear for the SAT and send the scores to increase your chances of admission. This can be a great factor for those with low grades in high school as they can try to excel in SAT to have some chances of admission.

SAT Scores for US Universities Requirements

You already know that SAT Scores for US universities work as a crucial factor to determine whether you are a deserving candidate for university or not. Since it is a standard criterion to determine your eligibility and college readiness, it can help the admission committee to review your application in a better way. Many of the universities in the US also define SAT as one of the most important factors which can help you to get admission to some of the top universities. Precisely, there are various SAT Requirements which are as follows:

  • SAT Cutoff: If you are planning to apply to some of the top universities in the US you might notice that many of them release SAT Score Cut-off to enroll students apart from various other factors that may also have a weightage in the selection process. 
  • SAT Score Acceptance: Many of the universities in the US will require you to have SAT Score above 1300 to secure admission. In some of the cases, it may go even higher than 1500.
  • SAT Superscore for Sending Scores: Many of the top universities in the US accept higher SAT Scores from various sections of different SAT attempts. This is called superscore as it helps you send your best SAT Scores.

What is the highest SAT Score to get in US Colleges?

Want to know the highest SAT Score to Get in US Colleges? While the SAT Scores range between 400-1600, you may land up anywhere between this scale depending on your preparation for the exam. If you really want to target top colleges and universities, it is recommended that you target scores above 1300-1400 to increase your chances. As per educational experts, the higher the SAT score the better your chances of getting into some of the top colleges or universities in the US. 

As per SAT Score Distribution Report 2021, only the top 8% of candidates achieve the SAT score of 1400-1600.

SAT Scores for US Universities with high average SAT Score

Do you want to know which colleges have high SAT Scores in the US? Here is the table that lists various institutions with high average SAT Scores for US universities requirements:

University Name Average SAT Score
University of Chicago1535
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1532
Harvard University 1510
Washington University in St. Louis1509
Yale University1502
Princeton University 1501
University of Pennsylvania1494
Carnegie Mellon University1491
Stanford University1488
Brown University1488
Dartmouth College 1486
Northwestern University1481
Cornell University1467
Tufts University1455
Northeastern University1455
Georgetown University1446
Emory University1442

Source: US Dept of Education

How to send SAT Scores to colleges in the US?

You might usually get the SAT Scores 2-4 weeks after you take the test after which you can send the scores to colleges of your choice. This is very easy to do as you just need to log in to your college board portal in order to make it happen. Here is a step by step guide to help you with the same:

  • Sign-In to your official College Board Account and select “Send Scores”.
  • There are two options which you will see, one is “send scores” and the other is “send scores when available”. The Send Scores available appear after you take the test and you can use it to send the scores to colleges.
  • You can add a list of colleges to make them recipients of your scores. It is desired that you add the colleges that you are applying to.
  • You can even use Score Choice to select which SAT Scores you want to send to colleges. If you don’t select this, the college board will send all the scores.
  • After this, you may be required to pay a nominal fee to complete the process. You should remember that you get four SAT Score reports for free after your SAT Exam date which is valid for up to 9 days.

How are SAT Scores sent to colleges?

The College Board sends the SAT Scores to colleges and universities electronically which is disbursed once a week on every Wednesday. (Source: College Board)


You might already know that SAT Scores for US Universities are known for their academic excellence and facilities which are quite better and more advanced than universities worldwide. Being a legacy of decades, it offers a lot of opportunities to students in terms of learning and getting into lucrative careers after completing undergrad.

In order to succeed in your efforts to get into some of the top universities, it is important that you should focus on your academic performance along with extracurricular activities and fields of interest to make yourself eligible for getting into such colleges.

While thinking about how to build a portfolio, you can either join internships related to your field of interest or join the Junior MBA by Clever Harvey which will give you the opportunity to try real-life careers by doing hands-on projects. It will also get you an industry-recognized certificate signed by companies like PUMA, Infinity Cars, and Samsonite. Remember that a good SAT Score along with High School Grades, and Your Portfolio can always increase your chances of admission.

FAQ’s related to SAT Scores for US universities

What SAT Score should I target for getting admission into top US Universities?

You should target the SAT Score above 1400 to increase your chances of securing your spot on the cutoff list.

What Is A Good SAT Score For Ivy League?

The 1500+ is considered a good SAT Score to get into the Ivy League institutions like MIT, Harvard, Stanford, etc.

What is the SAT Score Choice Policy?

The Score Choice policy enables you to send selective scores to colleges from SAT Exams you have appeared for. 

What is a composite SAT Score?

The composite SAT Score refers to the cumulative score you received from different SAT sections such as EBRW and Mathematics. It is calculated out of 1600.

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