SAT Scores for Ivy League Admissions

A Side-by-Side Comparison of Ivy League SAT Admissions Data

Baker Library and Tower at Dartmouth University
Baker Library and Tower at Dartmouth University. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

You're going to need good SAT scores to get into an Ivy League school. While you don't need a perfect 1600 on the exam to be admitted, successful applicants do tend to be in the top couple of percentiles. Unless you're truly exceptional in some other way, you'll want to have roughly a 1400 or higher to be competitive. Below you'll find a side-by-side comparison of scores for the middle 50% of enrolled students.

If your scores fall within or above these ranges, you're on target for Ivy League admissions. Just keep in mind that the Ivy League is so competitive that many students within the ranges below do not get in.

Ivy League SAT Score Comparison (mid 50%)
(Learn what these numbers mean)
Brown University680780690780690780see graph
Columbia University690780690790690790see graph
Cornell University650750680780--see graph
Dartmouth College660780670780670780see graph
Harvard University700800700800710790see graph
Princeton University690790700800710790see graph
University of  Pennsylvania680760700790690780see graph
Yale University720800710800710790see graph
View the ACT version of this table
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Click on the "see graph" links to get a visual sense of where your grades and standardized test scores fall in relation to students who were admitted.

The graphs also reveal that many students who had excellent SAT scores were not admitted, and a few students who were exceptional in other ways managed to get in with less-than-ideal scores. Because of the highly competitive nature of Ivy League admissions, you should always consider these eight institutions to be reach schools, even if you are on target for getting in (Learn more: 6 Cases in Which a Match School is Really a Reach).

All of the Ivy League schools have truly holistic admissions, so keep SAT scores in perspective and realize that they are just one part of the admissions equation. Perfect 800s across the board don't guarantee admission if other parts of your application are weak. Admissions officers will want to see a strong academic record, a winning essay, meaningful extracurricular activities and good letters of recommendation. A particularly compelling personal story or amazing special talent can partially make up for SAT scores that are below the norm for a school.

Also keep in mind that applying early to an Ivy League school can double or even triple your chances of being admitted (see this article on applying early). Applying through an Early Action or Early Decision program is one of the best ways to demonstrate your interest in a university.

Data from the National Center for Educational Statistics.