SAT Scores Needed for Admission to Top Engineering Schools

A Side-by-Side Comparison of College Admissions Data for Top Engineering Schools

student studying for SAT exam
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Comparing admissions data for top engineering schools is tricky since different schools handle engineering admissions differently. At some schools, engineering students simply apply for general admission. At others, engineering applicants are handled separately from other applicants. For example, at Illinois admission to the engineering school is far more competitive than general admissions.

Comparison of SAT Scores for Admission to Top Engineering Schools

Reading 25% Reading 75% Math 25% Math 75%
Berkeley (general admissions) 670 750 650 790
Caltech 740 800 770 800
Carnegie Mellon (CIT) 660 750 720 800
Cornell (engineering) 650 750 680 780
Georgia Tech 640 730 680 770
Illinois (engineering) 580 690 705 790
Michigan (general admissions) 640 730 670 770
MIT 700 790 760 800
Purdue (engineering) 520 630 550 690
Stanford 680 780 700 800

*Note: Writing scores are not included in this data

When the data is available, the table above represents SAT scores for the middle 50% of engineering students who enroll. Michigan and Berkeley do not post specific data for engineers, so the numbers above reflect university-wide general admissions. Engineering numbers are likely higher, especially for math. In general, if your SAT scores fall within or above the ranges listed above, you are on track for admission to these schools.

Universities with a largely technological focus—Caltech, MIT, and Georgia Tech—do not have separate admissions for engineers. Also, Stanford believes that engineers should still have a broad general education and does not have a separate application for their engineering school. Nevertheless, universities will look for strong math skills from engineering applicants.

Many of the large comprehensive universities with separate engineering schools have different admissions standards for engineering applicants. This is true for Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Illinois, Michigan, and Purdue. Berkeley's admissions are the messiest of all, for admissions are different for each engineering field. Students who apply to Berkeley with their engineering field "undeclared" face the toughest admissions standards of all.

If your SAT scores fall a little below the ranges above, don't lose all hope. Keep in mind that 25% of applicants score below the lower numbers above. Also keep in mind that SAT scores are just one part of the application. Admissions officers at the top engineering schools will also be looking for a strong high school record, good letters of recommendation, a well-crafted essay and meaningful extracurricular activities. Strengths in these non-numerical areas can help compensate for less-than-ideal SAT scores. If you click on the "see graph" links in the table, you'll see that some students with lower SAT scores can still be admitted provided they have an otherwise strong application.

The most important piece of your application will be your high school record, not your SAT scores. These universities will want to see high grades in challenging college preparatory classes. Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Honors, and Dual Enrollment courses can all help demonstrate that you are ready for the challenges of college. For engineering applicants, strengths in math and science will be particularly important, and these schools prefer that applicants have completed math through calculus in high school.

Other SAT Resources:

If you're curious to see how the numbers in the table above compare to other top colleges and universities in the United States, check out this SAT score comparison for the Ivy League, SAT score comparison for top liberal arts colleges, and SAT score comparison for top public universities

If you're worried about your SAT scores, be sure to look at this list of test-optional colleges. There are hundreds of schools that don't consider the SAT when making admissions decisions. You may also find useful advice in this article on strategies for students with low SAT scores.

data from National Center for Educational Statistics and University Web Sites

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Grove, Allen. "SAT Scores Needed for Admission to Top Engineering Schools." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Grove, Allen. (2023, April 5). SAT Scores Needed for Admission to Top Engineering Schools. Retrieved from Grove, Allen. "SAT Scores Needed for Admission to Top Engineering Schools." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 9, 2023).