SAT Scores for Admission to Top Tennessee Colleges

A Side-by-Side Comparison of College Admissions Data for 11 Top Colleges

Belmont University
Belmont University. EVula / Wikimedia Commons

Learn what SAT scores are likely to get you into the top Tennessee colleges or universities. The side-by-side comparison table below shows scores for the middle 50% of enrolled students. If your scores fall within or above these ranges, you're on target for admission to one of these 11 top colleges in Tennessee.

Top Tennessee Colleges SAT Scores (mid 50%)
(Learn what these numbers mean)
 ReadingMath
25%75%25%75%
Belmont University590670550670
Fisk University520650420610
Lipscomb University540670520660
Maryville College460580470570
Milligan College500630500590
Rhodes College620720600690
Sewanee: The University of the SouthTest-Optional
Tennessee Tech500630510620
Union University560670510650
University of Tennessee580660560650
Vanderbilt University710770730800
View the ACT version of this table

Holistic Admissions

Ideally your SAT scores will fall within or above the ranges shown in the table, but keep in mind that 25 percent of enrolled students have scores at or below the lower numbers. The SAT is just one part of a college application, and strengths in other areas can help make up for less-than ideal SAT scores.

All of the schools in the table have holistic admissions—the admissions folks will be looking at more than numerical data such as test scores and grades. The specific requirements will vary from school to school, but non-numerical measures such as a winning essay, meaningful extracurricular activities and good letters of recommendation can all improve your chances of getting in. Also, schools such as the University of Tennessee and Vanderbilt have NCAA Division I athletic programs, so being a talented athlete who catches the attention of a coach can also play a significant role in the admissions decision.

The most important piece of any application will be your academic record. The Tennessee colleges and universities in the table will want to see high grades in core academic subject areas such as math, history, science, English, and a language. Success in challenging Advanced Placement, IB, Honors, and dual enrollment classes can strengthen your application further, for these courses are a better predictor of college success than any standardized test you take on a Saturday morning.

The University of the South's Test-Optional Policy

Sewanee: The University of the South is one of many institutions nationwide that have moved away from requiring the SAT or ACT as part of the application process. The university notes that the middle 50 percent combined SAT scores are 1230-1410. If your scores are in the middle or upper part of that range, submitting scores will strengthen your application. You are also invited to send in SAT Subject Test scores if you think they will strengthen your application.

Don't feel any pressure to submit scores. The University of the South does not discriminate against applicants who choose to withhold scores, and they will evaluate you based on the other elements of your applicatoin.

Vanderbilt Should Be Considered a Reach School

There are some universities that should always be considered reach schools even if your scores fall within or even above the ranges in the table. Vanderbilt is one of those schools, as are places like Duke University, all of the Ivy League schools, MIT, and Stanford. 

Vanderbilt has an 11 percent acceptance rate, and almost all successful applicants have standardized test scores that are significantly above average. If you look at a graph of GPA, SAT, and ACT data for Vanderbilt, you'll see that many students with straight "A" grades and SAT scores above 1400 get rejected.

Rhodes College is the second most selective school on the list, but with a 51 percent acceptance rate, admission simply isn't the type of challenge applicants face with Vanderbilt.

Data from the National Center for Education Statistics