With very few exceptions, SAT and ACT scores only matter in the realm of college admissions. In that specific area, however, test scores can be extremely influential in terms of both admissions and scholarships. No wonder, then, that most of America’s most desired schools rank at the top in terms of SAT and ACT scores of accepted students.
Any ranking of top schools should be seen as subjective, based on factors often unrelated to student experience or specific suitability. That said, the recent FORBES article on America’s Top Colleges And The SAT Scores They Expect includes many of the consensus higher education elites:
1. Harvard University — 1540/34 (6% accepted)
2. Stanford University — 1510/32 (5.1% accepted)
3. Yale University — 1540/33 (6.3% accepted)
4. Princeton University — 1530/33 (7.4% accepted)
5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology — 1530/34 (7.9% accepted)
6. California Institute of Technology — 1560/34 (8.8% accepted)
7. University of Pennsylvania — 1500/32 (10.4% accepted)
8. Duke University — 1500/32 (11.4% accepted)
9. Brown University — 1480/32 (8.7% accepted)
10. Pomona College — 1500/32 (12.2% accepted)
11. Claremont McKenna College — 1480/32 (10.8% accepted)
12. Dartmouth College — 1500/32 (11.5% accepted)
Interestingly, the average SAT scores of accepted students using the new SAT is higher across the board than scores on the previous version of SAT. This suggests that colleges are aware of the grade inflation resulting from the College Board’s questionable implementation of two different percentile rankings.
Also note the intimidatingly low acceptance rate at each of these schools, a trend mirrored at most selective colleges and universities, the ones Gregg Easterbook referred to as the Gotta-Get-Ins. Don’t despair. Researchers Stacy Dale and Alan B. Krueger found that, for students qualified to win admission to one of the elites, their actual alma mater basically didn’t matter as far as lifetime earnings were concerned: income varied little, no matter which type of college they attended.