For many high school students who have their sights set on Stanford University, earning an impressive SAT score is a key way to boost their chances of admission. So, if you’re interested in applying to top colleges, you may be wondering, “What SAT score is required for Stanford?”
In this article, I’ll answer that important question and others, including whether SAT test scores are required for Stanford, what the average SAT scores at Stanford are, and more.
Here are the topics we’ll cover:
- Does Stanford Have an SAT Requirement?
- What Is the Average SAT Score for Stanford?
- What SAT Score Do You Need for Stanford?
- Stanford SAT Scores: Key Takeaways
- What’s Next?
First, let’s review whether Stanford requires test scores for admission.
Does Stanford Have an SAT Requirement?
Stanford requires that college applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. So, if you may want to apply to Stanford, plan on taking either the ACT or SAT.
Although test scores are required for you to be eligible for admission, there is no particular minimum score that applicants must earn on the SAT in order to gain entry to Stanford.
Of course, as we’ll discuss further, there is a certain range of scores that admitted students at Stanford tend to have. So, to be competitive with your peers in the admissions process, you’ll probably want your SAT score to be in line with the Stanford University typical SAT scores.
Stanford requires that college applicants submit either SAT or ACT scores. However, there is no set minimum score required for admission.
So, what are those typical Stanford SAT scores? Let’s take a look.
What Is the Average SAT Score for Stanford?
You might be surprised to learn that Stanford — like many other colleges — does not publish the average SAT scores of admitted students. Instead, Stanford publishes SAT data related to the middle 50% score range. (The same goes for average ACT scores; middle 50% ranges are provided instead.)
The middle 50%, or “mid-50%,” is the range of test scores from the 25th to 75th percentile scores among Stanford’s admitted students in a particular class year. So, 25% of the students have scored below the lowest score in that range and 25% have scored at or above the top of that range. Thus, the range represents the 50% of the class that has scores in the “middle.”
So, while information about the Stanford University average SAT scores is not available, the mid-50% is perhaps an even more useful indicator of the types of scores that applicants require to be on par with Stanford students.
The Stanford average SAT is not publicly available. However, like many other colleges, Stanford publishes the middle 50% score range, which consists of the 25th to 75th percentile scores in a class.
So, let’s look at the mid-50% Stanford SAT scores in recent years.
Middle 50% Stanford SAT Scores: Class of 2021-2025
The table below contains SAT section score and composite score data for the mid-50% of Stanford’s incoming undergraduate classes for the most recent five years available at the time of this writing.
As we can see above, overall, the mid-50% Stanford SAT scores have increased over the past five years. Notably, after a significant jump in scores from the class of 2021 to the class of 2022, the high end of the mid-50% range has stayed steady at a very impressive 1570, with a perfect Math section score. Furthermore, the low end of the range has not dipped below 1420.
Also notable is that the mid-50% of the most recent class, the class of 2025 (which matriculated in fall 2021), has the highest low-end scores of any class in the past five years, due to an increase in both Math and EBRW scores.
Lastly, although Stanford is not an Ivy League school, the mid-50% ranges above are roughly in line with those of the Ivy Leagues. This fact should come as no surprise. After all, Stanford is generally considered comparable to an Ivy League school in both prestige and competitiveness.
The mid-50% of the class of 2025 had the highest low-end SAT scores of any undergraduate class at Stanford in the past five years.
So, what does this data tell us about the score YOU need to earn to be a competitive applicant to Stanford? Is 1470 high enough? 1420? Do you need a perfect Math score? Let’s discuss.
What SAT Score Do You Need for Stanford?
The first thing to realize when setting your SAT score goal is that there is no “magic number” that will guarantee admission — for any student. This is a general truism but also something that Stanford states outright in its testing requirements:
“… there is no score that guarantees admission. At Stanford, we review applications holistically, meaning every component of the application is valuable to us as we get to know each student.”
I would take the statement above to heart. It would be a mistake to go into the SAT preparation process thinking that a high score can single-handedly clinch an acceptance letter for you.
While test scores are an important opportunity to show off your knowledge and skills, they are not the be-all and end-all when it comes to college admissions. Top schools such as Stanford take a range of factors into account when evaluating applicants, everything from academic achievement and extracurriculars to letters of recommendation and personal essays.
We see evidence of Stanford’s “holistic” approach in its SAT score data. No doubt, Stanford sets the bar high in general, with mid-50% scores well above the national average SAT composite score of 1050. Yet notice that the class of 2025 mid-50% spans 100 points, and in previous years, the range was even wider. Furthermore, since the middle 50% does not include the entire class, there may be admitted students with scores below the mid-50% range.
So, clearly, Stanford is admitting students based on more than just test scores.
TTP PRO TIP:
A high SAT score won’t single-handedly clinch a Stanford acceptance for you. SAT scores are one factor among many that admissions considers.
With all that said, there is a general rule of thumb you can follow to help boost your competitiveness in the application process. Let’s discuss.
Aim for the 75th Percentile of the Class
All else equal, if you want to have a good chance at admission to a top school such as Stanford, the general rule of thumb is that you should aim for an SAT score in the 75th percentile of the most recent incoming class’s scores. In other words, you should aim for the score at the top of the mid-50% range.
In the class of 2025, the 75th percentile score is 1570. Now, earning a 1570 on the SAT is no easy feat. After all, a perfect SAT score is not much higher, at 1600. So, depending on how you performed on the PSAT or previous attempts at the SAT, you may have to devote some serious time and effort to your SAT studies in order to earn such a high score.
Now, what if you’ve already taken the SAT and you don’t have a 1570? Or you think that a 1570 may not be within your reach in the time you have to prepare for your exam? (Side note: Don’t sell yourself short!) Should you not even bother applying to Stanford?
What if Your Score is Below the 75th Percentile?
Does scoring below 1570 automatically mean that you’ve blown your chances of admission to Stanford? Of course not! Again, we have to remember that test scores are just one factor among many. Many students have been accepted to Stanford with SAT scores below the 75th percentile mark. Furthermore, you may have a very impressive application already. So, you may feel quite confident applying to Stanford with a score of, say, 1520 or 1490.
I hear from many prospective college students asking, “Can I get into Stanford with a 1500 SAT?,” or some other score. The answer is not a satisfying one, but it’s always the same: it depends! How is the rest of your application shaping up? Have you demonstrated outstanding academic achievement in your classes? Taken challenging classes? Participated in sports or student governance, or done work in your community? These are just a few examples, but you get the point. Even a perfect score on the SAT might not save you if the other aspects of your application are seriously lacking.
That said, assuming that the rest of your application is shaping up just fine, if you really have your heart set on Stanford and want to use the SAT to give your application an added boost, aiming for at least the 75th percentile mark is generally a solid strategy.
TTP PRO TIP:
All else equal, to help boost your competitiveness at Stanford, aim for an SAT score around the top of the mid-50% range of the most recent class.
Stanford SAT Scores: Key Takeaways
When setting your SAT score goal for Stanford, remember the following key points:
- There is no minimum SAT score required for admission to Stanford.
- The SAT is an important opportunity to show off your knowledge and skills, but it is just one factor among many that Stanford will weigh in evaluating your application.
- There is no “magic number” SAT score that will guarantee admission to Stanford.
- The middle 50% score range of Stanford’s incoming undergraduate classes has increased in both Math and EBRW over the past five years.
- The middle 50% score range of Stanford’s class of 2025 is 1470-1570, with a Math range of 750-800 and an EBRW range of 720-770.
- If you want to use the SAT to give your Stanford application an added boost, aim for the 75th percentile score (the top of the mid-50% range) of the most recent incoming class.
Remember, whatever your SAT score goal, with time, dedication, and the right study materials, you can achieve it!
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