If you haven’t heard already: Registration for SAT tests in the second half of 2022 is already open!
This March, two years after the COVID19 outbreak, MIT announced that it will resume its standardized test score requirements in the admission process, requiring all applicants to submit SAT/ACT scores. Stuart Schmill, Dean of Admissions and Student Financial Services, said that in most cases, it is difficult to accurately predict whether an applicant will succeed in college without standardized tests to back up GPAs, performance at school, and other factors. For Asian applicants, whether for MIT or other schools, submitting an SAT/ACT score seems to have become a must-do to win a spot at a top-tier college.
Many students choose to study for the SAT or ACT test during the summer. For those who are now determined to fight their tests to the end, what range is considered a good SAT score among all applicants? Let's take a look at the SAT score distribution chart based on data from College Board below.
As we can see from the above chart, if a student scores 1500 and above, that performance already surpasses 98% of all test takers; if a student scores above 1350, he or she is already among the top 10%.
In the US, students performance on the SAT test varies depending on the high school they attend. Based on available data, the most intense competition happens where the high school has a higher proportion of Asian students. The Asian population, amounting to only 6% of the total population of the United States, has single-handedly pulled up the average SAT score at almost every high school.
At San Ramon Valley High School, where only 10% of the students are Asian, the average SAT score is just over 1200 and the average ACT score is 26; at Berkeley HS, where 9% of the students are Asian, the average SAT score is lower than 1200 and the average ACT score is 23
Meanwhile, Monta Vista High School in Cupertino, Northern California, where Apple is headquartered and with more than 80% of its students being Asian students, has an average SAT score of 1416 (5 points higher than last year) and an ACT score of 31. Every year, its graduates have been admitted to Harvard, MIT, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, University of Chicago, Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke, Cornell, Brown, Carnegie Mellon, and other prestigious schools.
Certainly, not every student needs to hit the 1500 mark. We have also strongly advised against being too ambitious or aggressive when creating a college list, and instead decide carefully evaluate your own profile (including GPA, standardized scores, extracurricular experience, etc.) to create a tiered College List.
The admission review process is one that select talents through multi-dimensional evaluations. Depending on what their target institutions are, students should plan their SAT or ACT test-taking accordingly. Below is a chart summarizing the SAT and ACT performance of the middle 50% of the entering classes at a few universities, varying in selectivity.
As shown in the chart, the vast majority of students admitted by the most selective schools have an SAT scores higher than 1460; followed by other test takers in the top 10% (scoring above 1350) admitted by selective, popular schools like Georgia Institute of Technology and USC, with a rankings between 25-35.
Popular choices for engineering and CS majors, such as Santa Clara University and Purdue, have a wider range of standardized scores and are relatively less selective.
With some schools still maintaining their test-optional policies and other resuming requirements for standardized test scores, test taking can seem hard to navigate for applicants at every stage of preparation.
For this very reason, it is crucial for students to identify their goals for the coming application season as soon as possible, and then strategize taking their standardized tests accordingly. At Enlighteens, we are dedicated to helping students with all kinds of backgrounds at every stage of the application process. We believe that every student, possesses their own unique qualities and strengths, and with personalized planning, we strive to make them become the best version of themselves.