Harvard SAT Scores: Full Breakdown

Harvard SAT Scores: Full Breakdown

Harvard College, the undergraduate arm of the nation’s oldest university, famously demands much of its students. In this article, we will dive into how those expectations extend to the Harvard SAT scores and requirements. Be sure to check out our other posts that discuss Harvard’s ACT and GPA stats and requirements!

What is the average SAT score at Harvard?

As one would expect, Harvard SAT scores are highly competitive. The average score at Harvard hovers around 1520, out of the maximum SAT score of 1600. The 25th percentile for SAT scores at Harvard College lies at a 1460, and the 75th percentile is a 1570. This means that 25% of Harvard College students scored below a 1460, and 25% scored above a 1570. This range reflects the high standards of the institution, but also demonstrates that there is no one score that applicants must achieve for admission.

What is the average SAT English score at Harvard?

The SAT is broken down into two sections: the English, or reading and writing selection, and the math section. Each is scored out of 800 for a combined total of 1600 for the overall SAT score. 

Harvard’s average SAT English score is 750, with a lower 25th percentile score of 720 and an upper 75th percentile score of 780. Therefore, an SAT English score lower than 720 would place you in the lowest 25% of scorers, and a score greater than 780 would place you in the highest quarter of Harvard’s SAT English scores.

What is the average SAT Math score at Harvard?

The average SAT Math score at Harvard College is 770, twenty points higher than the English section score. The 25th percentile of scores falls at 740, and the 75th at 800. This means that the upper quarter of SAT Math scores at Harvard are perfect. However, the majority of scores fall below this mark, so there is no hard and fast expectation that applicants reach this perfect score. Now, let’s consider the requirements as stated by the university itself.

What are Harvard’s SAT requirements?

For the incoming classes of 2027 through 2030, Harvard will not require applicants to submit standardized test scores. In other words, for the upcoming admissions cycle, Harvard is test-optional. However, applicants are still welcome and encouraged to submit whatever materials they feel will help their application. If you have a standardized test score that you are proud of and compares well with the average Harvard SAT scores, you are encouraged to submit it, regardless of whether it is required.

Harvard allows applicants to self-report their SAT scores on their applications. However, those who are admitted and plan to enroll are required to submit official score records. 

As of January 2021, the College Board no longer offers the optional essay portion of the SAT, except under certain circumstances. Subsequently, Harvard does not require the essay section. However, if students have an SAT with Essay score that they would like to submit, they are more than welcome to do so, and the application reviewers will take the scores into consideration. The situation is the same for the SAT Subject Tests, which have similarly been terminated by the College Board – students may elect to submit any SAT Subject Test scores from the last five years. 

More details about Harvard SAT requirements can be found on their Application Requirements webpage. 

What percentage of Harvard applicants submit the SAT?

Of the admitted applicants for the fall of 2021, 54% of students submitted SAT scores. 31% submitted ACT scores, and the remaining 15% presumably omitted standardized test scores from their application. The SAT remains the most popular standardized test for admitted Harvard applicants, but there is no benefit or advantage to taking one test over the other apart from individual circumstance and preference. 

Should I go test-optional?

Submitting a high SAT or ACT score can only help an applicant’s chances for admission to a competitive college like Harvard. We recommend that any student with the means to do so should take the SAT or ACT because of this – if the test goes well and you achieve a competitive score, it will boost your application, and if not, you can choose to omit the score on your Harvard application. Giving yourself a chance to perform well will only help, and poor scores can always be left off of a Harvard application without penalty. 

Once you have received your scores, consider them in the context of the school’s average scores to decide whether to submit to a test-optional school. Harvard’s SAT score statistics are detailed above, and if your scores fall within or above the 25th to 75th percentile ranges, they may be worth submitting. Again, sending in a strong score will boost your application, but choosing not to do so will not hurt your chances. Ultimately, this is a personal decision.

Does Harvard superscore the SAT?

Harvard does not create superscores for its applicants, but as they assess your application, they will take into account the highest scores in each section of the SAT across each test date that applicants submit. Therefore, it is in your favor to consider submitting multiple test scores if you feel that they demonstrate your ability more fully than a single test score. More information about superscoring and other testing FAQs can be found under the Applying to Harvard section on Harvard’s FAQ page.

That being said, Harvard does allow applicants to use the College Board Score Choice option. This means that students can select which test dates they submit scores from. This useful option is a good choice for students who have a score or two they are most proud of and others that they would prefer not to submit.

What’s a good SAT score for Harvard?

Harvard does not have specific SAT score requirements or cutoffs, and they emphasize that they do not admit “by the numbers.” There is no one score requirement that applicants must meet to have their application considered. That being said, most admitted Harvard students have high standardized testing scores. The statistics mentioned above show that the average score is around a 2020, so shooting for a score at or above the average would put you in a good position. The upper 25% of Harvard students scored a 1570 or higher – likely with a considerable number of perfect scorers among them. As expected, a “good” SAT score for Harvard would be quite high.

Anything that falls within the following ranges should put you in the running:


Can I get into Harvard with a low SAT score?

Getting into Harvard with a low SAT score is difficult, but possible. “Low” is a relative term, of course: below-average scores for Harvard are still quite high overall. The lower quartile SAT score at Harvard College is a 1460. This means that Harvard students in the lowest 25% scored at or below a 1460. With this in mind, it would be in an applicant’s best interest to aim for the lower quartile, if not higher. 

However, it is still possible to get into Harvard with an SAT score below these measurements: applicants who demonstrate strong academic and extracurricular performance can stand out in other ways. A student with a below-average score who demonstrates leadership and initiative through a community service project may be judged more favorably than an applicant with an above-average score who doesn’t demonstrate initiative outside of studying and testing.  Therefore, while scores are important, they are not the only thing an upcoming college applicant should devote their time to – extracurricular passions and projects, as well as classes and in-school academics, are just as important, if not more so. 

When should I take the SAT for Harvard?

For students who plan to submit applications during their senior year, the best time to take the SAT for Harvard is generally during the preceding junior spring semester. However, students applying via Restrictive Early Action (REA) can take the SAT up until the early fall of their senior year and still submit their scores for evaluation by Harvard. Specifically, REA applicants should submit their scores by the end of October (the November series is accepted if necessary). Students applying Regular Decision can submit scores from tests as late as the December SAT, but the College recommends submission as early as possible and ideally before the end of November to allow the evaluation process to begin in a timely manner.  Harvard’s First-Year Applicants page has a helpful application timeline to guide you through the details.

What is Harvard’s SAT code?

Harvard’s SAT code for submitting official test scores is 3434

While Harvard no longer requires its applicants to submit standardized test scores, those who do and gain admission to this prestigious university are often high scorers. However, choosing not to submit scores will not harm an applicant. In the end, whether or not to take and submit the SAT is a personal decision for each student to make based on their strengths, priorities, and goals. If you are instead considering taking the ACT, check out our article about Harvard ACT scores, as well as our breakdown of Harvard GPA statistics!

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