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Rita Neumann

Yale SAT Scores to Aim For

Update: This post on Yale SAT scores contains data based on the Class of 2021. Good luck Class of 2022 Yale applicants! (October 10, 2017)

Yale SAT Scores-magoosh

Applying to Yale?

If you’re thinking about applying to Yale, you probably already know that your admissions journey is going to be a competitive one. But I’m guessing that competitive academics is sort of your thing, so … congrats! You’re already on the right track.

Right about now, you’re probably in one of two situations:

  • You haven’t taken the SAT yet and you’re just beginning to plan your college application strategy for next year, or even two years down the line.
  • You took the SAT once already, and you’re wondering if your score is good enough to be considered a Yale SAT score.

Either way, you’ve come to the right place!

What You Need to Get Into Yale

Yale is the third oldest university in the United States, and a prestigious member of the Ivy League. Admission into Yale isn’t for your average student. Yale adcoms carefully sift through thousands of undergrad applications each year (32,900 in 2017 alone), and almost every student that applies is academically stellar.

Think of it this way: Yale adcoms need ways to narrow down a pool of over 30,000 applicants to form a freshman class of fewer than 2,500 students (2,272 for the 2017/2018 freshman class – only 6.9% of applicants). They have to be picky! (And let’s be honest – they love the exclusivity.)

The more of these bullet points that describe you, the better chances of being accepted to Yale:

  • You are at or near the top of your high school class.
  • You have extracurricular activities that demonstrate your leadership skills and social-mindedness.
  • You have a unique background or point of view.
  • You have exceptional SAT scores.

Not all of these characteristics are under your control – but your SAT scores can be.

Average Yale SAT Scores

Each year, Yale releases interesting facts about its incoming freshman class. This includes Yale SAT scores of the latest students.

Let’s take a look at the Class of 2021:

SAT Score RangeEvidence-Based
Reading & Writing
below 6001.1%1.8%

Yale is still allowing applicants to submit scores from the pre-2016 version of the SAT. Here’s how Yale’s Class of 2021 scored on the old test:

SAT Score RangeCritical ReadingMathWriting
760-80047.7% 55.4%51.6%
below 6003.9%2.9%3.8%

As you can see, there isn’t one magical, super-specific Yale SAT score that the adcoms are looking for. But, you can also see that approximately 75% of the incoming freshman class scored above a 700 on each section of the new SAT. Out of the students who submitted scores from the old SAT, about 50% scored higher than 760 on each section.

Those are some impressive scores!

Some Needed Perspective

If your SAT score is in the lower range, all is not lost. Yale looks at more than the numbers on your application to determine whether or not to admit you. You’re not just a number on a page. There is no required score that you must earn in order to be admitted into Yale. Your score is just one piece of the puzzle.

Actually, instead of a puzzle, think of your application as a pie chart:

Yale SAT Scores Pie Chart-magoosh

When Yale looks at your application, your test scores are only 1/3 or less of what they are interested in. Your GPA and difficulty of your high school classes, along with your personal statements, extracurriculars, and unique persona also play a part. This has its pros and cons.

One pro is that your Yale SAT scores aren’t the be-all-end-all of your application! Maybe you aren’t a great standardized test taker (trust me – this is a learned skill), but you did very well in school, were the captain of the soccer team, and volunteer on the weekends. As a result of your hard work in the other areas of your application, you’re still looking good to the admissions committee!

However, one con is that the SAT is still approximately 1/3 of your application. As a result, all the time you studied for the SAT, plus the 4 hours of your life you spent taking the SAT, determines quite a sizable chunk of your application. You spent four whole years improving your GPA and developing your interests outside of the classroom, but your SAT score was determined in one measly morning.

What You Can Do

So, what can you do to earn great Yale SAT scores? Prepare, prepare, prepare! If you haven’t taken your SAT yet, or if you have time to retake it before applying to Yale next fall, then you have plenty of time to study and ready yourself for the SAT. Test taking is a skill that can be learned over time and with practice, just like playing Ping-Pong or leaning the ukulele.

The best thing you can do right now is create a reasonable SAT study schedule for yourself that you’ll be able to stick to consistently between now and test day. Study a little every day until a day before the test … then relax!

One way to fit SAT studying into your busy schedule is to download a Free SAT Flashcard App and start quizzing yourself on the most common SAT vocab words. You can do this while waiting in line at the grocery store, during commercial breaks of your favorite TV shows, in between classes – basically any time you have a spare 5 minutes or so. Making time that is normally unproductive and boring into SAT study time is an incredibly valuable way to sneak in quick study sessions without drastically changing your life. Little bits here and there really add up!

Another very important step in the SAT study process is to find a prep program that works for you. Look for a program that mimics the types of questions that you’ll find on the SAT, and stick to it. Magoosh offers a 1-Week Free Trial of our SAT program – check it out!


Improve your SAT or ACT score, guaranteed. Start your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh SAT Prep or your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh ACT Prep today!

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About Rita Neumann

Rita creates fun, inspiring, and educational resources that introduce students to Magoosh and help them prep for their exams. She earned both her BA and Master of Pacific International Affairs from UC San Diego, where she also studied Spanish, French, and Portuguese. Rita loves education and marketing, just as much as she loves vinyasa yoga and baking chocolate chip cookies.

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