NYU SAT and ACT Scores: What You Need to Get In

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So You Want to Go to NYU…

Maybe you come from an NYU legacy family and have been planning your bright future in Manhattan for the last two decades. Or maybe you just picked up an NYU brochure at your high school’s college fair and the only thing you know about the school is what its acronym stands for.

Whatever led you to this post, if you have any interest in NYU, chances are you’ve found one (or all!) of these things about the school compelling:

  • NYU is the largest private research university in the US, with a large budget to spend on top-notch facilities and an impressive location to lure the most talented faculty. NYU is home to many competitive programs (such as Tisch Film, Stern Business, Clive Davis School of Recorded Music, the list goes on…) that are considered some of the best in the world within their industries.
  • NYU has more study abroad programs than any other university in the United States, as well as two accredited satellite campuses in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi. Students at NYU have access to a huge of network of connections all around the globe.
  • NYU is located in New York City, one of the most influential cultural hubs in the world. Attending college in NYC places students geographically at the center of an enormous number of industries. Beyond networking, living in the big city also teaches students a resilience and maturity that most people won’t be getting from their college experience.
  • This could also be the only time you’ll be able to afford to live in downtown Manhattan.

NYU SAT Scores NYU ACT Scores -magoosh

The next step is getting in.

There’s a lot more to a successful college application than just your test scores. However, almost all schools require that applicants submit either SAT or ACT results to be considered for admission. So tackling these tests is a great place to start. And we’re here to help!

Keep reading for a whole lot of information about NYU SAT Scores (…or NYU ACT Scores, if that’s what you’re into). Once you know what to aim for, we’ll talk about how to get your scores where they need to be.

The Magic Formula for Getting Accepted!

There is no magic formula for getting into NYU. Sorry 🙁

When I was a junior in high school, I made a list of colleges and went over it with my guidance counselor. It was a big high school, and she didn’t know me very well. But she did have an intimate knowledge of my GPA and test scores.

As we went down the list, next to the name of each school she wrote whether she thought that school was a “safety school” and “good fit” or a “reach” for me. And while she encouraged me to still apply to the “reach” schools, she let me know that I would probably end up at one of the “good fit” institutions.

But by the time spring of my senior year came around, I had been waitlisted (and eventually denied) at every single college my counselor had written “good fit” next to. I knew my SAT scores were way above the average for students typically admitted all of those schools. But I still didn’t get accepted to any of them. I was freaking out.

NYU SAT Scores NYU ACT Scores

There’s a lot that goes into admissions, and test scores only account for about a third (or less) of the decision whether to admit or deny a student. It’s possible that your SAT or ACT scores could be the deciding factor for the NYU admissions committee – but they aren’t magic.

This was discouraging for me to learn first hand. I’m sure it’s a little discouraging for you to hear. But don’t worry! There’s a lot that you can do to make sure your application is looking as good as possible when it slides across the NYU adcoms’ desks.

What the Admissions Committee is looking for…

When reviewing your application, the NYU admissions committee will be looking for the whole package. You will almost certainly need to have a good GPA, good test scores, and be near the top of your high school class. However, like many schools, NYU values a student body of diverse, innovative thinkers, and they will accept a ‘good fit’ applicant over one with higher academic achievement.

When completing your application, make sure to demonstrate not just your intellectual drive, but also your initiative and leadership experience. This could be displayed through your work history, community involvement, family responsibilities, and other informal good deeds. You’re much more than a test score, so make sure the adcom can see that.

NYU SAT Scores NYU ACT Scores

GPA and test scores are important, but other factors (such as extracurricular activities and letters of recommendation) will also play a big role. NYU requires a supplemental essay as part of your application, which is an important time to shine. You need to convince the admissions committee that you’re not just a great fit for some college – you’re a great fit for NYU.

NYU Admissions Data

The newest class of students admitted into NYU represents a small-but-diverse portion of the group that applied. Of the 67,000 students who applied last fall, 18,520 were admitted. This means NYU’s admissions rate is currently about 27%. This is the lowest admissions rate NYU has had in the last 16 years. Given that five years ago, NYU’s acceptance rate was 35%, it’s obvious that admissions at NYU are becoming even more competitive.

But don’t let that discourage you! Just take it one step at a time – starting with your test scores.

NYU SAT Scores NYU ACT Scores

What Kind of Scores Do You Need to Get In to NYU?

Don’t worry too much about your test scores – as I just said, NYU isn’t looking at you as a faceless score on an online application.

There is no absolute minimum SAT or ACT score that you need to get into NYU. However it’s safe to say that your entire application has to make an impression, and a strong test score will definitely reflect positively on you.

NYU Admissions By the Numbers: NYU SAT Scores

NYU won’t release its admitted student data for 2017 until the spring of 2018. Because of this, we’ll have to go off the test scores for the Class of 2020.

Don’t panic! Trends in scoring for admitted students generally stay stable from one year to the next. However, since the SAT scores reported by NYU are from the old SAT (before March 2016), we will have to convert the scores to reflect the new version of the test.

For students who submitted SAT scores and were admitted to NYU in 2016, the 25th and 75th percentile composite scores were 1880 and 2210. This translates to a 25th percentile composite score of 1340, and a 75th percentile composite score of 1520 on the new SAT.

What does that mean? Well, it means the top 25% of students admitted to NYU this year earned a combined SAT score of over 1520 (which most likely means scoring well over 700 on both parts of the SAT). The middle 50% earned between 1340 and 1520. And the bottom 25% earned below 1340. Therefore, 75% of NYU’s current sophomore class scored above a 1340 on the SAT.

It’s generally a good practice to aim for an SAT score around the 75th percentile of whatever the school your looking at has recently admitted. Having a concrete goal will help you focus your studying, and hitting the 75th percentile of NYU SAT scores will give you a really nice cushion as you go into the admissions process.

While NYU may be your dream school, chances are that there other schools on your list too. For that reason we’ve put together a post covering the SAT score range for each of the top 100 colleges and universities in America. More than one goal score never hurt anyone!

NYU Admissions By the Numbers: NYU ACT Scores

For students who submitted ACT scores and were admitted to NYU in 2016, the 25th percentile score was 29; the 75th percentile score was 33.

Same drill here. Shooting for the 75th percentile of NYU ACT scores will make your own score competitive, so try to aim for a 33 – and definitely make a point to score a 29 or higher.

A Note on Re-Taking the Exam

It’s also important to note here that you can take both the SAT and the ACT more than once. People who work in admissions understand that students get nervous, and that their first test score is not always the best they can do.

NYU super scores, which means they will make their decisions based on the highest scores you get – even if that means taking the Math score from one SAT attempt and your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score from another (same goes for ACT superscores). So even if there’s just one section you could see yourself improving in, it may be worth taking the test again.

NYU SAT Scores NYU ACT Scores -magoosh

The Takeaway

A well-rounded application is extremely important. Scores aren’t everything. However, test prep should be your friend! There are a lot of parts of the admissions process that you won’t be able to control, but your SAT or ACT scores are something that you can have a real say in.

If attending NYU is your dream, then you need to start planning early.

  • Figure out whether the SAT or ACT is best for you.
  • Take the PSAT or PreACT your sophomore year.
  • Create a study schedule that fits into your busy life. I would strongly recommend finding a test prep program that works for you (consider checking out the Free 1-Week SAT Trial or the Free 1-Week ACT Trial from Magoosh).
  • Think about taking the test twice if you need to.

Prepare yourself to the best of your ability – if you’ve done your best, there’s nothing to regret.

NYU SAT Scores NYU ACT Scores

Hopefully, NYU will admit you with open arms (and a lot financial aid)! But, if not, there are many of other amazing universities out there that would love to add you to their community. That’s what happened to me. 😉

But for now, it’s time to get studying!

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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  • Molly Kiefer

    Molly is one of Magoosh’s Content Creators. She designs Magoosh’s graphic assets, manages our YouTube channels and podcasts, and contributes to the Magoosh High School Blog.

    Since 2014, Molly has tutored high school and college students preparing for the SAT, GRE, and LSAT. She began her tutoring journey while in undergrad, helping her fellow students master math, computer programming, Spanish, English, and Philosophy.

    Molly graduated from Lewis & Clark College with a B.A. in Philosophy, and she continues to study ethics to this day. An artist at heart, Molly loves blogging, making art, taking long walks and serving as personal agent to her cat, who is more popular on Instagram than she is.


By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!

2 Responses to NYU SAT and ACT Scores: What You Need to Get In

  1. Ashraf Sangi October 4, 2019 at 4:26 pm #

    hey, so my brother went to nyu. Can him going to NYU help me get in?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 7, 2020 at 10:09 am #

      Our best recommendation is to contact NYU’s admissions office directly and find out what test scores, GPA, and other factors you may need in order to be accepted. Good luck with your application!

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