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Rita Neumann

Harvard SAT Scores

Update: This post contains data on Harvard SAT Scores based on Harvard’s class of 2020.

So You Want to Go to Harvard…

You dream of singing the fight song as the Harvard Crimson thrash Yale at Harvard Stadium. You want to join the ranks of such notable alumni as FDR, Bill Gates, and Conan O’Brien. Maybe you’ll even get to hear Will Ferrell give your commencement speech, while dressed as a sailor (yeah, this really happened.) And so you’re wondering about Harvard SAT Scores…

I love your ambition! Let’s make it happen.

The Magic Formula for Harvard SAT Scores

There is no magic formula for getting into Harvard. The newest class of students admitted into the hallowed halls of Harvard (including Magoosh’s own Lena Felton) represents a tiny-but-diverse portion of the group that applied. Of the 39,041 students who applied last fall, 2,106 were admitted. Harvard reports that this was a record low of 5.2% admitted. Given that Harvard stated that its previous year’s admission rate of 5.8% represented a record low, we can infer that Harvard admissions have become even more competitive.

So, getting into Harvard isn’t easy, and it’s not getting any easier. But you knew that already. That’s why you want to attend!

What You Need to Get In

When reviewing your application, Harvard is looking for the total package. They want to admit students who will not only thrive academically, but who will also add something new and interesting to their student body. Harvard admissions officers are creating a community of scholars, and they truly value diversity.

The Truth: You will definitely need to have a good GPA and be amongst the top of your high school class. In addition, you will need to excel on your SAT. On your application, you will also need to demonstrate, through extracurricular activities and hobbies, that you value civic engagement, teamwork, and non-academic endeavors.

What SAT Score Do I Need to Get In to Harvard?

Don’t worry – Harvard isn’t looking at you as a faceless SAT score on an online application. In fact, Harvard’s Class of 2020 is a fairly diverse group.

There is no absolute minimum SAT score that you need to get into Harvard. Though, considering that Harvard only admitted 5.2% of applicants last year, it’s safe to say that your entire application has to make an impression.

Remember, as well, that the applicant group of 2016 was in a fairly unique position. They were the last group to take the old SAT! Now that the test has been reformatted, it’s important to look at the in-section scores more than the composite scores to get a sense of your chances in 2017 and beyond.

Harvard Admissions By the Numbers: Harvard SAT Scores

It’s been difficult to get specific information about the SAT scores of Harvard’s admitted classes of 2020. However, I highly recommend reading their report, Meet the Class of 2020 for some interesting interactive charts and graphs.

Some interesting stats about the Harvard Class of 2020:
2234.6: Average composite SAT score

Now, don’t worry/get confused about this composite score! Remember, for future applicants, the scoring scale of the SAT will be different. If you take a look at our ACT to new SAT to old SAT score conversion post, you’ll see that this equates to 1530 on the revised SAT (which the College Board started offering in 2016).

So what’s that look like, section by section?

SectionAverage Score of Entering ClassPercentage of Entering Students Who Scored 700+
Critical Reading73875%
Writing74475% over 710

In Harvard’s own words:

“The majority of students admitted represent a range of scores from roughly 600 to 800 on each section of the SAT as well as on the SAT Subject Tests. The 25th percentile for admitted students on the SAT is about 2100; the 75th percentile is about 2350.” [Emphasis our own.]

What does that mean? The top 25% of admitted students earned a combined SAT score of over 2350 (that’s near perfect). The middle 50% earned between 2100 and 2350. And the bottom 25% earned below 2100. As you can see, 75% of Harvard’s recently admitted class scored above 2100 on the SAT.

In terms of the new SAT, this equates to a combined SAT score of 1580 for the top 25% of students. For the middle 50%, it converts to between 1470 and 1580. And the bottom 25% scored the equivalent of below 1470.

For comparison, TIME reported that the average SAT score, of all the students who took the SAT in 2015, was 1490 out of 2400. Harvard expects high, but not impossible scores. They are definitely achievable with a lot of focus, preparation, and a good study schedule (see SAT Study Resources below for help.)

A Note on Re-Taking the Exam

It’s also important to note here that you can take the SAT more than once. Harvard Admissions understands that people get nervous, and that their first test score is not always indicative of their ability to perform well on the SAT.

So, if you have already taken the test once and didn’t manage to earn a 2100 or above, or 1400 or above on the new SAT, don’t stress. Harvard will see all of your SAT scores, but will only consider your highest scores. There is one caveat, though: Harvard Admissions believes that taking the SAT more than twice offers diminishing returns. And the evidence supports their claim (duh, it’s Harvard – they did their research.) After taking the SAT two times, your score isn’t likely to change much in either direction.

      P.S…Go here for updated information on SAT Score Ranges for the Top 100 Colleges and Universities!

The Takeaway

Study for the SAT! If Harvard is your dream, then you need to start planning early. Take the PSAT your sophomore year, create an SAT study schedule that works in your busy life and in your time frame, beef up your skills with an SAT prep program that works for you (I recommend checking out the Free 1-Week SAT Trial at Magoosh), and consider taking the test twice if you need to.

Prepare yourself to the best of your ability and have no regrets. Hopefully, Harvard will admit you with open arms (and some financial aid.) But, if not, there are plenty of other amazing universities out there that would love to add you to their community.

And for more intel on your chances, Go4Ivy also has a tool that can help predict your admissions chances at competitive universities such as Harvard that you can check out! 🙂

SAT Study Resources


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

P.S. Ready to get your highest SAT score? Start here.
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.

30 Responses to “Harvard SAT Scores”

  1. Amy says:

    I took SAT sophomore year and scored 2370. Will selective colleges like Harvard consider scores taken sophomore year

    • Rita Neumann Rita Kreig says:

      Hi Amy,

      Yes, selective colleges like Harvard will certainly consider your score from sophomore year – especially since it’s well within the range that Harvard is looking for!

      It’s challenging for juniors and seniors to score a 2370, so if you were able to do so well as a sophomore there’s really no reason to take the exam again. Congratulations on acing the SAT and good luck with your college apps! 🙂


  2. A dude says:

    What about act scores? I got a 35 (34 science, 35 math, 35 English, 36 reading)

  3. jannet says:

    will Harvard college consider a freshman with SAT score of 1800 

    • Rita Neumann Rita Kreig says:

      Hi Jannet,

      The average composite SAT score of Harvard’s most recently admitted class was 2237, which means that ~50% of students scored higher than that and ~50% of students scored lower. Only 25% of Harvard’s newest freshman class scored below 2100 on the SAT. So, in order to be considered for admission with an 1800 SAT score, the rest of your application must be absolutely stellar and really stand out from the crowd.

      If you’d really like to go to Harvard, I’d recommend investing more time in SAT prep and trying to get your score closer to Harvard’s average. There are lots of SAT prep options, including 1-1 tutoring and online prep. Magoosh offers online SAT prep, if you’re interested in trying it. 🙂

      I hope that helps! Good luck with your prep.

      All the Best,

  4. Emma Carpenter says:

    Hey, I am a sophomore that
     scored a perfect 2400 on
    November, 2015, and I
    Already took the 800 score
    On 5 Sat2 Subject tests. I also 
    Took a 5 on all of my 9 AP Classes.
    . Would Harvard even take a glance on my paper

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Emma,

      I hope you are joking and don’t think your profile is weak! You have done exceptionally well on tests and your scores definitely support your potential as a candidate at a place like Harvard (and many other places). You should make sure that your essays, other experiences, and overall candidate personality shine through as well (test scores are not enough to get in, honestly) but I would say you are definitely on track to go to whatever school you decide to pursue! 🙂

  5. orhan ersan says:

    good days i really liked your post and this questions are really easy even though i am an 8th student in turkey and i am really working but i heard that harvard might not accept me jut because i am turkish is this true and also they only getting high scores in sat isn’t enough what else should i do 

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Harvard– and U.S. schools in general– have no problem accepting students from every country in the world, including Turkey. If Harvard is your dream school, keep working toward it as you continue on from the 9th grade into high school. You’ve got plenty of time… And it’s always wonderful to hear from a student who is so ambitious and has such great long-term goals.

  6. Nerd says:


    I scored 2500 on my SAT and 800 in every Subject test.

    Will I get into Harvard?


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Did you mean you scored a 2400? That would have been a perfect score on the old version of the SAT. (Pre-2016.) With that and an 800 on the subject tests you took, you’d certainly be in Harvard’s preferred score range. That being said, many factors other than test scores are considered in admissions decisions for Harvard and other top schools. If you have perfect scores as described, though, it’s probably worth your while to apply. Provided your high school grades were good and everything else on your application looks good, I’d say you have a good chance.

  7. Graham says:

    Hi. I score 2380 in SAT 1. I had only 6A’s out of 9 subjects offered. I have little leadership qualities. Will Harvard admit me?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Graham,

      It is really hard to say xyz will definitely cause admissions. You have some great grades and a high SAT score, but leadership qualities, outside non-academic experiences, and the quality of your essays will also all matter. What you need to do is highlight your strengths to put your best foot forward and see what can be done! If you have admissions staff or counselors who can help through your currently institution, I highly recommend getting some help with crafting your application, too! 🙂

  8. Arjun says:

    Hi, I am from UK.
    My grades at school are great for Maths and further math’s but are quite bad for physics and chemistry due to a debilitating illness I had during the exams. Ig I get a near perfect score in the SAT and both subject tests, will I have a good chance of getting in as an international student. Also, which test would you recommend I should take, SAT or ACT?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      First off, sorry to hear that you got sick and your grades suffered. That’s the worst! The SAT and ACT are equally accepted by schools in the United States right now. A small handful of top schools are impressed with students who take both tests, but really you could be fine getting a top score on either one of the two exams.

  9. Rudra Shankar Das says:

    hii I am Rudra from India
    I have scored 80.6 % marks in class 12 final exam in 2016. Now I want to study in US. And also scored 2410 in SAT exam.
    May I apply Harvard University for an undergraduate program??

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Rudra,

      University admissions in the US has a lot more to it than just scores and GPA. You will want to find an admissions expert who can help you with your essays and extra curriculars so that your entire profile is well-rounded. You seem to have academic strength, so you will now need to focus on other parts of your profile! 🙂

  10. anny says:

    Hi! I am an international student. I wrote the SAT without essay and i am going to write the SAT with writing on november, 5. The early action deadline at Harvard is on 1st november and i don’t know if they will see my SAT score from november, or if they will consider my application without it (in case if it gets lost). I have a good score at my previous SAT and also at my TOEFL test (which includes writing section). My application is also very strong.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      According to Harvard’s official web page for application timelines, November 1 is the final deadline for the general application packet, but early November is still an acceptable SAT test date for Early Action applicants– the early November SAT is the “last acceptable testing date” for early applicants, to use Harvard’s exact words. (Read the “Early November” portion of the Harvard timeline to check for yourself.)

      So you should be taking the test with essay just in the nick of time. It may also help to send your previous no-essay SAT score with your initial application packet, along with a note that you’ve done an early November retake with essay. Contact Harvard Admissions directly about that though– you’ll want to check with the source to see if that really is a good idea.

  11. Katniss says:

    I am a student from 8th grade and I want to get into Harvard when I grow up. Just for practice, I gave a mock SAT test on Khan academy, and I got a total score of 1340 out of 1600 without any preparation. Plus, I am very much engaged in extra cuticular activities and I have other hobbies. I am an all rounder student in math, science, English, and social studies. So do you think that I’ll get into Harvard? I was just scrolling through the comments on this page and I guessed that I’m the only one who took the new  SAT test with a total of 1600. Please let me know if Harvard accepts students like me 🙂 

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Katniss,

      Admissions is much more complicated than just a quick glance at some parts of your profile, but it looks like you are on the right track! You need to talk to an admissions expert in the coming years to get more help crafting a complete admissions package as there is a lot more than test scores to consider. You will want to raise your SAT score, too, but a 1340 without any preparation is a fantastic start, especially in 8th grade. Congratulations, and keep at it! 🙂

  12. Ashwani says:

    Is it compulsory that we have to give SAT 1 and SAT 2 “BOTH” for the admission in Harvard?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Ashwani. That depends on your desired department and program. Have you done some research on the Harvard site? That’ll be the best source of information!

  13. Umair says:

    If I have low gpa but sat score is good so is there any chance of me to get in harward

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Umair. Harvard is a very competitive school, and if you have a very low GPA, it will be very hard to overcome that. Polish up all the other aspects of your application and give it your best shot! 🙂

  14. shery says:

    hi i m from india and i got SAT score of 1420 out of 1600.. how muchi need to improve to get into harvard of equivalent university

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Sherry,

      First of all, congrats on taking the SAT and getting such a great score! I’m sure you worked and studied hard to achieve that 🙂 Our expertise is in test prep, not admissions advice, so we can’t really tell you whether these scores are good enough or how much you would need to improve. We do know, however, that test scores alone are not enough to get you into a university. The university will look at your test scores as well as your essays, transcripts, experience, letters of recommendation and other factors in order to create a strong class. Even getting a perfect score on the SAT is not a guarantee that you will be admitted! I encourage you to keep researching and working on your application–the stronger your overall application, the better the chance that you will be accepted!

  15. toki says:

    I’m toki.from bangladesh.
    if I get 2200+ in sat 2, have sufficient background
    in national physics olympiad as well as high school rank in notre dame college of 12 th,
    national awards on art,sing,recite,extempore speech
    and vice president in collge club, I have any chance to apply and get into havard?
    I would like to study in nuclear engineering for future sern job….

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

      Hi Toki,

      Our expertise is in test prep, not college admissions, so I’m afraid I can’t give you any more information than what we provide in this blog post! I recommend that you do some research into this (here’s a good place to start) to get a sense of what Harvard is looking for in an application!

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