31 Universities with the highest SAT scores in 2021 | This Week in Admissions News

03 NOV 2022

The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students with top university ambitions, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. This week, US News revealed its list of the 31 universities with the highest combined average SAT reading and math scores for fall 2021 entrants. Check back next week to see what’s new and noteworthy in university admissions!

Average SAT score of 1494 at 31 colleges with the highest scores for fall 2021 entrants

Despite the rise in test-optional and test-blind policies during Covid admissions times, many admissions experts encouraged students to take the SAT and report scores. This week US News revealed the 31 universities with the highest combined average SAT reading and math scores for fall 2021 entrants. While the average SAT score for the class of 2021 was 1060, per the College Board, applicants admitted to schools on this list earned much higher marks. The average score for these 31 universities was 1494.

University of Chicago - ranked sixth on the National Universities list released earlier this year - topped the list with an average combined SAT score of 1545. The rest of the top five were made up of MIT with a score of 1538, Stanford with a score of 1528, Washington University in St. Louis with a score of 1522 and Harvey Mudd College with a score of 1520.  

Test optional colleges accept but do not require SAT or ACT test scores. It’s entirely up to you whether you want to submit your test scores or not. If you’ve done well on your SATs, feel free to show off that score. On the other hand, if your score is below average, you may choose not to disclose your score and work on improving your application in other areas. On the other hand, when a school claims to be “test-blind,” they’re saying that test scores will not be considered at all in the admissions process. This means that even if you take the SAT or ACT and have your score reports sent to a test-blind school, the admissions office will neither see nor consider your score as a factor in your admission decision. 

Of the 31 universities on the list, only two - MIT and Georgetown - required students to submit their SAT scores for admissions. More colleges are placing less emphasis on SAT scores, instead focusing on other factors in the admissions process such as GPA, course rigor, extracurricular activities, essay prompts and letters of recommendation. Many of the same names come up on a variety of top universities lists that have been released recently.

Other top stories in admissions news this week:

  1. College admissions in the United States might be set to change forever as the Supreme Court hears two cases concerning race-based admissions policies at elite institutions like Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. NPR, Reuters and ACLU all delve further into the issue. Affirmative action helps underrepresented groups to gain admission to colleges where, for centuries, they have been underrepresented. This Supreme Court case is the latest in a spate of disputes surrounding admissions at top colleges in the US, with institutions coming under fire for their policies, fee structures and general admissions philosophies. 
  2. In related news, Forbes argued the case to end legacy admissions at elite universities like Harvard. Education Reform Now released a report showing data on legacy admissions and how they should end if fairness is to be maintained. Universities like Johns Hopkins and Amherst abandoned these admissions a few years ago. 
  3. QS released its university sustainability rankings to see how universities are taking action to tackle the world's most pressing environmental and social issues. UC Berkeley is the global leader, followed by the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia. The University of Edinburgh (4th) is the top British institution while The University of New South Wales and The University of Sydney—share fifth place. The University of Tokyo (7th) is Asia's leader. UPenn, Yale and The University of Auckland complete the top-10. All the universities were ranked based on their environmental and social impact.
  4. The Times reports that leaders of Britain’s top private schools are concerned over the methods used to boost state school enrollment at Oxford and Cambridge. The article notes that according to new statistics, for the first time, state school students were more likely to be admitted to Cambridge than those from private schools. In response, Helen Mountfield, principal of Mansfield College, Oxford, said the university should take even more state school students to fairly identify talent. Between 2017 and 2022, Cambridge’s state school intake increased from 62.7% to 72.5%, and Oxford’s from 58.2% to more than 68%. 
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