Average SAT Subject Test Scores for Harvard

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you.

Spread the love


Harvard University, one of the most prestigious higher-education universities in the United States, is situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to QS World University Rankings of 2022, it’s within the top 5 universities worldwide. Therefore, it’s safe to say that admissions are incredibly competitive, and getting admitted as an undergraduate student is no walk in the park.

Harvard is known for its numerous Nobel prize winners, focusing intensely on research and academics. While it might sound intimidating, as the courses are considered challenging, getting admitted is not impossible. One of the most critical components to focus on are the SATs. However, remember that admission officers want to witness extracurriculars, community work, and extraordinary passion.

Regardless, for this article, the main topic of discussion revolves around the average SAT subject test scores required for Harvard. Learn about the standards, whether the scores are essential, and how many subject tests are recommended.

Does Harvard Consider SAT Subject Tests?Does Harvard Consider SAT Subject Tests?

As you might already know, College Board no longer offers any subject tests. Hence, if you’re considering sitting for them right now, you’re already too late for the party. The reason it was discontinued is due to the excessive demand present on students. Individuals are no longer required to portray their knowledge by sitting for numerous subject tests.

Regardless, if you have your subject test scores from the past 5 years, you can use them for your Harvard application. However, remember that SAT subject tests are not a requirement for your Harvard application.

As for Harvard SAT requirements in general, you could choose whether you want to submit your scores or not. That is the requirement for both typical standardized tests, the SATs and the ACTs. However, if you have outstanding scores, the more innovative option would be to include them when applying to any university. That would be one component that makes you stand out.

Regardless, you will have the option of submitting your subject test scores, even if they’re no longer administered. The admission officers look over all the material you submit. Hence, if you believe it might increase your chances of getting admitted, do not hesitate to include them.

How Important are SAT Scores to Get Into Harvard

How Important are SAT Scores to Get Into Harvard?

As the competition is incredibly tough for admissions into Harvard, SAT scores are essential in determining whether you get accepted. For example, below are the statistics for the class of 2026:

  • Number of applicants: 61,221
  • Number of admitted students: 1,954
  • Percentage admitted: 24%

Hence, as one can observe, the admissions are not simple. But how important are SAT results for Harvard admission?

As you might already know, the SAT comprises 2 sections, all multiple-choice questions. These are the reading and mathematics sections. There is also an additional writing section, known as the SAT essay. Each part adds up to 800 points, with the total SAT score at 1600.

Moreover, you might be familiar with the percentile scores given with your SAT test score. This number portrays where you stand in the pool of test-takers. For example, if you receive an overall standing of 95th percentile, it signifies that you have performed better than 95% of test-takers.

Average Harvard SAT Test Scores

Regardless, the percentile you receive on your official SAT test score differs from the percentiles Harvard considers. For example, the percentiles below indicate the SAT test scores of students admitted to Harvard. It will reflect the average, high, and low scores they would be looking for:

  • Harvard 2021 25th percentile: 1480
  • Harvard 2021 75th percentile: 1580
  • Harvard 2021 Fall acceptance rate: 4%

It’s safe to say that to be considered for Harvard, your SAT test score should be pretty high. Scoring 1480 places you at a below-average score for admission into Harvard, while it’s definitely considered to be within the 90th percentile amongst SAT test-takers worldwide.

As for the individual sections, below is an illustration of the percentiles and test scores required:

  • Math: Average is 770, 25th percentile stands at 740, and the 75th percentile is 800
  • Writing + Reading: Average is 750, 25th percentile stands at 720, and the 75th percentile is 780

Scoring below the average does not necessarily mean you won’t be admitted. However, you must have solid supportive material, like other examinations, extracurriculars, and projects, to boost your application.

As for the required Harvard SAT scores for international students, they’re mostly the same thing. However, aim for a minimum of 1500 as a composite score to boost your chances. A composite score is a total from both sections of the SAT.

How Many are SAT Subject Tests Recommended to Get Into Harvard?

How Many are SAT Subject Tests Recommended to Get Into Harvard?

The fact that SAT subject tests are not a mandatory part of the application process does not mean you neglect them. If you have stellar scores on the subject tests, submitting them simply to portray your strengths and overall knowledge might be a great idea.

So, you might be wondering, “how many SAT subject tests should I take for Harvard?” Harvard University recommends you submit two subject test scores related to the major you’re applying to. It’ll make your overall application more substantial and more relevant.

Another critical point is that you don’t need to submit two mathematics subject tests. Instead, submit only one of them, the highest score you have received. Moreover, if you have taken an English subject test but your first language is not English, sending in the subject test you took in your first language is better.

Otherwise, SAT subject tests are not a mandatory part of your application, as they are not being offered anymore by the College Board.

What is the Average SAT Subject Test Score for Harvard?

What is the Average SAT Subject Test Score for Harvard?

First, remember that SAT subject test scores are not mandatory for any Ivy League application. Hence, if you have not taken them, or they’re simply not impressive enough, do not beat yourself up. No one is going to ask you to submit them.

That said, the specific average GPA, SAT score or subject test for any Ivy League is never explicitly specified. Instead, they all make a point of making it known that the approach they take is more of a holistic approach. That means the specific averages are never very accurate, as these universities often choose not to release all their data.

So what are the average SAT subject test scores for Harvard? It’s safe to say that you need higher than the national or the international standard. That’s merely because these universities are highly competitive and always strive to admit only high-achieving students.

Hence, aim for at least 700 out of 800 on any of your subject tests. This will allow you to compete with other applying students at the bare minimum. As Harvard does not specify its averages, you can often compare it to other Ivy Leagues.

For instance, MIT usually admits students who have a 720-800 on their science subject test. As for Princeton, a score of 710 or higher is often the average admission score.

Regardless of the specific score, things might vary from one year to another. Hence, you should aim to be within the 95th percentile or even higher. That’s because such Ivy League universities only admit exceptionally great students with competitive grades, experiences, backgrounds, and extracurriculars. Hence, ensure that no matter what your application contains, it makes you stand out in the pool of applicants.

What are Harvard's GPA Requirements?

What are Harvard’s GPA Requirements?

As you might already know, your GPA is one of the most essential components in any application. Any university will review your status according to how well you perform in high school. Hence, Harvard University is not an exception. Moreover, as they’re looking for stellar performance and outstanding students, one could expect the average GPA to be incredibly high.

And that’s precisely the case. The average GPA for Harvard is around 4.04 out of 4.0 as a weighted GPA. As for the unweighed GPA, it’s approximately 4.0. The difference is that a weighted GPA considers your grades and the level of courses you have sat for. However, the unweighted GPA is always out of 4.0 and does not consider the difficulty level of classes.

Hence, Harvard University often looks at your high school transcript to reflect your weighted GPA. That’s why it is higher than expected. Regardless, it all approximates to having straight As throughout your academic life, which is not an easy accomplishment.

But what about the average ACT score for Harvard? One would say it’s approximately 33 out of 36. However, the 25th percentile usually stands around 33, and the 7th percentile is about 35. Hence, applying with an ACT score of below 33 might weaken your application. Moreover, as you don’t have to send in your standardized test scores, you might not need to send them in if your score isn’t as great as you hoped.

What are your Chances of Getting Accepted Into Harvard?

What are your Chances of Getting Accepted Into Harvard?

At this point, everyone knows how difficult it is to get admitted into any Ivy League. They’re looking for an extensive list of high grades, incredible experiences, good background, and other elements to make you stand out. Hence, measuring up to the expectations is not a piece of cake. Instead, one has to rack their brain to find the ideal application method.

The overall acceptance instead of Harvard is around 3-5%. That means that out of every 100 students that apply, only 3-5 students get into the university. As for the lowest SAT score for Harvard, no one can expect to get in with anything less than 1400. The average is even much higher than that, standing at approximately 1520.

So what are the general admission requirements for Harvard University? Below is a brief list of everything you’re expected to show:

  • GPA
  • SAT & ACT (if applicable)
  • The Common Application
  • Universal Application
  • Electronic Application
  • Personal Statement
  • 2 letters of recommendation
  • An interview
  • An application Fee
  • Fee waiver requirements

Keep in mind that the university is incredibly lenient regarding people who cannot afford some basic requirements. They even offer multiple scholarship options, which is one of the great things about the university.

Circling back to the main question, how difficult is it to get into Harvard? The gist is that it’s tough, and everyone has a safety net to fall back on just in case they are not accepted into the university.

Wrapping Things Up: Average SAT Subject Test Scores for Harvard

The bottom line is that the averages portrayed for Harvard’s SAT subject test scores are inaccurate. The university does not release its admission data and criteria to the public. Hence, all the numbers are composed of approximations rather than specific numbers.

Hence, when applying to Harvard, avoid adding any SAT, ACT, or SAT subject test scores if they’re not outstanding. You’re not obliged to send in these standardized test scores. Hence, if you’re doubting whether they’re good enough, only send in the scores and information you’re very optimistic about.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

If you found this helpful, help us out by sharing this post!


Readers of this post also read...

Should You Take the GRE or the GMAT?

Should You Take the GRE or the GMAT?

Graduating from college does not mean that you will stop learning. You can continuously pursue your education in a graduate business program. However, the universities usually ask you about your standardized test result. Perhaps, you...

Read More