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Is SAT 25th or 75th percentile a better indicator of how much schools care about the SAT (or ACT)?

Jedelm23Jedelm23 Registered User Posts: 106 Junior Member
I was looking at the average SAT scores for schools, and I noticed some interesting things. For one, the University of Michigan has the same SAT scores as Princeton (1380-1540), even though Princeton is much more competitive. Also, Yale's 75th percentile is 1600, the only school with a quarter of students achieving perfect scores. Harvard's 25 percentile (1470) is a full 80 points higher than Stanford's (1390). So, as a baseline for how much schools value standardized testing, is the 25th or 75th percentile a better indicator, or are they even good indicators at all?
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Replies to: Is SAT 25th or 75th percentile a better indicator of how much schools care about the SAT (or ACT)?

  • genedorbustgenedorbust Registered User Posts: 76 Junior Member
    edited March 2
    Maybe to some extent, but given the caliber of the applicant pool I don't think it matters much.

    I think Stanford's the only outlier with reasonable interpretation -- Stanford's show they care way less about stats, and I think Harvard had a 1600 SAT 75th percentile in most years too. I will only say that given people with perfect SAT scores seem to be rejected at a 80%~ rate, you're really better off having a perfect score than average.
  • HarrietMWelschHarrietMWelsch Registered User Posts: 2,427 Senior Member
    You can always go into the school's Common Data Set and find an answer, rather than a guess. (Or at least the answer they offer.)
  • Jedelm23Jedelm23 Registered User Posts: 106 Junior Member
    @genedorbust Alright thanks! So you're implying that having an above-average SAT score while applying to Stanford may not actually be that helpful, as opposed to other schools?
  • Jedelm23Jedelm23 Registered User Posts: 106 Junior Member
    @HarrietMWelsch All of those schools list it as "very important" but I have a feeling there's some wiggle-room with that classification.
  • genedorbustgenedorbust Registered User Posts: 76 Junior Member
    I'm implying having a perfect SAT score may be somewhat helpful given that the rejection % of perfect scores would no doubt be lower than the rejection % of other scores, that said there are also a lot of correlating factors unconsidered.

    Then, I'm stating that Stanford generally cares noticeably less about test scores than all its peer schools. Which could mean they also care less about a perfect SAT score than its peer schools.
  • Jedelm23Jedelm23 Registered User Posts: 106 Junior Member
    @genedorbust Ok thanks, I understand. Yeah that makes a lot of sense
  • HarrietMWelschHarrietMWelsch Registered User Posts: 2,427 Senior Member
    @Jedelm23, for any school that's holistic, there's always some wiggle room. Scores at those schools are just a gate to pass through, and perfect ones seldom matter more than near-perfect ones.
  • evergreen5evergreen5 Registered User Posts: 1,379 Senior Member
    edited March 2
    Where are you getting your stats? Do NOT use prepscholar or the like, which adds 75th percentile section scores to make a 75th percentile composite, as that's an inaccurate method. Many students have one section score higher than the other and the true composite range would be narrower than that. Moreover, no school currently (2021 or 2022, as far as I've seen) has 800 as the 75th percentile for both sections. The only reliable data is posted by the school on its website (the class profile or the Common Data Set) or at NCES (Common Data Set, but latest is class of 2021) https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/

    Yale does not report a composite middle 50, so only use the section scores.

    Note that some schools report admitted student stats in their class profile while others report enrolled. (Admitted stats are higher than enrolled.) The Common Data Sets only report scores for enrolled. When you are comparing score ranges of different schools, make sure you are comparing apples to apples.

    (There is an additional wrinkle, that class of 2021 SATs included Old SAT scores concorded to New and mixed in, not only combining these different test types but adding in what turned out to be problematic, the concordance itself. That may have bumped up score ranges by a small amount. Class of 2022 stats include virtually all New SAT scores, a safer bet where accuracy is concerned. Not all schools have yet posted their 2018-2019 Common Data Set with class of 2022 data, but that would be what I'd use to compare if available, or class of 2022 data in the class profile if it represents enrolled student data rather than admitted.)
  • Jedelm23Jedelm23 Registered User Posts: 106 Junior Member
    edited March 2
    @evergreen5
    https://www.veritasprep.com/act-sat-prep/average-sat-scores-top-30-us-universities/
    I got them from here, which might be inaccurate, I'm not sure. But thanks for the tips! I'll be sure to look at the common data sets; Yale's 1600 looked a little bit suspicious in retrospect.
  • evergreen5evergreen5 Registered User Posts: 1,379 Senior Member
    edited March 2
    ^Thanks for the link. Veritas says they got the scores from the 2018 US News ranking. The 2018 ranking was published in Sept 2017, which - I believe - used scores from the prior year's entering class (fall 2016), all of whom would have taken the Old SAT. Essentially, ancient history. (Veritas should be embarrassed, frankly.)
  • Jedelm23Jedelm23 Registered User Posts: 106 Junior Member
    @evergreen5 Ah yes that would make sense. I checked and they were way off. Princeton and Michigan have wildly different stats and yale is not one quarter perfect scorers.
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 9,845 Senior Member
    Respondents thus far have not considered the specific nature of this interesting question. That is, can the details of a score range indicate anything about the value a school places on standardized scoring. This will not, beyond the raw data provided, be evident from Common Data Sets.
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 9,845 Senior Member
    edited March 2
  • Jedelm23Jedelm23 Registered User Posts: 106 Junior Member
    @merc81 Thanks so much! I think I'll take a look and report back on anything interesting I find. My gut feeling is that the 25th percentile relates more to how schools value SAT scores and the 75th is most likely relating to how students view the prestige/academic atmosphere of those schools, if that makes sense.
  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 Registered User Posts: 1,585 Senior Member
    Remember also that a significant proportion of students below the 25%ile were hooked in some way, such as recruited athletes, legacies, URMs
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