I am taking the November SAT and would like where to aim.
Ideally you would like to score more than the 25th percentile which I am not wrong, for UPenn it is 1440. Of course, if you get more than 1440 you will be better but as long as you get 1440 or more, you'll be golden for UPenn.
UPenn's Class of 2024 incoming class profile shows 1470/1550 on the SAT and 34-36 on the ACT as the middle 50%, not 1440 as the previous poster suggested. I would aim for 1500-1510 because that is real middle and with that score, you can comfortably feel you have met the benchmark for those submitting test scores. There are different viewpoints on CollegeVine. Some people feel that in a COVID-19 world, that a 25% score is good enough because 50% of the applicants will not have a score to report and 25% will look better than no score. Other posters have suggested that similarly to colleges that have traditionally been test-optional for 10 or more years, reported scores to tend to be higher in the first year those colleges went test-optional. By that argument, they are saying that when Bowdoin, UChicago, Smith went test-optional some years back a.) more people applied to those schools and b.) they received higher SAT/ACT scores from those that voluntarily wanted to report their test scores. So maybe UChicago was 1400/1500 and then the went test-optional and the SAT scores went up as well to 1450/1550 back in the day. Continuing with this train of thought, one can say there is some standardized test inflation at Test-Optional colleges. Personally I think it safe to aim for a test score that is in the middle of the last incoming class.
With 400+ colleges going test-optional this cycle, I don't think anyone can make up strong predictions. A few I can come up with are the following:
1.) More HS seniors will be applying to IVY schools and near IVY Schools and Top ELITES like Stanford, MIT, Caltech because it's within their reach now that the high test score bar has been removed. So more applicants for fewer spots because many Class of 2024 incoming freshman took a deferral or gap year, means that it's highly likely that Admit rates are going to be the same or possibly lower at the schools with the most deferrals like Ivy League schools. Recall that 20% of Harvard frosh took a deferral and they want to start next fall with you.
2.) We can expect some top schools to post higher SAT/ACT scores because these kids took these tests before COVID-19 and were always at the top of their game anyway.
3.) Some schools will be very pro-active in evaluating an applicant's file without a test score focusing more on grades, course rigor, ECS, essays and recommendations so don't feel too much pressure to get a super high score because 1/2 the applicants will not be submitting a score anyway.
If you get a 1480+, I'd submit it. If not don't worry too much. Just my 2 cents.
Best of luck in your preparation and test date!
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