Kate Sundquist 5 min read SAT Info and Tips, Standardized Tests

Here’s How 12 Celebrities Scored on the SAT

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If you’re getting ready to take the SAT, you might be wondering how other people have fared on this storied test. You may be comparing your potential with scores from a sibling, friends, or other family members. Or, perhaps you’re wondering how some of the super successful celebrities did. 

 

In this post, we’ll take a look at celebrity SAT scores. Who knocked it out of the park and who stumbled? What was Obama’s or Trump’s SAT score? How about Mark Zuckerberg’s SAT score? Today we step into the world of celebrity gossip and dissect how some of the most well known people in our country performed on the SAT. You definitely won’t want to miss this post!

 

Where did these scores come from? How is the SAT scored?

 

First of all, let’s be upfront about celebrity gossip. We’re not one of those magazines you see in the checkout line, so we feel pretty confident in telling it like it is—these scores are mostly self-reported. We can’t actually be 100% certain that they’re accurate because we haven’t seen an official score report. Could someone lie about their SAT score? Of course they could. 

 

Where does this data come from, then? These scores are gathered mostly from interviews. While SATs aren’t exactly a common celebrity interview question, they do come up from time to time and are a unique topic for celebrities that have probably heard every question in the books again and again. Wherever possible, we’ve tried to locate the exact interview to confirm that this information came straight from the celebrities themselves, but the disclaimer holds true—we haven’t seen these score reports with our own eyes, so take that as you will. 

 

Before we dive in, let’s review the scoring scale on the SAT. The current SAT is scored on a scale from 400-1600. These composite scores are the result of section scores on a Math test and on an Evidence Based Reading and Writing Test. Each section receives a score between 200 and 800, with 800 being a perfect score. The composite score is simply calculated by adding together the section scores. Currently, average score for Math is 531, and the average score for EBRW is 536. This makes for an average composite score of around 1060 (scores are always reported as an integer multiple of 10).

 

How did your favorite celebrity do on the SAT?

 

While you might think that people in the public spotlight may be ashamed of their below average SAT scores, most celebrities are brimming with confidence—enough so that they aren’t afraid of sharing their scores, even if they didn’t do well. 

 

Likewise, while great SAT scores aren’t a requirement for a successful career on the big screen, or even in US politics, they certainly can’t hurt. So, which US celebrities did great on their SATs and which floundered? Check out the table below to find out. 

 

Remember that the SAT score range is 400-1600, and that the average is 1060.

 

Celebrity Profession/Field SAT Score College
Bill Cosby comedian/actor 500 Temple University
Howard Stern actor/radio personality 870 Boston University
Al Franken politician/comedian/author 1020 Harvard
Bill Clinton former US president 1030 Georgetown
Scarlett Johansson actress 1080 None
Courtney Cox actress 1150 Mount Vernon College (did not graduate)
Al Gore former US vice president 1355 Harvard
Ke$ha singer 1500 Barnard College
Ben Affleck actor “nearly perfect” Occidental College
Bill Gates tech entrepreneur 1590 Havard
Will Smith actor 1600 None
Mark Zuckerberg Facebook founder 1600 Harvard (did not graduate)

What Were Obama’s SAT Scores? How About Trump’s SAT Scores?

 

In a highly divisive political climate, even the SAT scores of recent US presidents have come into arguments from both sides of the aisle. When Obama was in office, Trump loudly criticized his intelligence, questioning how he got into Harvard and demanding that his transcripts and test scores be released. 

 

When the tables turned, Trump had his lawyer, Michael Cohen, send letters to his own alma maters demanding that his records remain sealed. While this may seem unscrupulous, both Obama and Trump are within their rights to keep their transcripts and test scores to themselves. All student records are protected under the 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, so no president (or any person, for that matter) is required to release them. 

 

Discover how your SAT score affects your chances

As part of our free guidance platform, our Admissions Assessment tells you what schools you need to improve your SAT score for and by how much. Sign up to get started today.

 

What is a Good SAT Score?

 

You may be thinking that if you want to become a tech magnate like Zuckerberg or Bill Gates, you’ll need to match their SAT prowess, but luckily this isn’t the case. Celebrity SAT scores hold no weight in determining what a good SAT score is for you. 

 

Overall, the average SAT score in 2019 was 1060. In addition, the CollegeBoard has set benchmarks for college readiness at a math score of 530 and an evidence based reading and writing score of 480.

 

Still, these scores say nothing about what a “good” SAT score is for you personally. A good SAT score for you is the score that will get you into the colleges you want to attend. This will obviously vary from one student to the next. 

 

Take a look at the charts below to find the mid-50th percentile for SAT scores at some of the top colleges in the country. Keep in mind that the more selective a college is, the higher its SAT middle 50% range will be. 

 

If you’re not sure how to understand this chart, let us explain what middle 50% ranges mean. Take Princeton’s as an example, which was 1430-1570. This means that 25% of accepted students scored below 1430, and 25% scored above 1570, with 50% scoring in between. To be the most competitive applicant, you want to score in the upper end of the range, or even above it.

 

Middle 50% SAT Scores at Top 20 National Universities

 

School Name US News Ranking Middle 50% SAT Score Range
Princeton 1 1430-1570
Harvard 2 1460-1590
Columbia 3 1450-1580
MIT 3 1490-1570
U of Chicago 3 1480-1580
Yale 3 1420-1590
Stanford 7 1390-1540
Duke 8 1390-1580
Penn 8 1420-1560
Johns Hopkins 10 1460-1580
Northwestern 10 1420-1560
Caltech 12 1530-1590
Dartmouth 12 1430-1560
Brown 14 1405-1570
Cornell 16 1390-1550
Rice 16 1490-1580
Notre Dame 18 1370-1520
UCLA 19 1240-1490
WashU  19 1470-1570

 

Middle 50% SAT Scores at Top 20 Liberal Arts Schools

 

School Name US News Ranking Middle 50% SAT Score Range
Williams 1 1410-1550
Amherst 2 1390-1540
Swarthmore 3 1380-1550
Wellesley 3 1350-1520
Pomona 5 1430-1560
Bowdoin 6 1420-1550
Carleton 7 1380-1530
Claremont McKenna 7 1350-1500
Middlebury 7 1390-1460
Washington and Lee 10 1380-1480
Colby 11 1350-1510
Haverford 11 1370-1530
Smith 11 1340-1520
Grinnell 14 1320-1530
Hamilton 14 1450-1530
Vassar 14 1380-1500
Colgate 17 1410-1520
Davidson 17 1310-1470
United States Naval Academy 17 1250-1520
Wesleyan 17 1450-1560

 

Tips to Improve Your SAT Score

 

If your SAT score doesn’t fall into the mid-50th percentile at the schools on your college list, you should first try to boost your score. If you’re out of time, or have already taken the SAT three times, you should try to impress the admissions committee in other domains, like your essays. It’s also important to take a step back and be realistic with yourself as to whether the school is an academic match.

 

If you plan to boost your score, however, the best way to do so is to make a reasonable study plan well in advance. Studying in small chunks daily over a prolonged period is a much more reliable way to increase your score. You can learn more about making an effective study plan with our posts Juniors: Use Your Winter Break to Make an SAT/ACT Prep Plan and Your SAT Study Plan for the Summer Before 12th Grade

 

If you’re interested in learning more about a specific section on the SAT, you’ll find our section-specific guides a big help:

 

 

Want to know how your SAT score impacts your chances of acceptance to your dream schools? Our free Chancing Engine will not only help you predict your odds, but also let you know how you stack up against other applicants, and which aspects of your profile to improve. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to gain access to our Chancing Engine and get a jumpstart on your college strategy!

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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.