The Average SAT Score at University of Pennsylvania

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

View of UPenn building at day time.

What is the Average SAT Score at University of Pennsylvania?

The University of Pennsylvania has an incredible reputation of being one of the very best universities that students can attend for either undergraduate or postgraduate school. But what is the average SAT score at the University of Pennsylvania? Without a doubt, the SAT – and the other standardized test in the United States, known as the ACT – has played a very important role in the admissions process for decades.

Whether you are a student interested in the world of business, science, math, engineering and so much more, you can be confident in the fact that studying at the University of Pennsylvania will offer the kind of education and opportunities that you are looking for.

And while the ways in which standardized tests impact a student’s ability to get into a school have been in flux as of late, it is still really important for students to get all the information they can about admissions at schools that are on their dream list.

University students looking happy while standing outside of the main entrance

That’s why AdmissionSIght thinks it is so important to break down the basic facts regarding the admissions process at the top schools in the United States. Penn is one of the eight schools that make up the incredibly prestigious Ivy League.

For that reason, you can be sure that the University of Pennsylvania typical SAT scores are incredibly high. With that being said, there is no question that achieving the kind of score that is typical of students that get accepted to UPenn is possible.

Moreover, there is also no question that any high school student can do a number of things that can drastically improve their chances of getting into a school like UPenn.

So, if you are interested in learning about the University of Pennsylvania average SAT score, the University of Pennsylvania requirements, or the University of Pennsylvania acceptance rate, then you have absolutely come to the right place! Let’s start breaking all that information down and more so that you can get a better idea of what students need to achieve in order to improve their chances of getting into UPenn!

Let’s get started.

What is the average SAT score at the University of Pennsylvania?

Similarly to the rest of the schools in the Ivy League, the acceptance rate that applying first-year or transfer students have to overcome is the school’s incredible acceptance rate.

As a matter of fact, in the most recent fully completed application cycle, which had students applying to be a part of the 2025 graduating class at UPenn, applicants to the school endured the hardest year ever to get into the school from a historical standpoint! The University of Pennsylvania acceptance rate in 2021 was just 5.68 percent.

From that statistic alone, it should be abundantly clear that students need to have top grades, scores, extracurriculars and more to even have a chance of getting into this school.

a college student standing in the middle of a hallway and looking at the camera

Shockingly, UPenn is just at the middle of the road in terms of difficulty when it comes to the Ivy League, however, with schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Columbia all having substantially lower acceptance rates!

With all this information, you may be wondering what kind of SAT can even prove to be enough to help improve a student’s chances of getting into UPenn. As it turns out, that number is incredibly high. Believe it or not, the average SAT score at the University of Pennsylvania is an incredible score of 1500.

The 25th percentile score for students who get into UPenn is 1440 and the 25th percentile score is 1560. That means that to be above average, you are going to want to score a 1540 or above, which is saying quite a lot considering the fact that a perfect score is 1600.

It’s pretty incredible to think about and can easily become quite frustrating. That’s why it is so important that students prepare for the SAT if they plan on taking it as part of their application process.

As long as we are talking about the choice to take the SAT – or the ACT for that matter – we should discuss the current circumstances regarding the SAT and ACT when it comes to applying to UPenn.

University of Pennsylvania’s standardized test optional policy

As you may already know, a number of schools across the United States elected to adopt a standardized test optional policy soon after the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that in-person testing was going to be impossible for quite some time.

This policy first started during the 2019-20 application cycle, continued into the 2020-21 and 2021-22 application cycles, and it is now clear that it will continue on further.

a female student carrying her bag and notebooks while looking at the camera smiling

Here is what the school currently has to say about its standardized test policy of applying students:

“Test-Optional Update: Penn will not require applicants to submit the SAT or ACT for the 2022-23 application cycle. This applies to first-year and transfer applicants. Applicants who do not submit SAT or ACT scores will not be at a disadvantage in the admissions process.

Students who are able to take the SAT or ACT and wish to report them may continue with that plan. For more information on our test-optional policy, please view our announcement on the Penn Admissions Blog.”

Take a look at the table blow when it comes to Penn’s testing policies for all students at the moment:

Reporting Option Domestic students International students Homeschooled students Recruited athletes Transfer students QuestBridge students
Test optional Yes Yes* Yes Yes** Yes Yes
Self-reported test scores Yes Yes* Yes No** Yes Yes

On top of that, take a look at the deadlines for the current 2021-22 admission cycle that students need to keep in mind if they do plan on taking either the SAT or ACT:

Test Early Decision Regular Decision Transfer Decision
Latest SAT Test Date November 2021 December 2021 March 2022
Latest ACT Test Date October 2021 December 2021 February 2022

Finally, here is some more additional information offered up by the school for students who do plan on taking either the SAT or ACT:

  • “The College Board and ACT provide free resources that can help you prepare for the exams. Follow these links to learn more about preparing for the SAT and the ACT.
  • “Score Choice: Although we permit Score Choice, we encourage students to submit their entire testing history for both ACT and SAT exams.
  • “SAT vs. ACT: No preference is given to the SAT or the ACT. If an applicant submits both tests, we will pay attention to the higher score from either test.
  • “Superscoring: For the SAT, we will combine your highest Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing with your highest Math score across multiple tests to calculate a superscore. For the ACT, we consider the highest individual English, Math, Reading, and Science scores across multiple tests to calculate a superscore composite. If you are self-reporting exams from multiple dates to create your superscore, then we expect you to provide official reports for each test that contributes to your superscore prior to enrollment in line with our self-reported testing policy.”

So, you may have the question, “Should I take the SAT even though it is currently optional at Penn?” Though there is no doubt that you can absolutely get into Penn without taking either the SAT or ACT these days, there are some reasons why you may want to seriously consider taking the standardized test of your choice even amidst the current test optional policy.

First of all, schools have made it clear but once it is possible to do so, they will remove their test optional policy and revert back two standardized tests being required to apply to school.

So students should absolutely expect the ACT or SAT to once again be listed as one of the UPenn requirements in the near future.

Moreover, students who are able to take either the ACT or SAT should absolutely do so. The reason for this is that – as you now know – the acceptance rate at the University of Pennsylvania is incredibly low.

So, students should take every opportunity they can to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. A fabulous score on the ACT can go a long way in doing just that.

So, while it may not be one of the UPenn requirements right now, you should strongly consider taking the exam in order to improve your chances of overcoming the low acceptance rate and getting in!

What is UPenn’s average GPA?

Now that you know the average SAT score at Penn, you may be curious about the average GPA that students get before getting into the school. Overall, there is no arguing against the fact that the single most important factor that is going to lead to any student’s ability to get into any top school is their grade point average.

The level at which a high school student performs academically is going to offer admissions officers at top schools crucial information and evidence that a student will be able to thrive at the college level.

a female student looking at the camera smiling

A student’s grade point average is not only taken into such serious consideration at Ivy League schools because the schools themselves are so competitive, but also because admissions officers at these schools need to feel confident that any student that is let in will be able to keep up with the high demands of curricula at Ivy League schools.

When it comes to the University of Pennsylvania average GPA, students who go onto get into the school earn an average of 3.9 GPA in high school. Because a perfect, straight A GPA is a 4.0, you should already be getting a pretty good idea of just how impressive students have to be to get into this school!

On top of that, students that apply to schools like Penn can’t depend on simply getting great grades in core courses at their high schools.

In fact, students that have the goal of attending an Ivy League school, or top private school, or even top public school, need to make it a priority to enroll in as many advanced courses – such as AP courses – as possible throughout high school.

Most students, these kinds of courses first become available in their sophomore year, so planning out your curriculum and making sure that you have a good balance of difficulty while not setting yourself up for failure by overloading your course load is important.

The biggest reason why students should take AP courses is because admission committees at schools like Penn will take a student’s ability to succeed in these types of courses as a very strong sign that the student will also be able to succeed within the rigorous and competitive academic environment at the university.

One final mention of high school courses to look out for, students who have the goal of attending a top college or university should make sure to have a similar number of core courses on their curriculum by the time they are getting ready to apply to the schools on their list:

  • English: four years, with significant emphasis on writing and literature.
  • Mathematics: four years of any rigorous mathematics incorporating a solid grounding in fundamental skills (algebra, geometry, trigonometry). We also welcome preparation in skills related to statistics, data science and calculus.
  • History/Social Studies: three or more years, with courses that include the writing of essays.
  • Science: three or more years of laboratory science (including biology, chemistry and physics).
  • Foreign Language: three or more years of the same foreign language.

Other tips to improve your chances of getting into University of Pennsylvania

When it comes to getting into top schools like the University of Pennsylvania, students are going to want to be sure that they have more than great grades and standardized test scores if they want to improve their chances of getting in.

Luckily, there are some things that any student can do to make themselves a more appealing candidate in the eyes of the admissions officers at Penn. Here are top tips to consider.

Invest in your extracurriculars

One of the best ways to stand apart from the crowd when it comes to applying to top schools is to achieve great things not only in the classroom, but also outside of it. One of the best ways to achieve great things while in high school is to get deeply involved in a small number of extracurriculars (3 to 5 is advisable) and really invest your time and energy into these activities.

Following your passions is most important, and students should not feel as though they have to get involved in one kind of extracurricular or another to stand out. Whether you are interested in sports and athletics, theater and art, or academic and academic competitions, what matters most is that you take these activities seriously and invest your time.

Doing so will show admissions officers that you’ll get involved in the Penn community and be a positive and productive force on campus.

Write fantastic personal essays

The personal essay section has become even more important in recent years in light of the current test optional policy at Penn.

In order to write the best essays possible, make sure that you give yourself the necessary amount of time to fully understand what is being asked of you, find out how to answer the question to the best of your ability with as much honesty and personality as possible, and make sure to read, review and edit your answers before you send them in. In fact, you will ideally be able to send your essays to a peer, teacher or admissions consultant to review as well before you send your essays as part of your application to Penn.

Earn great letters of recommendation

For every student that wants to apply to Penn, they are required to send in a total of three letters of recommendation as part of their application. The three letters are made up of two separate letters from members of a student’s school faculty, and then one from the high school’s counselor.

In order to make sure that these letters are as great as possible, choose teachers who you have taken many classes with and who have seen you succeed and lead in the classroom.

It is also wise to choose teachers who have taught you in some of your courses that you enjoyed most, or in subjects that you may want to continue studying once you begin your studies as an undergraduate student.

Will you get into the University of Pennsylvania?

There is no clear way to get into UPenn. Truthfully, the students that get into this school are amongst the most impressive students in the world.

In order to be amongst that group, you will have to not only excel in the classroom, but outside of it. Moreover, you will have to make sure that you are sending in a fantastic application to the school’s admission committee.

If you are looking to get into UPenn and think you may need some guidance on how to make that dream a reality, contact AdmissionSight today for a free consultation.




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