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If you do not have good AP scores, but you have really good SAT scores (1400+), do you still have a chance at getting into ivy leagues?

Asked Aurora, Colorado

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Peter’s Answer

Updated New Jersey, New Jersey

Well, low 1400's is pretty marginal, but high 1400's would at least put you in the ballpark for consideration (i.e., bottom 25% of accepted applicants at most Ivies). I note that the median SAT score per section is in the mid- to high- 700s for most top tier schools. For example, the median SAT math score for MIT is 780, and 40% score 800. You need more than high SAT scores and grades to get into an Ivy League school.

My oldest son scored 1600 on his SATs (800 Math, 800 Verbal, and 780 on the discontinued writing section), 5's on all his AP exams (I think he took 12 of them), and not quite straight A's but close (i.e., 4 B's in high school and rest were A's). He did not get into any Ivy League schools. (He turned out fine, by the way; he's in graduate school now at UCLA for a PhD in applied math.) My youngest son scored 1580 on his SATs, 5 on all AP exams and also close to straight A's. While he got into UC Berkeley, he did not get into a single Ivy League school that he applied to.

This is not meant to discourage you, but rather highlight that is extremely competitive to get into the top schools. However, it isn't necessary to get into your first choice school or any Ivy League school, for that matter, in order to have a satisfying career and life. By all means, apply to the Ivies (or at least some of them), but don't obsess about getting in. Instead, take the classes that interest you, and spend time on the things that give you joy. Life will be a lot less stressful and much more pleasant.