After the transcript, colleges give most weight to test scores. At schools like Dartmouth and Columbia, the average verbal SAT score is about 730, and the average math is 735. That’s typical at all the top schools although, Cornell and Brown can be a bit lower, Harvard, Yale, Princeton a bit higher. Clearly in order to get into this top category of schools, you MUST have strong test scores. Typically on SAT Subject Tests, most students aiming for top colleges earn over 740 on three SAT II tests. All the unhooked students we have worked with who have gotten into Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Yale have tended to have 740 and up critical reading, 730 and up in math and 730 and up in writing.
Some schools, however, will accept the ACT in lieu of SAT Subject Tests.