An Updated Look at SAT Score Relationships with College Degree Completion

College Board released a new study in June 2022 that found that, similar to older SAT-college completion studies, SAT® scores are a strong and valuable predictor of four-year degree completion.

The study analyzed a sample of nearly 870,000 students in the entering college class of 2017 and demonstrated that these findings remain true after controlling for high school grade point average (HSGPA), and across all subgroups examined including underrepresented minority students, first-generation college students, and students for whom English is not their best language.

This study provides robust, clear, and compelling evidence of the utility of the SAT beyond just predicting first-year performance. College enrollment leaders and professionals making decisions related to admissions, course placement, academic advising, and other student support initiatives on campus can benefit from a clearer understanding of a student’s probability of a bachelor’s degree completion in four-years. SAT scores are a proven way to help inform these important policies and initiatives. 


Bachelor’s Degree Completion Rates in Four Years, by HSGPA and SAT Score

The graph featured here from the report shows clear differences in completion rates by SAT scores, within narrow HSGPA groupings. For example, among students with an “A” HSGPA, students with SAT scores between 800 and 990 had a degree completion rate of 37%, but students with SAT scores between 1400 and 1600 had a 74% completion rate, twice as high as the rate for the students in the lower SAT score band but with the same HSGPA.