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Are Your ACT Scores Good Enough?

Learn What ACT Scores You'll Need to Get into a Selective College

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ACT Scores

ACT Scores

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What are good ACT scores? Do you have the ACT scores you'll need to get into your top choice schools? This article will help you make sense of the relationship between college admissions and ACT scores (you can also see the SAT version of this article). For further ACT information, check out these ACT score comparison tables and related articles, or read on for a discussion of average scores and a sampling of ACT ranges for different types of schools:

 

The importance of ACT scores should not be understimated. Colleges certainly take many factors into consideration when they make an admissions decision, but scores on the ACT or SAT give them the easiest tool with which to compare students. Put yourself in the shoes of an admissions officer for a moment. Which should you value more: Applicant A's semester in France or Applicant B's solo performance in the all-state symphony? It's a hard call. But a 34 on the ACT is undeniably more impressive than a 28.

Also, realize that most schools make their ACT data public, and they know that their reputations depend upon high numbers. A college won’t be considered "highly selective" or "elite" if its students have an average composite ACT score of 19.

So what is a good ACT score? The exam consists of four parts: English Language, Reading, Mathematics and Science. Each category receives a score between 1 (lowest) and 36 (highest). Those four scores are then averaged to generate the composite score used by most colleges. The average composite score is roughly a 21. That is, about 50% of test-takers score below a 21.

For students who took the ACT with writing, the writing section is scored on a 12-point scale. The average score is between 7 and 8.

Very few students get a perfect ACT score, even those who get into the country's top colleges. In fact, anyone scoring a 34, 35 or 36 is among the top 1% of test-takers in the country. The list below shows the middle 50% range of ACT scores for different schools. The middle 50% of admitted students fell within these numbers. Keep in mind that 25% of students who were admitted scored below the lower numbers listed here.

To view the complete profile for a college, click on the school's name below.

For ACT score information for hundreds of other colleges, explore the A to Z list of admission profiles.

Auburn (Main Campus)

  • ACT Composite: 24 / 30
  • ACT English: 24 / 32
  • ACT Math: 23 / 28
  • ACT Writing: 7 / 8

Carleton

  • ACT Composite: 29 / 33
  • ACT English: - / -
  • ACT Math: - / -

Duke

  • ACT Composite: 30 / 34
  • ACT English: 30 / 35
  • ACT Math: 29 / 35
  • ACT Writing: 8 / 10

Harvard

  • ACT Composite: 31 / 35
  • ACT English: 32 / 35
  • ACT Math: 31 / 35
  • ACT Writing: 8 / 10

Pomona

  • ACT Composite: 31 / 34
  • ACT English: 31 / 35
  • ACT Math: 31 / 35

Stanford

  • ACT Composite: 30 / 34
  • ACT English: 30 / 35
  • ACT Math: 30 / 35

UCLA

  • ACT Composite: 25 / 31
  • ACT English: 25 / 32
  • ACT Math: 26 / 33

Washington University in St. Louis

  • ACT Composite: 32 / 34
  • ACT English: 32 / 35
  • ACT Math: 32 / 35

 

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