Minimum ACT Score for Admissions

The ACT college readiness assessment is a standardized test taken by high school students who are seeking college admission. The test covers the subjects of mathematics, English, science reasoning and reading. Each subject is scored individual on a scale that ranges from one to 36, and the four subject scores are averaged to provide one composite score. The test is important as colleges many times use a student’s ACT score for admissions purposes. Though few major universities make public their individual lowest acceptable ACT score for admissions, nearly all colleges publish data about what scores have been accepted in previous years. This provides prospective students with the ability to judge potential future acceptance.

Major public universities vary widely in what they consider to be an acceptable ACT score for admissions purposes. For instance, the bottom 25% of accepted ACT test takers in Auburn University averaged a composite score of 24; the bottom 25% accepted into Wayne State University averaged a composite score of 19; and the bottom 25% accepted into the University of Virginia averaged a composite score of 28. This means that students seeking admittance at a public university should seek out each individual college’s admission tendencies and probably apply to multiple schools.

Ivy League ACTACT Scores for Admissions Score for Admissions

The Ivy League Universities have an understandably higher standard of admission than most colleges. The bottom 25% of students admitted into Harvard had an average composite score of 32, meaning that the students who barely made it into the school scored in the top two percent of the nation’s ACT takers. Yale has a similar admission standard; the bottom 25% admitted into the university averaged a composite score of 31. Brown University, the school with the lowest apparent ACT requirements in the Ivy League, admitted an average composite score of 29 in its lowest accepted 25%. Potential students would be wise to consider applying to backup schools as the high Ivy League standards create fierce competition.

The Big Ten business schools vary greatly in what they consider to be an acceptable ACT score for admissions purposes. Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business had an average composite score of 24 in its bottom 25% of applicants. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management on the other hand brags a 31 composite score average in its bottom 25% of accepted students. This means that potential students for business schools should check each institution individually for what has historically been considered acceptable in standardized testing scores.

Students who scored a composite score of 20 and below might consider lower-tier schools. Many smaller universities accept lower scores, even those that fall below the national average composite score of 21. If the student does not desire to graduate from a lower-tier college, transfer to a major university or business school might be an option after a year or two of admission and superb grades. Community college is also an option for potential students with low ACT scores. And like lower-tier four year colleges, transfer is still an option for those with excellent grades.

Though the actual college ACT admission requirements are not published, the acceptance rates of previous years provide guidance to students who seek admission. The ACT is not the only basis for acceptance at most universities, but its role is incredibly significant. Prospective students should consider their ACT score to be a guide in determining which schools to apply for.