After many universities have gone test optional post Covid, high school students find themselves unsure about whether to take or not to take tests. Depending on the universities you are applying to, the answer can change. At the same time, teens are still being told they need to obtain a “good” score on ACT tests in order to gain admission to the country’s top colleges. Yet, the term “good score” might be misleading for teens planning to apply the best colleges in our nation. What is a good ACT score? How high does a “good ACT score” need to be in order to be competitive? Is a good ACT score the same for every university? Our Opus College Prep experts break down the ACT scores you need to become competitive for the top 30 US universities.
How much do colleges really care about ACT test scores today?
It is true that ACT test scores might not be required by all schools anymore. Many schools have gone test blind and optional. For others, ACT scores are just a small, but important factor for colleges evaluating a candidate’s admissions eligibility. Universities consider academic factors like rigor, GPA, test score and class rank. They also evaluate extracurricular involvement, leadership, honors, awards, and recommendation letters. As important as the test might be, there are a host of factors including personal qualities and school support that matter, too.
Two major areas of consideration for universities when evaluating student applications can be both academic and extracurricular achievement. An ACT score can offer universities with perspective on a candidate’s raw academic abilities. Having a high ACT score can confirm to admissions committees that a student can manage the academic rigors of college-level coursework. The test score can be helpful for students where admissions committees might have questions about GPA, grades,or course rigor. For homeschoolers, test scores are helpful as a touchstone.
Why else are ACT scores important?
ACT scores are often a marker for universities in offering scholarship money. Many full-ride scholarships are offered on the basis of strong ACT and SAT scores. For students able to achieve high ACT and SAT scores, many universities will automatically offer either tuition discounting or large scholarship awards. Scholarship money can become crucial for students once accepted to a university and earning a high ACT-based scholarship can offer a nice discount in college tuition.
With all these factors to consider, take a look at the average ACT scores for the top 50 US universities: