ACT Score Comparison for Top Universities

A Side-by-Side Comparison of Top University Admissions Data

Stanford University
Stanford University. (Daniel Hartwig/Flickr)

(Note: Scores for the Ivy League are addressed in a separate article.)

If you're wondering if your scores from the ACT can help get into one of the top private universities in the United States, check out the chart below! Here you'll see a side-by-side comparison of scores for the middle 50% of enrolled students at these twelve schools. If your scores fall within or above these ranges, you're on target for admission to one of these top colleges.

Top University ACT Score Comparison (mid 50%)
Carnegie Mellon313431353135see graph
Duke313432353035see graph
Emory3033----see graph
Georgetown303431352834see graph
Johns Hopkins323433353135see graph
Northwestern323432343234see graph
Notre Dame3235----see graph
Rice323533353035see graph
Stanford313532353035see graph
University of Chicago323533353135see graph
Vanderbilt323533353135see graph
Washington University323433353035see graph
View the SAT version of this table
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To get a visual sense of how your scores (and grades) compare to those admitted to the school, click on the "see graph" links to the right. There, you might see some students with ACT scores above average who didn't get admitted, and/or students with low ACT scores that were admitted. Since these schools generally practice holistic admissions, grades and ACT (and SAT) scores are not the only factors schools look at.

With holistic admissions, ACT scores are just one part of the application process. It's possible to have perfect 36s for each ACT subject and still get rejected if other parts of your application are weak. Similarly, some students with scores significantly below the ranges listed here gain admission because they demonstrate other strengths.

Schools on this list also look at academic history and records, strong writing skills, a range of extracurricular activities, and good letters of recommendation. So if your scores don't quite meet these ranges, don't worry—but do make sure you have a strong application to support you.

Data from National Center for Educational Statistics