ACT Score Comparison for Top Universities

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

Stanford University
Stanford University. (Daniel Hartwig/Flickr)

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%)

Composite 25% Composite 75% English 25% English 75% Math 25% Math 75%
25% 75% 25% 75% 25% 75%
Carnegie Mellon 32 35 32 35 32 35
Duke 31 35 32 35 30 35
Emory 30 33 - - - -
Georgetown 30 34 31 35 28 34
Johns Hopkins 33 35 33 35 31 35
Northwestern 32 34 32 34 32 34
Notre Dame 32 34 - - - -
Rice 33 35 33 35 31 35
Stanford 32 35 33 36 30 35
University of Chicago 32 35 33 35 31 35
Vanderbilt 32 35 33 35 30 35
Washington University 32 34 33 35 31 35

View the SAT version of this table

Note that a comparison of ACT data for the 8 Ivy League schools is covered in a separate article.

If you click on a school's name in the left column, you can get more admissions data including a graph of GPA, SAT, and ACT data for admitted, rejected, and waitlisted students. 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 Education Statistics

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Grove, Allen. "ACT Score Comparison for Top Universities." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Grove, Allen. (2020, August 25). ACT Score Comparison for Top Universities. Retrieved from Grove, Allen. "ACT Score Comparison for Top Universities." ThoughtCo. (accessed February 6, 2023).

Watch Now: How to Score Higher on the SAT and ACT