ACT Scores for Admission to the Big Ten

A Side-by-Side Comparison of College Admissions Data

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Big Ten schools. Frances Twitty / Getty Images

If you're wondering if you have the ACT scores you'll need to get into one of the Big Ten universities, here's a side-by-side comparison of scores for the middle 50% of enrolled students. If your scores fall within or above these ranges, you're on target for admission to one of these universities.

Realize, of course, that ACT scores are just one part of the application. The Big Ten admissions officers will also be looking for a strong high school record and meaningful extracurricular activities.

Big Ten ACT Score Comparison (mid 50%)
(Learn what these numbers mean)

Composite 25% Composite 75% English 25% English 75% Math 25% Math 75%
Illinois 26 32 25 33 25 33
Indiana 25 31 24 32 24 30
Iowa 23 28 22 29 22 28
Maryland 29 33 29 35 28 33
Michigan 30 33 30 35 28 34
Michigan State 23 28 22 29 23 28
Minnesota 26 31 25 32 26 31
Nebraska 22 29 21 29 21 28
Northwestern 32 34 32 34 32 34
Ohio State 27 31 27 33 27 32
Penn State 25 30 25 31 25 30
Purdue 25 31 24 32 26 32
Wisconsin 27 31 26 33 26 31

View the SAT version of this table

*Note: Rutgers is not included in this table because the university did not report its data.

Ideally your scores will be above the lower numbers in the table, but don't give up hope if they are not. 25 percent of students had scores at or below the lower number. That said, if your scores are on the low end of the scale, you'll want to make sure that other parts of your application truly shine.

The most important piece of your university application is your high school record. The admissions personnel at all of the Big Ten universities will want to see that you have challenged yourself in high school. High grades in core subjects are essential. Better yet are high grades in challenging AP, IB, Honors, and dual enrollment classes. Success in these courses is the best way you can demonstrate your college readiness.

Each university will have slightly different admissions criteria, but non-numerical measures will also be important. The schools will want to see meaningful involvement in extracurricular activities, and better yet will be demonstration of leadership in your extracurriculars. Most schools will also want to see a winning application essay and glowing letters of recommendation. If your grades and test scores are too far below the norm, these holistic measures won't be enough, but they can make a significant difference with borderline applicants.

Data from National Center for Education Statistics

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Your Citation
Grove, Allen. "ACT Scores for Admission to the Big Ten." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Grove, Allen. (2020, August 27). ACT Scores for Admission to the Big Ten. Retrieved from Grove, Allen. "ACT Scores for Admission to the Big Ten." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 31, 2023).