ACT Scores for Ivy League Admissions

A Side-by-Side Comparison of Ivy League Admissions Data

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Grove, Allen. "ACT Scores for Ivy League Admissions." ThoughtCo, Sep. 29, 2017, thoughtco.com/act-scores-for-ivy-league-admissions-788783. Grove, Allen. (2017, September 29). ACT Scores for Ivy League Admissions. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/act-scores-for-ivy-league-admissions-788783 Grove, Allen. "ACT Scores for Ivy League Admissions." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/act-scores-for-ivy-league-admissions-788783 (accessed October 22, 2017).
Low Library at Columbia University
Low Library at Columbia University. Allen Grove

Admission to any of the eight Ivy League schools is highly selective, and ACT scores are an important piece of the admissions equation. Generally applicants will need a composite score of 30 or higher to be competitive although some applicants are admitted with lower scores.

ACT Scores for the Eight Ivy League Schools

If you're wondering if you have the ACT scores you'll need to get into an Ivy League school, 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 the Ivy League. Keep in mind that these schools are so competitive that being within the ranges below is no guarantee of admission. You should always consider members of the Ivy League to be reach schools, even when your ACT scores are well within the ranges below.

Ivy League ACT Score Comparison (mid 50%)
(Learn what these numbers mean)
 ACT ScoresGPA-SAT-ACT
Admissions
Scattergram
 CompositeEnglishMath
 25%75%25%75%25%75%
Brown313432352935see graph
Columbia323533353035see graph
Cornell313431353035see graph
Dartmouth303431352935see graph
Harvard323533353135see graph
Princeton323533353135see graph
U Penn323532353035see graph
Yale323533353035see graph
View the SAT version of this table
Will You Get In? Calculate your chances with this free tool from Cappex

You can click on a school's name to see the admissions profile with more information such as the acceptance rate, costs, typical financial aid, graduation rates, and so on.

The "see graph" link will take you to a graph that shows the GPA, SAT and ACT data for students who were accepted, rejected, and waitlisted from the school. The graph is a useful visual tool for seeing where you fit in among typical admitted students.

As the table reveals, successful Ivy League applicants typically have ACT scores in the 30s.

25% of all applicants have have earned a 35 or 36 on the ACT meaning they are in the top 1% of all test-takers nationally.

What to Do if Your ACT Scores Are Low

Be sure to keep in mind that 25% of applicants score below the lower numbers above, so if you have impressive strengths in other areas, a less-than-ideal ACT score isn't necessarily the end of the road for your Ivy League chances. At all of the country's top colleges and universities, standardized test scores are just one part of the application. Most important is a strong academic record with lots of AP, IB, Dual Enrollment, and/or Honors Classes. Also important is a winning admissions essay, positive letters of recommendation, a strong interview, and meaningful involvement in extracurricular activities. At many top schools, demonstrated interest and legacy status can also play a small roll in the final admissions decision.

Finally, because the Ivy League schools are so selective, it's important to never be complacent about your chances of getting in. It's possible to have a strong academic record and perfect 36s for each ACT subject and still get rejected if other parts of your application fail to impress the admissions folks.

The Ivy League isn't simply looking for applicants who have strong numerical academic measures. They are looking for well-rounded applicants who will enrich the campus community in meaningful ways.

More ACT Score Information

Far too many ambitious students are obsessed with the Ivy League and lose sight of the fact that there are well over 2,000 non-profit four-year colleges in the United States. In many cases an Ivy League school isn't the best choice for an applicants interests, career goals, and personality. These links show ACT score data for other types of colleges and universities

ACT Comparison Tables: top universities | top liberal arts colleges | more top liberal arts | top public universities | top public liberal arts colleges | University of California campuses | Cal State campuses | SUNY campuses | More ACT charts

Finally, keep in mind that the test-optional movement keeps gaining traction, and hundreds of colleges and universities don't require ACT scores as part of the admissions equation. Low ACT scores never need to mean the end of your college ambitions if you are a hard-working student with decent grades.

Data from the National Center for Educational Statistics