ACT Scores for Admission to Selective Liberal Arts Colleges

A Side-by-Side Comparison of College Admissions Data

weidensall-hall-gettysburg-college.jpg
Weidensall Hall at Gettysburg College. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

Below is a table comparing ACT scores for the middle 50% of students enrolled in each school. These 19 schools are some of the top selective liberal arts colleges in the country, and in general, applicants will need strong scores to be admitted. If your ACT scores fall within or above the ranges listed below, you're on track for admission to these schools. 

Top College ACT Score Comparison (mid 50%)
(Learn what these numbers mean)
 ACT Scores
 CompositeEnglishMath
 25%75%25%75%25%75%
Bowdoin CollegeTest-Optional Admissions
Bryn Mawr College293330352632
Claremont McKenna College303430352834
Colby College313331352833
Colgate University313331352833
College of the Holy CrossTest-Optional Admissions
Davidson College3033----
Denison University283128342630
Dickinson CollegeTest-Optional Admissions
Gettysburg CollegeTest-Optional Admissions
Hamilton College3133----
Kenyon College293329352631
Lafayette College283128332732
Macalester College293230352731
Oberlin College283329342632
Reed College303330352733
Vassar College303331352732
Washington and Lee University313331352833
Whitman2832----
View the SAT version of this table

Keep in mind that ACT scores are just one part of the application. Even if you have perfect 36s for each ACT subject you could still get rejected if other parts of your application are weak--good ACT scores do not guarantee admission. Since these schools all have holistic admissions, admissions officers will also take into account letters of recommendation, writing skills, academic backgrounds/variety, extracurricular activities, and work/volunteer experience.

If you click on the "see graph" links to the right of each school, you'll see a visual that shows how other students fared; these graphs illustrate the GPAs and ACT/SAT scores of applicants who were admitted, rejected, and waitlisted. You'll see that some students with high test scores were not admitted, while some with low scores were admitted. 

These colleges are selective, with acceptance rates in the teens and twenties. So, even though 25% of enrolled students had ACT scores below these ranges, successful applicants generally have high scores, good grades, and a strong application.

To see a full profile of each college, click on the names in the table above. You can also check out these other ACT links (or SAT links):

ACT Comparison Charts: the Ivy League | 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

Data from National Center for Education Statistics