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)

Composite 25% Composite 75% English 25% English 75% Math 25% Math 75%
Bryn Mawr College 29 33 30 35 26 32
Claremont McKenna College 30 34 30 35 28 34
Colby College 31 33 31 35 28 33
Colgate University 31 33 31 35 28 33
Davidson College 30 33 - - - -
Denison University 28 31 28 34 26 30
Hamilton College 31 33 - - - -
Kenyon College 29 33 29 35 26 31
Lafayette College 28 31 28 33 27 32
Macalester College 29 32 30 35 27 31
Oberlin College 28 33 29 34 26 32
Reed College 30 33 30 35 27 33
Vassar College 30 33 31 35 27 32
Washington and Lee University 31 33 31 35 28 33
Whitman 28 32 - - - -

View the SAT version of this table

*Note: Bowdoin College, College of the Holy Cross, Dickinson College, and Gettysburg College are not listed do 

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