ACT Scores for Admission to Top Colleges

A Side-by-Side Comparison of ACT Scores for Top Liberal Arts Colleges

Amherst College
Amherst College. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

If you're wondering if your ACT scores are good enough to get you into an one of the country's top liberal arts colleges, here's a helpful side-by-side comparison of scores for the middle 50% of enrolled students. If your scores fall within or above these ranges, you're right on target for admission to one of these liberal arts colleges.

Top College ACT Score Comparison (mid 50%)
(Learn what these numbers mean)

Composite 25% Composite 75% English 25% English 75% Math 25% Math 75%
Amherst College 32 34 33 35 29 34
Carleton College 31 34 - - - -
Grinnell College 30 34 30 35 28 33
Haverford College 31 34 32 35 29 34
Middlebury College 30 34 - - - -
Pomona College 30 34 32 35 28 34
Swarthmore College 31 34 31 35 29 34
Wellesley College 30 33 32 35 27 33
Williams College 31 35 32 35 29 34

*Note: Wesleyan University is not included in this table due to their policy of test-optional admissions.

Realize, of course, that ACT scores are just one part of the application. 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. That's because these schools, in general, have holistic admissions. This means they will look at more than test scores and grades, and will take other things into account, such as: letters of recommendation, extracurricular activities, work or volunteer experience, and an applicant's academic background and variety. Also, it's good to keep in mind that 25% of admitted students have ACT scores below the lower numbers in the table. Still, these schools are selective, with low acceptance rates across the board. Strong ACT scores certainly help support an application, and those with higher scores tend to fare better in the application process.

To see a full profile of each college, click on the names in the table above. And if you want to get a sense of how other applicants have fared, click on the "see graph" links to the right. These charts show the GPA and test scores of those admitted, waitlisted, and rejected from each school. You might see some applicants with good ACT scores that were not admitted, and some with below-average scores that were admitted. Also be sure to check out these other ACT links (or SAT links):

Data from National Center for Education Statistics