ACT Scores for Admission to Top Minnesota Colleges

A Side-by-Side Comparison of College Admissions Data for 13 Top Schools

Carleton College Bell Tower
Carleton College Bell Tower. Roy Luck / Flickr

Minnesota is home to many excellent colleges and universities. Some are among the best in the country: the University of Minnesota Twin Cities typically ranks among the top public universities, and Carleton College is one of the country's best liberal arts colleges.

To see how you measure up at some of Minnesota's top colleges, the table below provides ACT scores for the middle 50% of matriculated students. If your scores fall with or above the ranges below, your scores are on target for admission.

Top Minnesota Colleges ACT Scores (mid 50%)
(Learn what these numbers mean)

Composite 25% Composite 75% English 25% English 75% Math 25% Math 75%
Bethel University 21 28 20 28 20 27
Carleton College 30 33 - - - -
College of Saint Benedict 22 28 21 29 22 27
College of St. Scholastica 21 26 20 25 21 26
Concordia College at Moorhead - - - - - -
Gustavus Adolphus College - - - - - -
Hamline University 21 27 20 27 21 26
Macalester College 29 33 30 35 27 32
Saint John's University 22 28 21 27 22 28
St. Olaf College 26 31 26 33 25 30
University of Minnesota Twin Cities 26 31 25 32 25 31
University of Minnesota Morris 22 28 21 28 22 27
University of St. Thomas 24 29 23 29 24 28

It's important to put these scores into context. Standardized test scores are just one part of an application, and they are not the most important part. All of the colleges and universities above are at least moderately selective, and they will want to see that you have earned high grades in challenging courses. A strong academic record is the most meaningful measure of an applicant's college readiness.

These colleges also have holistic admissions—the admissions folks want to evaluate you as a whole person, not as a serious of grades and test scores. For this reason, be sure to write a winning essay, participate in meaningful extracurricular activities, and work to get good letters of recommendation.

It's also important to recognize that some students who have high ACT scores can still be rejected if other parts of the application are weak. A 35 on the ACT isn't going to get an applicant into Carleton College if he or she has only superficial extracurricular involvement or failed to take challenging high school courses.

What if You Have Low ACT Scores?

Keep in mind that 25% of applicants who attend these colleges had ACT scores below the lower number in the table. Your chances will certainly be diminished with a score in the bottom 25th percentile, but if you truly shine in other areas, you may still find yourself with an acceptance letter. Colleges are looking for students who will contribute to the campus in meaningful ways, not just applicants with high numerical measures.

Also realize that there are hundreds of test-optional colleges in the United States, and these schools don't use the ACT at all in making admissions decisions (although the scores sometimes are used for scholarship considerations). Finally, if you're a sophomore or junior in high school, you still have plenty of time to take the ACT again in an effort to improve your score.

Data from the National Center for Educational Statistics

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Your Citation
Grove, Allen. "ACT Scores for Admission to Top Minnesota Colleges." ThoughtCo, Nov. 24, 2020, Grove, Allen. (2020, November 24). ACT Scores for Admission to Top Minnesota Colleges. Retrieved from Grove, Allen. "ACT Scores for Admission to Top Minnesota Colleges." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 30, 2023).