ACT Score Comparison for Top New York State Colleges and Universities

A Side-by-Side Comparison of ACT Score College Admissions Data

Stern School of Business at NYU
Stern School of Business at NYU. Photo Credit: Allen Grove

Although the SAT is more popular than the ACT in New York State, all of the colleges below will accept either exam. The side-by-side comparison table shows ACT scores for the middle 50% of enrolled students. If your scores fall within or above these ranges, you're on target for admission to one of these top New York colleges and universities.

Top New York Colleges ACT Score Comparison (mid 50%)
(Learn what these numbers mean)
 ACT Scores
 CompositeEnglishMath
 25%75%25%75%25%75%
Bard Collegetest-optional admissions
Barnard303332352732
Binghamton2831----
Colgate313331352833
Columbia313433352935
Cooper Union283428342835
Cornell313432353035
Fordham University273127342630
Hamilton3133----
Ithaca Collegetest-optional admissions
NYU2933----
RPI2832----
St. Lawrence University2630----
Sarah Lawrence College273128352328
Skidmore College273127342630
SUNY Geneseo2429----
Syracuse University253025312429
University of Rochester293328342834
Vassar303331352732
West Point232826342329
Yeshiva University232923312229
View the SAT version of this table
See ACT Scores for SUNY Campuses

All of the schools above have selective admissions, and to get in, you're going to need to have an academic record that is well above average. Ideally your ACT scores will be above the lower number in the score ranges in the table. If you have a score below the lower number, don't give up hope. 25 percent of applicants scored at or below the lower number.

Holistic Admissions

It's important to remember that all of these New York colleges and universities have holistic admissions, and admissions decisions are based on much more than numerical data such as ACT scores. Thus, a winning essay, meaningful extracurricular activities and good letters of recommendation can help make up for sub-par ACT scores. That said, standardized tests are important at most of these schools, so a low score will certainly hurt your chances of admission.

The most important piece of any application is a strong academic record, This means more than high grades.

The admissions folks want to see that you have challenged yourself in high school Good grades in AP, IB, Honors, and dual enrollment classes are one of the surest ways to demonstrate your preparation for college-level work.

Test-Optional Admissions in New York State

Several of the schools above do not report ACT scores to the Department of Education because they have test-optional admissions policies and are not required to report scores.

It is still to your advantage to submit scores if you think they will strengthen your application. Bard College, Ithaca College, Sarah Lawrence College, Skidmore College, and St. Lawrence University do not require students to submit standardized test scores as part of the admission process. 

Two schools—New York University and the University of Rochester—have test-flexible admissions. This means the schools do require standardized test scores, but they don't need to be from the SAT or ACT. Scores from SAT subject tests, Advanced Placement, and IB can be used as a substitution for the SAT or ACT. Be sure to check with each school to get the complete guidelines.

It's also important to remember that all of these colleges and universities have holistic admissions, and admissions decisions are based on much more than numerical data such as ACT scores. Thus, a strong academic record, a winning essay, meaningful extracurricular activities and good letters of recommendation can help make up for sub-par ACT scores are most of these colleges. That said, standardized tests are important at most of these schools, so a low score will certainly hurt your chances of admission.

Data from the National Center for Education Statistics