ACT Scores for Admission to Top Pennsylvania Colleges

A Side-by-Side Comparison of College Admissions Data for 19 Top Schools

Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr College. Montgomery County Planning Commission / Flickr

What ACT scores do you need to get into one of the top Pennsylvania colleges or universities? This side-by-side comparison of scores shows 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 Pennsylvania colleges.

Pennsylvania Colleges SAT Score Comparison (mid 50%)
(Learn what these numbers mean)

Composite 25% Composite 75% English 25% English 75% Math 25% Math 75%
Allegheny College 23 29 22 30 23 27
Bryn Mawr College 29 33 30 35 26 32
Bucknell University 28 31 28 33 26 31
Carnegie Mellon University 32 35 32 35 32 35
Grove City College 23 32 23 28 23 32
Haverford University 31 34 32 35 29 34
Lafayette College 28 31 28 33 27 32
Lehigh University 29 32 28 34 27 32
Muhlenberg College 25 30 25 32 24 28
University of Pennsylvania 32 35 33 35 30 35
Penn State University 25 30 25 31 25 30
University of Pittsburgh 27 32 26 33 26 31
Swarthmore College 31 34 31 35 29 34
Ursinus College 24 30 23 30 24 28
Villanova University 30 33 30 35 28 33

*Note: Dickinson College, Franklin and Marshall College, Gettysburg College, and Juniata College are not included due to their policy of test-optional admissions.

To be competitive for admission, you'll want your scores to be above the lower numbers in the table. But keep in mind what these numbers mean. That lower number is not a cut-off point. 25 percent of applicants scored at or below that number. You can still be admitted with less-than-ideal ACT scores if other parts of your application are strong.

A Strong Academic Record

With few exceptions, the most important part of your college application will be your academic record. But realize colleges are looking for more than good grades. A school won't be impressed if you earned lots of "A" grades but never took any classes that challenged you. The strongest applicants take the most challenging classes available to them Success in IB, AP, Honors, and dual enrollment classes tells a college that you are well-prepared to handle college-level work.

Holistic Admissions

Along with grades and standardized test scores, the admissions folks will be taking into consideration many non-numerical measures. The strongest applicants will have a winning application essay, meaningful extracurricular activities and good letters of recommendation. Meaningful strengths in these areas can help make up for ACT scores that are a little less than ideal.

Test-Optional Admissions

Several of Pennsylvania's liberal arts colleges have test optional admissions. Four of these are identified in the table above, and Allegheny College, Muhlenberg College, and Ursinus College also do not require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores as part of their applications. You are welcome to send scores if you think they will strengthen your application, but there is no penalty for withholding them.

Data from the National Institute for Education Statistics