Universities and Colleges by ACT Score Percentiles

When you're considering to which public college or university to apply, sometimes it is very helpful to browse through schools that have students scoring similarly on the ACT as you did. If your ACT scores are completely lower or higher than 75% of the students who were accepted to a particular school, then perhaps you would be better off searching for a school where students are more in your range, although exceptions are certainly made all the time.

If you have scored in a similar range, and all your other credentials fit – GPA, extracurricular activities, recommendation letters, etc. – then perhaps one of these schools would be a good fit. Please keep in mind that this list is for the composite ACT scores - out of 36.

Which ACT Score Percentiles Are Included?

This is a list of both public and private colleges and universities arranged by ACT score percentiles, specifically, the 25th percentile. What does that mean? 75% of the accepted students scored above or at the composite ACT scores listed below.

You'll notice that I skipped a few of the statistics below. First, the scores where 75% of students earned between a 15 – 20 composite score are missing because the number of schools that would have to be included was just too vast. With most students scoring somewhere in the 20 – 21 range, the list of colleges was over 400. Chances are good, if your school is not listed, then it's probably accepting a majority of students who are scoring in the average ACT range. I also did not include the private schools where a majority of the students are earning between a 20 – 25 on the ACT because that number was exceptionally large, as well.

More Than Just ACT Score Percentiles

Before you plunge into the list of schools, feel free to take a look around and familiarize yourself with some ACT statistics. First, find out what those score percentiles mean, then browse through some of the national averages, ACT scores 101, and more.

Colleges and Universities with 25th Percentile Scores from 30 – 36

You'd better believe this list is not as long as some of the others. If 75% of all accepted students for the following colleges and universities are scoring in this incredibly high range, then the list is definitely going to be exclusive. But, because the list is smaller, I've included both the actual 25th and 75th percentile numbers, so you can get an idea of what some students are earning on the ACT. Amazing! Some of these schools' upper 25% of accepted students are earning 35 – 36 on this exam!

Colleges and Universities with 25th Percentile Scores from 25 – 30

This list is definitely longer, so I had to split up the public and private colleges to get them all in. There are 102 private universities in this range, but only 33 public universities in this range. I included the websites and both the 25th and 75th percentiles for the public schools because it was shorter. Browse through the directory for colleges and universities that tend to accept students who score well above average on the ACT, or roughly 25 - 30 per ACT test section, which is still pretty darn incredible.

Public Colleges and Universities with 25th Percentile Scores from 20 – 25

Here is where I had to be more exclusive as the 20 – 25 range is very popular with both the public and the private sectors. There are 218 public universities with these statistics, and the private list was too long to include. Here, 75% of the accepted students are averaging about 20 – 25 on each test section.

Colleges and Universities with 25th Percentile Scores from 10 – 15

Believe it or not, there are schools out there where the majority of accepted students are earning between a 10 and 15 on the ACT exam. Yes, this is below the national average, but it definitely gives a little bit of hope to students who have just not mastered the ACT exam. You can still attend a university, even if your scores are not top notch!

ACT Score Percentiles Summary

Don't sweat it if a school to which you're interested in applying is out of your range. You can always go for it. The most they can do is keep your application fee and tell you "No." It is important, though, that you at least understand the range of scores the schools are typically accepting so you have realistic expectations. If your GPA is in the "meh" range, you haven't done anything notable in high school at all, and your ACT scores are below average, then shooting for Harvard may be a stretch!

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Your Citation
Roell, Kelly. "Universities and Colleges by ACT Score Percentiles." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, thoughtco.com/universities-and-colleges-by-act-score-percentiles-3211168. Roell, Kelly. (2023, April 5). Universities and Colleges by ACT Score Percentiles. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/universities-and-colleges-by-act-score-percentiles-3211168 Roell, Kelly. "Universities and Colleges by ACT Score Percentiles." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/universities-and-colleges-by-act-score-percentiles-3211168 (accessed May 29, 2023).