ACT scores in the four subject areas range from 1-36. An overall composite score is formulated by calculating the average of all scores. Average ACT scores by state range from 19 in poorer performing states to 24 in the highest scoring states. The average high school test-taker will receive a composite score of about 20. Most colleges require at least an 18 for college entrance.
Like SAT scores, colleges and universities publish data about the average scores of incoming students. At Harvard, the 25th to 75th percentile of students scored 31 to 35 on the ACT. Students scoring a perfect composite score of 36 make up 25% of those accepted.
At most elite or Ivy League schools, the 25/75 percentile of composite scores range from 29 to 34.
At more selective liberal arts colleges, the 25/75 percentile of composite scores roughly range from 25 to 33.
For top public state universities, 25/27 percentile scores encompass a wider range, anywhere from 23 to 30.
Many public universities accept students who average a composite score between 19-24, although these averages can be lower or higher depending on location and many other factors. The most competitive US colleges usually admit less than half off all applicants. At universities with higher acceptance rates, students with low ACT scores are more frequently admitted.