10 Top Colleges for Each ACT Score Range

You often read about the (really high) ACT scores you need for top 10 schools like Yale and Princeton, but there are quality colleges in every ACT score range. Below, we’ve compiled a list of 10 of the top colleges in the US in each ACT score range: 31-36, 25-30, 19-24, and 18 and below. 

Some schools may be categorized by the higher end of their score range, while some may be on the lower end. In each category, the schools are listed in order by the ACT score of the 75th percentile of their students (the number on the right). If your score matches this number or is close to it, that means you scored higher than 75% of students who applied to that school. If this number is the same for two schools, the schools are listed in alphabetical order. We compiled this list after reviewing college rankings by niche.com, US News College Rankings, and Compass Education Group. It is not comprehensive, and we had to leave quite a few amazing schools off each list to narrow it down to just 10!

The best way to find out your school’s average ACT score is to review the admissions page of the school’s website. But remember, your ACT score is just one part of the college admissions equation. While it is important, don’t forget about the role your grades, extracurriculars, and personal essays play in completing your college application. 

When you’re choosing which colleges to apply to, be sure to choose a few reach schools (your score is in the 25th percentile) and safety schools (your score is in the 75th percentile) to apply to.  

How Many Colleges Should I Apply To?

10 Top Colleges in Each ACT Score Range

18 and below

virginia state university
Virginia State University. Photo via Higher Education Today.
ACT Score Range
25% – 75%
15 – 20California State University – Los Angeles
15 – 20Dean College
15 – 19 California State University – Dominguez Hills
15 – 19 Lincoln University of Pennsylvania
15 – 19 Prairie View A&M University
15 – 19 Texas Southern University
15 – 19 Virginia State University
15 – 18Bethune-Cookman University
15 – 17New Jersey City University
14 – 17 South Carolina State University

19 – 24

California State University – Long Beach. Photo via Long Beach State University Public Affairs.
ACT Score Range
25% – 75%
25 – 29University of Delaware
19 – 28Goshen College
23 – 28James Madison University
21 – 27High Point University
20 – 26California State University – Long Beach
19 – 26San Jose State University
19 – 25 La Salle University
19 – 24California State University, Fullerton
19 – 24Florida A&M University
20 – 24Hampton University

25 – 30

The University of Texas at Austin. Photo via The University of Texas.
ACT Score Range
25% – 75%
29 – 33New York University
29 – 32Boston University
26 – 32University of California, Santa Barbara
26 – 32University of California, San Diego
28 – 32University of Florida
27 – 32The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
26 – 31University of Georgia
25 – 31The University of Texas at Austin
27 – 31University of Wisconsin – Madison
25 – 30Syracuse University

31 – 36

Princeton University. Photo via Princeton University.
ACT Score Range
25% – 75%
31 – 35 Brown University
32 – 35Columbia University
31 – 35Duke University
32 – 35Harvard University
33 – 35Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
31 – 35Princeton University
31 – 35Stanford University
32 – 35University of Chicago
32 – 35University of Pennsylvania
32 – 35Yale University

Need help boosting your ACT score so you can get into your dream school? We’ve got you covered. The Olive Book ACT course contains hundreds of practice problems and strategies to help you ace each section of the ACT test. Visit olive-book.com to learn more and enroll.

Further reading:

How Many Colleges Should I Apply To?
What Do Colleges See on My ACT Score Report?
What to Study the Week of the ACT

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