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What Is a Good Act Score?

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A Good ACT Score is Totally Subjective. 

I’m going to level with you here: a “good” ACT score is one that gets you into the institution you want to go to, into the program you want to join, and helps you get some extra financial aid if you need it. 


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I know, I know, obvious, but the point is if you struggle with standardized testing (and you’re definitely not alone), getting anything above a 20 may be a total success, while others may have different expectations. While “good” is subjective (and is more of a philosophical question than one with a hard and fast answer), we can definitely talk about averages. 

Nationwide, the average ACT score is 21 out of a possible score of 36. 

We can break it down even further to the average individual scores for each section of the test, which are all clustered pretty closely together:

English: 20.3

Math: 20.7

Reading: 21.4

Science: 21.0

This leads to the overall average ACT score, or composite score, of 21, which is more often than not all that colleges care about. 

Now that you have your scores and have an idea of the average, let’s delve into what you should do now. Take a look at your college list and check out the average ACT score of accepted students (which, hint, hint, you can find right here on our college profiles), and see what their 25th and 75th percentile scores are. 

The general correlation between you and your chances of admission is the closer your score is to the 75th percentile, the better of a match you and the institution make. There’s a lot more to take into consideration, though, and we’re here to make it as easy as possible. 

Introducing: What Are My Chances?, what we here at Cappex affectionately call WAMC (wham-see). Basically how it works is the more information you input into your Cappex profile (like your test scores, for instance), the better we can estimate your odds of matching with a specific institution. 

Nifty, right? Get started today!

If you haven't received your score yet, you'll hopefully get it soon! 

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