20 ACT Colleges: Best Schools That Accept a 20 ACT Score
The ACT is a standardized test that measures academic performance through four sections, Reading, Writing, Science, and Mathematics, with an optional Writing portion. The test takes 2 hours and 55 minutes (without the writing portion) and is scored on a scale of 1 to 36.
Is a 20 ACT Score (49th Percentile) Good?
When evaluating whether a score is “good” or “not-so-good,” we’re really looking at opportunity and competitiveness. An ACT score of 20 makes you eligible to apply to an okay number of schools, but doesn’t quite make you competitive since it falls below the national average of 20.8.
Another way to look at this is through percentile. A 20 ACT score puts you at the 49th percentile, meaning you scored higher than 49% of all test takers — which is certainly something to be proud of! To increase your competitiveness during the college application process, though, you’ll want to meet or exceed the national average, which is closer to a score of 21.
What Colleges Can I Get Into with an ACT Score of 20?
A test score is only one component of the application and, outside of very competitive colleges, most institutions don’t have a “required” ACT score, but a range that they typically accept. However, the colleges and universities we have listed below have a history of admitting students who earned a 20 on their ACT.
Should I Retake the ACT with a 20 Score?
If you earned a 20 ACT score, it’s certainly worth retaking the test to reach the competitive benchmark of 21! More than half of students who retake the ACT improved their score, though it’s worth noting that 22% earned a lower score, so be sure to put in the appropriate amount of study time.
If you’re a junior, there are still several opportunities to retake the ACT. In the time before the retest date, prepare for the exam by taking ACT Practice Tests. Consult the breakdown of your score in each of the test’s four subjects: science, English, mathematics, and reading. Those subject scores will give a sense of which fields of study to concentrate on.
For further test prep, utilize your high school’s ACT resources. Consult an academic advisor or college counselor for recommendations on practice test books. If you have time to do so, enroll in a test prep course overseen by your school or the district. For those who work best in a one-on-one setting, visit a private tutor if it’s within your financial means.
If you’ve decided to retake the ACT as a senior, there are typically test dates in the fall that will return scores in enough time for the latter half of the admission season. Check out some colleges that have later application deadlines, in January through March, and see if any of them interest you. If retaking the test isn’t possible or doesn’t make sense in your situation, take a look at your college application as a whole and adjust how you’re labeling your Likely, Target, and Reach schools.
20 ACT to SAT Equivalent
A 20 SAT score is equivalent to earning a 1020 to 1050 on the SAT. Though these tests aren’t 100% comparable, meaning the score you earn on one may not directly translate to what you’d earn on the other, you can consider this a rough estimate.
If the ACT doesn’t seem to be working with your test-taking style, it may be worthwhile to take a practice SAT and see what score you earn. It may be that the SAT works better for you!
Scholarships for a 20 ACT Score
Earning scholarships or aid based on your ACT, GPA, or SAT is often referred to as merit scholarships, or merit aid. A 20 ACT isn’t likely to earn you many merit scholarships, but there are plenty of other types of scholarships you can apply for! Search for ones based on your extracurriculars, life circumstances, passions, location, and more — you can start using our extensive scholarship database.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 20 a good ACT score?
A score of 20 on the ACT doesn’t make you an eligible applicant at as many schools as we’d typically like to see, nor does it make you competitive. Hitting that national average, with just one extra point, will really open up a number of doors!
What colleges can I get into with a 20 ACT score?
While 20 may not be the most competitive ACT score, there are several colleges that fit your Target institutions, including San Francisco State University, Radford University, and Valdosta State University.
What percentile is a 20 ACT score?
A 20 ACT puts you at the 49th percentile, meaning you scored higher than 49% of test takers.
What is the SAT equivalent of a 20 ACT score?
A 20 ACT is equivalent to earning a 1020 to 1050 on the SAT.
What scholarships can you get with a 20 ACT score?
Scholarships earned based on your ACT, SAT, or GPA are typically referred to as merit scholarships or merit aid. A 20 ACT score likely won’t earn you much merit aid, but there are plenty of other scholarships to apply, including ones based on your location, like circumstances, and passions!