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Articles / Applying to College / Will 20 on ACT Get Me Into College?

Will 20 on ACT Get Me Into College?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | May 4, 2013
Question: Will an ACT composite score of 20 with 8 on the essay secure me admission into a college?

Your ACT composite of 20 is slightly below the national average of about 21.1, but it's right around the average–or even above it–in many individual states. (See http://www.act.org/newsroom/data/2012/states.html ) Your essay score of 8 is roughly a median score as well.

So, yes, you can certainly be admitted to college with this score.. However, I don't know where you're aiming. If the answer is Harvard or Yale, then probably not. But there are many good institutions that will welcome you with this score, assuming that your GPA is also within the acceptable range as well. If you're not sure which ones might interest you, try College Confidential's “Supermatch" at http://www.collegeconfidential.com/college_search/ .

You can enter all your preferences for size, location, major, etc. Under the heading near the top that says, “My scores," select 20 and also “Must Have." When you check your results list, you should find colleges that accept students with ACT scores like yours and that also meet all or many of your other preferences.

Although you will certainly have options with a 20 on the ACT, you might want to try the test one more time in the fall. The practice you've had by taking it once may mean that you do better the second time around. This could mean more college choices for you and possibly more scholarship offers, too.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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