How Colleges Use ACT® Test Scores
Many students view their ACT scores as a key that opens the door to their college of choice. It might be helpful to really know how colleges view test scores.
Colleges view ACT results as one of the many valuable pieces of information in admitting and placing students in their institution. They use the results in a variety of ways:
- Admission decisions. ACT test results, high school grades, academic preparation, out-of-class accomplishments, special interests and future plans—these and other kinds of information help admissions officials identify applicants who can benefit most from their programs. Scores alone do not determine whether a student is admitted or not.
- Course placement. Colleges usually take into account individual strengths and weaknesses as they place students in freshman-year courses. For example, a college may offer three sections of a subject: developmental, regular and advanced. A student's ACT results, academic background and high school grades might be used to determine which section would be most appropriate.
- Academic advising. College academic advisors may consider ACT results, high school academic programs, high school grades, college grade estimates, planned extracurricular activities, areas in which there is a need for help and part-time employment plans to help a student tailor an appropriate program of study.
- Scholarships and loans. Some scholarship and loan agencies may use ACT test scores and grade predictions to identify qualified candidates. However, the agencies look at more than academic potential. The ACT score report also provides information about a student's educational needs, extracurricular achievements and educational plans. This information, along with high school grades and test scores, helps the agencies evaluate applications for scholarships, loans and other financial assistance.
- Using ACT Writing Test results. For students who take the ACT Plus Writing, the colleges they have their scores sent to will receive Writing scores and comments along with subject area scores and Composite score. Colleges may choose to review essays to help make admissions or course placement decisions.