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How crucial is ACT percentile for college admissions?

Okay, this might be a bit general, but it's really been bugging me. Exactly how important is the ACT percentile when it comes to college admissions? Is it something they weigh heavily or is it more of just a part of the overall application? Thanks for your help in advance.

9 days ago

The importance of the ACT percentile in college admissions can vary greatly depending on the specific college. For some schools, standardized test scores might play a crucial role in their admissions process. These schools might have strict cutoffs for test scores, especially highly selective colleges, and applicants falling below these thresholds might face a disadvantage.

Remember, however, that the trend has been moving more towards test-optional policies in light of the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which have made access to standardized testing more challenging. While some schools reverted to requiring test scores (like Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Purdue University, Brown University, Yale University, The University of Texas at Austin, and California Institute of Technology), a large number of schools have maintained their test-optional policies (like Columbia University, Princeton University, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, University of Chicago, and many others). And of course, the University of California and Cal State systems are test-blind as of 2024-2025, meaning they don't consider test scores at all.

In addition, tests scores always have been and continue to be just a part of a student's overall application, even at schools that value them. Admissions officers typically look at the complete picture including grades, rigor of course load, essays, extracurricular activities, recommendation letters, and other factors. They're interested in evaluating your potential for success in college on multiple levels, not just your ability to score highly on a standardized test.

Regardless, achieving a high percentile on the ACT can be beneficial. It can serve to validate the rigor of your high school curriculum and your academic readiness for college. But remember, a less-than-ideal ACT score isn't necessarily a deal-breaker. The holistic review process at many colleges allows other strong aspects of your application to shine through.

In the end, the answer to your question is nuanced. While, yes, a high ACT percentile can certainly be a boon in the admissions process at some schools, the trend towards test-optional policies and the holistic review of applications means that it's just one part of a multifaceted process. It's crucial to build a robust application overall. Good luck!

9 days ago

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