The ACT is one of the most popular standardized tests in the country, and its scores are used by colleges and universities to determine whether you are eligible for admission. Once you receive your scores, you may be wondering how you compared to everyone else who took the ACT. 

ACT percentile rankings are based on a simple calculation. When you take the ACT, your score is calculated against the scores of all other students who have taken the test at a given time. The lowest possible percentile rank is 1st, which means that you scored better than 99% of all test-takers. The highest possible percentage rank is 99th, which means that you scored better than 99% of all test-takers.

For example, let’s say you scored a 19 (a 19.8 is the national average) on your ACT. That typically means you did better than 53% of test-takers. A score of 28 would be better than 90% of all test-takers.

The chart below is a good visual to compare ACT Score National Ranks. 

National Distributions of Cumulative Percents for ACT Test Scores ACT-Tested High School Graduates from 2023 & 2024

As a reminder, your ACT score and national rank are a piece of what colleges are looking at when you apply. Each college will be different and there are other factors as well such as GPA, challenging high school curriculum, extra-curriculars, leadership skills, well-written & thoughtful essays, demonstrated interest, letters of recommendation, etc. Get Smarter Prep has tutors available to help guide you through the process. Learn more about our College Counseling

Not every student needs to score in the 30’s. Let’s say you are interested in attending University of Kansas. KU has an acceptance rate of 92%. Students that get into KU have an average ACT score of 21-29, which is between 64%-92%. Now let’s take a look at Northwestern University in Illinois. Their acceptance rate is 7% and students have an average ACT score of 34-35, which is in the 98-99% of the ACT National Percentages.

Regardless of where you are in the ACT Score National Ranks, we are here to help. Get Smarter Prep offers one-on-one, Private Tutorials as well as an ACT Prep Course for every ACT test date. Start preparing now. Look at your course load, your extra-curriculars and see when you can best fit in ACT prep. We can help you choose the right test date for you and help you put your best foot forward.