Level of College Attended

Among the 1.2 million ACT-tested high school graduates who enrolled in college, 75% attended a 4-year college, whereas 25% attended a 2-year college.

Percent of College Students Who Attended a Four-Year College by ACT Composite Score and Gender

  • Among both females and males, the percentage of college students who attended a 4-year college increases with ACT Composite score.
  • With the exception of students in the score range of 33–36, a larger percentage of females than males attended 4-year colleges.
  • The 4-year college attendance rate gap between females and males is at its widest toward the middle of the ACT Composite score scale.
Chart showing Percent of College Students Who Attended a Four-Year College by ACT Composite Score and Gender

Graph reads: 40% of college-enrolled females with an ACT Composite score in the range of 1–15 attended a 4-year college versus a 2-year college during fall 2013.

ACT Composite
Score Range
FemaleMale
1–1540%38%
16–1960%57%
20–2378%74%
24–2790%87%
28–3297%95%
33–3699%99%

Note: Based on 99.8% of the college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 who reported gender.


Percent of College Students Who Attended a Four-Year College by ACT Composite Score and Parent Education Level

  • Within each level of parent education, the percentage of college students who attended a 4-year college increases with ACT Composite score.
  • There are essentially no differences in the 4-year college attendance rates among students whose parents earned no college education and those whose parents earned some college education.
  • There are differences in the 4-year college attendance rates among these two student groups and students whose parents earned more advance degrees. These 4-year college attendance rate gaps by parent education level diminish as ACT Composite score increases.
Chart showing Percent of College Students Who Attended a Four-Year College by ACT Composite Score and Parent Education Level

Graph reads: 37% of college-enrolled students with an ACT Composite score in the range of 1–15 whose parents did not attend college attended a 4-year college versus a 2-year college during fall 2013.

ACT Composite
Score Range
No CollegeSome CollegeBachelor’s DegreeGraduate Degree
1–1537%37%42%47%
16–1954%56%62%68%
20–2370%71%79%84%
24–2782%83%90%93%
28–3292%92%96%98%
33–3697%98%99%100%

Note: Based on 84% of the college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 who reported parent education level.


Percent of College Students Who Attended a Four-Year College by ACT Composite Score and Degree Plans

  • College students who planned to earn less than a bachelor’s degree attended 4-year colleges at far lower rates than students who planned to earn either a bachelor’s or graduate degree, regardless of ACT Composite score range.
  • The largest 4-year college attendance rate gaps by students’ degree aspirations are toward the middle ranges of the ACT Composite scale.
Chart showing Percent of College Students Who Attended a Four-Year College by ACT Composite Score and Degree Plans

Graph reads: 21% of college-enrolled students with an ACT Composite score in the range of 1–15 who planned to earn less than a bachelor’s degree attended a 4-year college versus a 2-year college during fall 2013.

ACT Composite
Score Range
Less Than
Bachelor’s Degree
Bachelor’s DegreeGraduate Degree
1–1521%41%48%
16–1928%58%68%
20–2336%74%82%
24–2747%85%92%
28–3266%94%97%
33–36 98%99%

Note: Based on 90% of the college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 who reported degree plans. Percentage not provided when sample size is less than 50.


Percent of College Students Who Attended a Four-Year College by ACT Composite Score and Planned Major Status

  • Across the ACT Composite score scale, there is little to no difference in the percentage of college students attending a 4-year college between those who selected a planned major and those who were undecided about their choice of planned major.
Chart showing Percent of College Students Who Attended a Four-Year College by ACT Composite Score and Planned Major Status

Graph reads: 43% of college-enrolled students with an ACT Composite score in the range of 1–15 who were undecided about their planned major attended a 4-year college versus a 2-year college during fall 2013.

ACT Composite
Score Range
Selected a
Planned Major
Undecided about
Planned Major
1–1541%43%
16–1959%60%
20–2377%77%
24–2789%89%
28–3296%96%
33–3699%99%

Note: Based on 97% of the college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 who either selected a planned major or indicated they were undecided when they registered for the ACT.


Percent of College Students Who Attended a Four-Year College by ACT Composite Score and a Subset of Planned Major Areas

  • The chart shows 4-year college attendance rates by ACT Composite score for college students in a subset of planned major areas. As the chart illustrates, the percentage who attended a 4-year college differed considerably by their planned major area.
  • Students who planned to major in the area of Repair, Production, and Construction had the lowest 4-year college attendance rates, whereas students who planned to major in the area of Communications had the highest 4-year college attendance rates.
Chart showing Percent of College Students Who Attended a Four-Year College by ACT Composite Score and a Subset of Planned Major Areas

Graph reads: 22% of college-enrolled students with an ACT Composite score in the range of 1–15 who planned to major in the area of Repair, Production, and Construction attended a 4-year college versus a 2-year college during fall 2013.

ACT Composite
Score Range
Repair, Production, and ConstructionArchitectureCommunications
1–1522%40%53%
16–1930%59%70%
20–2340%77%84%
24–2760%88%92%
28–3275%97%97%
33–36 98%100%

Note: Based on 82% of the college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 who selected a planned major when they registered for the ACT. Percentage not provided when sample size is less than 50.


Percent of College Students Who Attended a Four-Year College by Gender and Planned Major Area

  • The percentages of students who attended a 4-year college versus a 2-year college differ by both planned major area and gender.
  • As with college enrollment rates, the planned major areas of Engineering; and Sciences: Biological and Physical have the highest 4-year college attendance rates for both genders, whereas the areas of Community, Family, and Personal Services; and Repair, Production, and Construction have the lowest 4-year college attendance rates for both genders.
  • With two exceptions (i.e., Health Sciences and Technologies; and Health Administration and Assisting), the 4-year college attendance rates of females are higher than those for males.
Chart showing Percent of College Students Who Attended a Four-Year College by Gender and Planned Major Area

Graph reads: 90% of college-enrolled females and 81% of college-enrolled males who selected a planned major in the area of Engineering attended a 4-year college versus a 2-year college during fall 2013.

Planned MajorFemaleMale
Engineering90%81%
Sciences: Biological & Physical86%84%
Communications86%76%
English & Foreign Lang.84%80%
Architecture83%71%
Area, Eth. & Multidiscip. Studies82%69%
Comp. Sci. & Mathematics81%73%
Business79%78%
Social Sciences & Law79%76%
Philosophy, Religion, & Theology77%76%
Education74%70%
Eng. Tech. & Drafting74%63%
Arts: Visual & Performing73%67%
Health Sci. & Techno.73%77%
Agric. & Nat. Res. Cons68%56%
Health Admin. & Assisting59%64%
Commun, Fam., & Personal Svcs58%50%
Repair, Production, & Construction50%34%

Note: Based on 82% of the college-enrolled ACT-tested high school graduating class of 2013 who reported gender and selected a planned major when they registered for the ACT.