ACT Test Scores: How Schools Use Your Score


High Schools

Beyond the obvious applications to academic advising and counseling, high schools use the results to:

  • Evaluate the effectiveness of instruction
  • Identify students who need assistance with certain subject areas or academic skills
  • Plan changes and improvements in the curriculum



As a college entrance exam, higher education institutions are looking at scores to help predict class profiles and overall academic success, and to address other factors needed during admissions and enrollments, such as:

Admissions decisions: Results from the ACT, high school grades, academic preparation, out-of-class accomplishments, and future plans—these and other kinds of information help admissions officials identify applicants who can benefit most from their programs.

Course placement: Colleges usually try to take into account individual strengths and weaknesses as they place students in first-year courses. For example, a college may offer three sections of a subject—developmental, regular, and advanced. A student's results on the ACT, academic background, and high school grades might be used to determine which section would be most appropriate.

Academic advising: College academic advisors may consider results on the ACT, high school academic program, high school grades, planned extracurricular activities, areas in which there is a need for assistance, and part-time employment plans to tailor an appropriate program of study to a student.

Scholarships and loans: Some scholarship and loan agencies may use results from the ACT information such as high school grades to identify qualified candidates. However, the agencies may not look at academic potential alone. The ACT score report 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.


Impact of ACT with Writing

Results from the ACT with writing impact decisions and admissions.

If you took the ACT with writing, your high school and the colleges to which you have ACT send your scores will receive your writing scores and the readers’ comments on your essay along with your subject-area scores and Composite score.

These colleges and your high school will also have the option to access an image of your essay online. They can use this information in a number of ways, such as:

  • Colleges may choose to review individual essays to help make admissions or course placement decisions.
  • High schools may choose to review individual essays to monitor student achievement levels and guide their curriculum decisions.