When Will a College Need to Have a Student’s Scores Act

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When Will a College Need to Have a Student’s ACT Scores?

The ACT (American College Testing) is a standardized test widely used by colleges and universities in the United States as part of their admissions process. However, there are instances when a college may require a student’s ACT scores. Let’s explore some scenarios in which a college may need to have a student’s ACT scores.

1. Traditional Admissions Process: Most colleges and universities require ACT scores as part of their admissions process. These scores provide an objective measure of a student’s academic abilities and help institutions compare applicants from different backgrounds and educational systems.

2. Scholarship Applications: Many scholarships, both merit-based and need-based, require ACT scores to evaluate an applicant’s eligibility. These scores can be used as a determining factor in awarding financial aid.

3. Competitive Programs: Certain programs within colleges, such as honors programs or selective majors, may require ACT scores to assess an applicant’s readiness and potential for success in those specific fields.

4. Placement into Courses: Some colleges use ACT scores to place students into appropriate courses. Higher scores may allow students to skip introductory-level courses and enroll in more advanced classes, while lower scores may require remedial coursework.

5. Transfer Admissions: When a student transfers from one college to another, the receiving institution may request ACT scores to evaluate their academic standing and determine whether they meet the admission requirements.

6. International Student Admissions: International students applying to U.S. colleges often need to submit their ACT scores to demonstrate their English language proficiency and academic abilities in comparison to American applicants.

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7. Merit-Based Admissions: High-scoring students may be granted automatic admission or be considered for special programs based on their ACT scores. Some colleges have specific cutoffs or score requirements for these admissions.

8. Athletic Scholarships: Student-athletes seeking athletic scholarships may need to provide their ACT scores to demonstrate eligibility for college sports programs. These scores can be used in conjunction with other factors, such as athletic ability and academic performance.

9. Honors Societies and Organizations: Certain academic honors societies and organizations require ACT scores for membership consideration. These scores can serve as an indicator of a student’s commitment to academic excellence.

10. Study Abroad Programs: Some study abroad programs affiliated with colleges or universities may require ACT scores as part of their application process. These scores help determine an applicant’s academic preparedness for studying in a foreign country.

11. Early Admission Programs: Students who wish to enroll in college before completing high school may be required to submit their ACT scores for early admission consideration. These programs allow academically advanced students to start their college education early.

12. Academic Competitions: ACT scores can be requested by academic competitions or challenges that require participants to demonstrate their academic abilities. These competitions can range from regional to national levels.


1. Can colleges require ACT scores for admission if they are test-optional?
Answer: Yes, even if a college is test-optional, they may still require ACT scores for certain programs, scholarships, or for students who choose to submit their scores.

2. Do all colleges require ACT scores?
Answer: No, not all colleges require ACT scores. Some colleges have become test-optional, allowing students to choose whether or not to submit their scores.

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3. Can students take the ACT multiple times?
Answer: Yes, students can take the ACT multiple times to improve their scores. Colleges usually consider the highest scores achieved.

4. What if a student doesn’t have ACT scores?
Answer: If a student doesn’t have ACT scores, they can explore colleges that are test-optional or consider alternative admission routes, such as submitting SAT scores or focusing on other aspects of their application.

5. Do colleges consider ACT scores more important than other factors?
Answer: ACT scores are just one aspect of a student’s application. Colleges consider various factors, including GPA, extracurricular activities, essays, recommendation letters, and more.

6. Are ACT scores the only criteria for scholarships?
Answer: No, scholarships often consider a combination of factors, including ACT scores, GPA, essays, and extracurricular activities.

7. Are there alternative tests to the ACT?
Answer: Yes, the SAT is another standardized test widely accepted by colleges. Some colleges also accept other tests, such as the CLT (Classic Learning Test) or the SAT Subject Tests.

8. Can colleges superscore ACT scores?
Answer: Many colleges superscore ACT scores, meaning they consider the highest scores achieved in each section across multiple test dates.

9. Can a student submit their ACT scores after the application deadline?
Answer: Some colleges may allow students to submit their ACT scores after the application deadline, but it’s best to check with the specific institution for their policies.

10. Can a student retake the ACT after submitting their scores to a college?
Answer: Yes, students can retake the ACT even after submitting their scores to a college. The college will consider the updated scores if they become available.

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11. Can a student submit their ACT scores directly to colleges?
Answer: Yes, students can choose to send their ACT scores directly to colleges during the registration process or afterward for a fee.

12. Do colleges only consider the composite ACT score?
Answer: While the composite score is often the primary focus, colleges may also consider individual section scores or use them for specific program requirements.

In conclusion, colleges may require a student’s ACT scores for various purposes, including admissions, scholarships, program eligibility, and more. However, it’s important to note that not all colleges require these scores, and test-optional policies have become more prevalent in recent years, providing students with more flexibility in the application process.