With an Average ACT Score, Get into your Top School


ACT scores are important, but if you tried your hardest and still have an average score, you are still capable of getting into your top school. Colleges look at your ACT score percentile and sometimes use it as a cutoff, but they are overall looking for well-rounded individuals who are likely to succeed.

If you have been a successful person in other areas of your life, colleges can see that you are a hard worker. If you are not satisfied with your final score, work hard in the other aspects of your life so that you can make up for it on all of your applications.

Colleges really want their retention and graduation rates to be high.

College admissions offices sort through the applications looking for applicants who have stayed with clubs/talents/hobbies and can prove that they are driven and hardworking, even if they didn’t score the highest ACT score.

Now don’t get me wrong, ACT range scores do help you get into top schools and some schools won’t accept applicants below a certain score. However, if you’re just on the edge, you can make up for a mediocre ACT score.

A Great GPA Can Outshine an Average ACT Score

Having a good GPA is the first thing that can make up for having a lower ACT score. If you have a high GPA, colleges can see that you are smart and hardworking. It is so much easier to achieve a high GPA in high school than it is in college, so work hard and go the extra mile to achieve high grades.

Recently, high schools have been weighting GPAs due to honors, AP, and CCP classes so this is another opportunity to raise your GPA to show to colleges.

Now, sometimes applications still ask for your unweighted GPA out of a 4.0, so don’t slack just because your weighted GPA is different. This is an easy task that will really take you far. Your GPA can be just as important on scholarship and college applications as your ACT score.

An Average ACT Score doesn’t mean you’re not a Leader

I went to a very small high school and still had many opportunities for leadership. There are so many different clubs and organizations that you can easily be a part of that look great on applications. This doesn’t have to be through your high school. Any leadership positions within your church, community, and workplace look equally as good.

Try your best to be a part of National Honors Society and Student Council because those are the big ones that colleges look at and then from their work on gaining leadership positions within those club or other things that interest you. Leadership shows dedication and determination which is what colleges are looking for.

Having a Job

Colleges and scholarship committees really like to see when high schoolers have jobs. Having a job in high school really introduces you to authority and having others depend on you.

If you put on your resume that you had a job throughout school, this shows them that you are able to juggle many responsibilities at once (which happens frequently in college) and that you have been a dependable person.

Even though the jobs that you usually have in high school are simple, it is so important to have an idea of how the real world works before entering college.

Even if you just have a summer job the summer before attending college, it is better than nothing and you can put it on your application or resume ahead of time.

Involvement in Community

Having involvement within your community is another way to showcase your work ethic on your applications. This can range from involvement with your church/ youth group to any sort of community service.

Even ringing the salvation army bell at Christmas time can look good on your application.

Remember this is finally a time where you do not want to be humble. You want to put every single thing that you have succeeded at or been a part of on these applications.

Everything you have done up to this point matters.

You have worked hard and now is your opportunity to prove that and be rewarded for it.

Involvement in School Extracurriculars

It is very important to be involved in high school. You don’t have to be the best at everything or the president of every club, but the more involved you are the better. Join as many clubs as you can and try new things.

Colleges realize that if you weren’t involved in high school, you probably won’t get involved I very many things in college. Colleges want their students to excel and they want all of their resources to be utilized.

There are many clubs and opportunities in high school that have a minimal time commitment, so take advantage of this so that you have a stellar application.

If you are super involved and excel in many other aspects, your mediocre ACT score won’t matter and will be just enough to get you into your top school.


Sports take a lot of time and dedication, so they usually look very good on applications. Even if you aren’t the best athlete, try out some sports for fun because you will meet new people and have a great thing to put on your application.

Many schools have sports to offer such as Volleyball, Gymnastics, Hockey, Wrestling, Soccer, Football, and Basketball. It would be wise to research one that you like and find a student on the team to ask how you can get involved.

Even if you are not interested in sports, marching band, drama club, community theatre, vocal or instrumental lessons, etc. also look very good due to time commitment and dedication as well.

Average ACT Score? Awards

There are many awards handed out throughout highschool. Even if some of them seem small and meaningless, when it comes to applications, any awards and honors look good. Whether it is for sports, academics, etc. they can help make the finishing touches to make a complete and promising college application.

So do your best to try for any awards or honors during school and make sure to keep track of the ones you do receive. These can also include being the top percentage of your graduating class, becoming valedictorian, or receiving an honors diploma.

Top in your Graduating Class

This can be a lot harder the larger your school is but graduating in the top of your class is something that looks really good on applications. Some schools have events for a certain number or percentage of the top students, but even if your school doesn’t do this you can still write down if you were in the top 10 %, 20%, etc.

If you don’t know where to find this information, reach out to your guidance counselor.

Honors Diploma

Getting an honors diploma can be different depending on where you go to high school, but if you think that you are capable of getting the requirements, it is definitely a nice addition to your application. It is not something to stress over, it is just a nice addition.

Anything that Sets you Apart from Others Average Scores

Colleges are looking through thousands and thousands of applications. You want to try and attempt to put information on there that makes you stand out.

You don’t want to seem identical to several other applications.

Be yourself and stand out.

If you have to write a specific essay, try to think really hard and write about something that is most likely different than others.

Make your application personal to you so that whoever is reading it remembers that you are a person and not just another number. Even if you are planning on attending a smaller school, many people apply to several colleges during the college search so just remember that you are a small fish in a big pond.

Stand out so that your application is noticed.

If you want to read more about ACT exam prep please click here for another article.

Conclusion: Don’t Worry About an Average ACT Score

Overall there are so many different ways that you can make up for your ACT score if you aren’t happy with it. Not getting the highest ACT score is not the end of the world because there are so many different opportunities for you to showcase your hard work, dedication, and intelligence.

Just remember that colleges look at every aspect of your high school career, so try your best in everything and try to be involved. This seems like a lot of information, but colleges understand that you aren’t going to be perfect.

These are just some tips to help you succeed along the way. Most of the time you don’t even realize how many accomplishments you actually have had during high school until you are asked to write about them so don’t be too stressed out.

As long as you were a good student and did your best to be involved, your application should be great. It always works out in the end, and you will end up at the university where you fit in and will succeed.

For online courses and testing for ACT, we recommend Kaplan ACT test prep.

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