Average ACT scores vary from state to state. Although the national average ACT score is 20.8, more than 1.9 million students take the ACT test! Knowing the average ACT score in your state helps you understand where you stand among students in a similar situation and what a good ACT score is for you.
What Impacts a State’s Average ACT Score?
States that require all students to take the ACT test, like North Carolina and Alabama, generally have a lower state average ACT score. This is not a reflection of the intelligence of the students, but occurs because a wider pool of students are taking the test – whether they want to or not!
In states where the ACT is not required for all students, the students who do take the test generally score higher because they want to be there. For this reason, it’s best practice to compare states where the same or similar percentages of graduates were tested.
Average ACT Scores by State
|State||Percent Tested||Composite Score|
Via ACT Inc
States With the Highest Average ACT Scores
Massachusetts Average ACT Score
Massachusetts and Connecticut are tied for the highest state average ACT scores at 25.5.
In Massachusetts, 21% of students take the ACT test. While this is not the lowest percentile of students take the test per state (only 6% of students in Maine take the ACT), the relatively low number of students tested aligns with the trend of higher test scores.
Interestingly, students in Massachusets are not required to take the SAT or given the SAT for free; the preference for the SAT reflects a cultural preference rather than a state requirement.
Connecticut Average ACT Score
Like Massachusetts, Connecticut also has an average ACT score of 25.5. 22% of students take the ACT in Connecticut. The state requires all 11th-grade students to take the SAT (for free) on a school day, which accounts for the high average ACT test score.
New Hampshire Average ACT Score
New Hampshire follows closely behind with an average ACT score of 25. Just 14% of students in New Hampshire take the ACT test – most likely because the SAT is required, for free, for all 11th-grade students.
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How Do I Know if I Have a Good ACT Score?
If your score is on par with or above your state’s average, you should feel good about your score. That means you are performing at least in-step with your peers.
But an even better measure of your score? How it compares to the average ACT scores at the colleges you are interested in. When picking colleges to apply to (more on that here), your ACT score should fall in the upper 75% of the college’s score range to really shine.
How Do I Raise My ACT Score?
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