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Colleges With the Lowest ACT Scores, Ranked

Posted by Dora Seigel | Sep 20, 2015 5:00:00 PM

College Info

 

The college application process can be stressful, but don't worry, if you hope to attend a four-year university and have a low ACT score, there is quite possibly a college for you!

In this article, I list the universities with the lowest 25th percentile ACT scores for their admitted students. The 25th percentile ACT score signifies that 25% of admitted applicants to the school received an ACT score at or below that number. The 75th percentile ACT score signifies that 75% of admitted applicants to the school received an ACT score at or below that score (25% scored higher). I will also explain why you shouldn’t always judge the colleges by their low 25th/75th percentile ACT.

 

Schools Listed in Ascending Order of 25th/75th Percentile with Admission Rate

I compiled this comprehensive list through online research. I chose to organize the schools in ascending order by 25th percentile score (rather than the 75th percentile score) so you could see the lowest ACT scores allowed for admission to these universities:


School Name

25th Percentile ACT Score

75th Percentile ACT Score

Admission Rate

Rust College

13

14

9%

Shaw University

13

16

61%

Livingstone College

13

16

72%

Saint Augustines College

13

17

67% 

Huston-Tillotson University

13

17

 46%

Virginia Union University

13

17

83% 

Jarvis Christian College

13

18

100%

Paul Quinn College

13

18

99% 

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania

14

16

88%

Lane College

14

17

33%

Chowan University

14

18

58% 

Paine College

14

18

44%

Marygrove College

14

19

42% 

Johnson C. Smith University

15

19

 37%

Texas Southern University

15

19

45%

Cal State Dominguez Hills

15

19

80%

Alabama State University

15

20

54%

Cal State Los Angeles

15

20

62%
 Mid-Atlantic Christian University

15

20

Unknown
Ferrum College 15 20 74%

Southern Vermont College

15

21

75%

 

 

Why Are Their 25th/75th Percentiles So Low? Should You Be Concerned?

There are several possibilities as to why these colleges have lower ACT score averages than other schools. A lot of the universities in this article are specialized colleges offering specific degree programs or a religious education. As such, these colleges may weight other application components more heavily than the ACT score such as artistic talent or religious involvement.

For example, Mid-Atlantic Christian University says, "Student candidates who deeply desire an education from a Christian world view; yet who may not meet all of the criteria as outlined above may be admitted to the University in a provisional status and are encouraged to apply." 

Additionally, several of the universities above have a large difference between the 25th and 75th percentile score (some with a more than 6 point difference). Applicants whose scores were at or below the 25th percentile may have uniques reasons for being admitted such as being the child of a significant donor, a legacy, an athlete, or an exceptional talent (such as a world-renowned opera singer).

However, another reason these schools accept applicants with low scores could be due to their high admission rates; these colleges need to accept more students to fill up their freshman class. A few of the above colleges accept nearly every applicant and, therefore, will have a larger score range. 

You should not necessarily be concerned by a school’s low 25th/75th percentile. A low ACT average may simply suggest, as I noted above, that the college is choosing to admit students for other reasons.

Many universities are no longer even asking for a standardized test score with your application. This does not mean that you should not consider attending one of these schools. All it means is that the admissions offices no longer consider standardized tests to be a good representation of your higher education potential.

 

That being said, many of the universities listed above are not known for their stellar academics. If you're looking for an intellectual challenge, these probably are not the schools for you.

Unfortunately, there are colleges that only exist to make money, and their alumni end up with hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. For-profit schools are typically the worst offenders, but some non-profit universities also have a lower quality of education and leave their alumni with few job options after graduation

Make sure to choose your college carefully. When choosing where to apply, you should not necessarily take into account their ACT average, but rather you should ask yourself whether that school is right for you:

  • What majors does it offer?
  • Where is it located?
  • Will I get financial aid?

For help deciding where to apply to college, check out our guide to finding the right school for you. 


What’s next?

Check out our other articles for help with the college application process:

 

Want to improve your ACT score by 4+ points? Download our free guide to the top 5 strategies you need in your prep to improve your ACT score dramatically.

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Dora Seigel
About the Author

As an SAT/ACT tutor, Dora has guided many students to test prep success. She loves watching students succeed and is committed to helping you get there. Dora received a full-tuition merit based scholarship to University of Southern California. She graduated magna cum laude and scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. She is also passionate about acting, writing, and photography.



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