The ACT is a very challenging and important college admissions exam. Many students spend months studying for the ACT with prep books, practice exams, strategy tips, and tutoring, among other modes of preparation.
After taking the exam, many students find the process of waiting to find out what score they achieved to be almost as nerve-wracking and stressful as taking the ACT exam itself. This is an understandable feeling, since the score that students receive on the ACT can be an extremely important part of the future of their academic career.
There’s a good reason why a high ACT score is so important: it can lead to college acceptances to top schools and even scholarship opportunities. For all these reasons and more, many students may find themselves asking if their ACT score is in line with their academic goals.
For students asking themselves if a 24 on the ACT is sufficient, there are a few things they should understand when asking “what is a good ACT score?“
What is a 24 ACT Score?
First, for context, we will discuss what getting a 24 on the ACT actually means, and how you would compare to other students across the country as a result of earning a 24 on the ACT.
An ACT Composite Score is an average of your scores on each of the ACTs sections: Math, Science, Reading, and English. Each of the sections of the ACT are scored on the same 36-point scale, so a 24 composite could indicate scoring around 24 on all of the sections, or much higher on some sections and much lower on other sections, or some other possible combination of ACT section scores.
Some colleges might weigh higher scores on one section of the ACT as more or less important. For example, some engineering-focused colleges and universities might particularly value higher scores on the Math section and Science section, while some selective colleges may value higher Reading and English scores for someone applying as an English major or other humanities program. However, in general, the overall composite score is the most important factor pertaining to ACT scores and their role in college admissions.
Based on the most recent national percentiles from 2020, a 24 composite score on the ACT is a 74th percentile score. This means that someone who earns a composite score of 24 on the ACT has a higher score than 74% of ACT test-takers across the country, and an equal or lower ACT composite score than 26% of ACT test-takers across the country.
How Good is a 24 on the ACT?
Now that we have discussed what a 24 on the ACT means, the next logical question that you may have is: “How good is a 24 on the ACT?”
In general, how good a 24 on the ACT is, or how good any score on any standardized test is, depends on your individual situation and goals as a student and a college applicant. “Good” is a relative term.
Median, average, and 25th/75th percentile ACT scores play a major role in college admissions, along with GPA, essays, extracurriculars, and other factors. But ultimately, standardized test scores are a critical part of admissions. Whether an ACT score is “good” depends on if it can get you into the colleges you want to attend or earn you the potential scholarships you are seeking.
For students seeking admission to the nation’s most selective colleges, a 24 ACT score may not be high enough, since most of those universities admit students with around 99th percentile ACT scores. However, there are many college opportunities still available to someone who scores a 24 composite on the ACT.
What Colleges Accept a 24 ACT Score?
There are many colleges that accept plenty of students with 24 composite ACT scores, and many colleges that do not accept many such students as well.
For example, the vast majority of students accepted to Princeton, MIT, Harvard, and other similarly selective institutions often have 99th percentile or otherwise very high ACT composite scores. As a result, a student seeking admission to an Ivy League or similarly selective college would likely need to study more and re-take the ACT if they earned a 24 composite score on the ACT.
When considering a 24 ACT score, let’s look at Florida colleges — the selectivity of each state’s schools will vary, but Florida universities will provide a benchmark to help you understand what schools might accept a composite ACT score of 24.
A student with a 24 composite score on the ACT would likely struggle to gain admissions to Florida’s most selective public universities, the University of Florida and Florida State University, as those institutions have average ACT scores (as of 2020) of 31 and 29, respectively.
A student who earned a 24 composite on the ACT may also have a harder time gaining admission to the University of Central Florida or Florida International University, where the most recent (2020) ACT composite score averages for the entering classes were 28 and 26, respectively. However, a student with a 24 composite ACT score still has a decidedly better chance of admission to these schools than the previously mentioned flagship public universities in Florida.
Continuing with the Florida example, a student with a 24 ACT composite score may be quite competitive for admission at the University of North Florida and Florida Atlantic University, both of which have ACT averages of 24, per their most recent entering class reports.
These examples can be extrapolated to other states and situations, to some extent. While every scenario is different, generally speaking, a student with a 24 composite ACT score will typically be competitive for admission at smaller public universities and smaller, less selective private universities, assuming a reasonable GPA and no uniquely impressive extracurriculars, essays, or other factors considered by admissions offices.
If obtaining admission to such institutions is in line with your goals, then a 24 ACT score is likely good in your situation. However, if you are seeking admission to more selective institutions, you may want to consider retaking the exam if you have a 24 ACT Score.
Of course, the previous advice is general advice, and as a result, it may not apply to every single situation.
If you scored a 24 composite score on the ACT and you want to know what colleges or scholarships you may be competitive for admission to or receipt of, you should research the average and median ACT scores for the colleges and/or scholarships you are interested in applying to.
Overall, as we mentioned, whether or not a 24 ACT score, or any other score for that matter, is “good” depends on your specific situation and goals. If you scored a 24 on the ACT, don’t let that discourage you from applying to colleges that have accepted students with higher ACT scores — there are still many factors that go into a college admission decision! If you have exceptional and strong extracurriculars, awards, grades, or community service work, it may help you gain admission to a school that generally looks for higher ACT scores.
What is the SAT Equivalent of a 24 ACT Score?
For a variety of reasons, including deciding which test to take and comparing their scores, many students may want to know what SAT Score is equivalent to a 24 on the ACT, or the same comparison for any other ACT or SAT score.
While every ACT composite score has an approximately equivalent SAT score, this does not mean that a student will get the equivalent score on the SAT that they earned on the ACT, or vise versa. This is because some students perform better on or may be better prepared for one test as compared to the other exam, which would result in a student potentially performing better on one test or the other exam.
Nonetheless, if a student were to perform close to exactly similar on both the ACT and SAT exams, a 24 composite score on the ACT converts to approximately between a 1160 and 1190 composite on the 1600-point scale SAT exam. Depending on the exam, that range of SAT scores would likely fall roughly between the 67th and 74th percentiles, meaning that it puts you in a similar position relative to other test-takers nationwide, if not slightly higher ranked in terms of percentiles on the ACT than the SAT.
Given this information, students who took or are considering taking both the SAT and ACT exams should compare their ACT and SAT scores to the averages, medians, and 25th/75th percentile score ranges for both the SAT and ACT at the colleges they are interested in applying to and being admitted to, as well as their relative aptitude for and experience and comfortability with both exams.
Can you get scholarships with a 24 composite score on the ACT?
We’ve discussed ACT scores, and a 24 composite ACT score, quite a bit. We’ve also touched on the topic of ACT scores and college scholarships a bit. We’ll discuss that topic in further here and now.
Like college admissions, in order to determine if your ACT score, 24 composite or otherwise, is competitive for the scholarships you are interested in, you should see the medians ACT scores, average ACT scores, and so forth if such information is provided from the scholarship-granting university or organization you are applying to.
While you may not be competitive for the most selective scholarships in the country with a 24 composite score on the ACT, you may be competitive for quite a few scholarships still. In general, you should research any scholarships you are interested in and see if your score is competitive for said scholarship.
Overall, as we said, whether a 24 composite ACT score, or any score, is good, depends on your specific situation and goals. In most cases, a 24 composite score on the ACT is good if it is above, or at, the average ACT scores or median ACT scores of the colleges you are applying to and seeking admission from, or the scholarships you hope to earn. A score is good if it is good for your goals, and every situation is different, so you should research the colleges you are interested in and ascertain whether a 24 composite score, or any score, is good for your situation.
As we have discussed, there is no such thing as a unanimously “good” ACT or SAT test score, and there is no such thing as unanimously subpar ACT or SAT test score. Every individual’s personal, specific situations, including their specific college admissions or scholarship goals. So, “is 24 a good ACT composite score?” The answer to that depends on your goals. It likely isn’t if that’s well below the averages and median scores of your target colleges. But if it is at or above your target college’s medians and averages, and even better if it’s above their 75th percentile scores, then it likely is a good score for you.
How do I Improve my 24 ACT Score?
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Not convinced whether you should get an ACT tutor? Check out this blog post to decide if working with a tutor would be right for you.
About the Author
William Grossman is a student at the University of Florida studying Economics. He scored a 1500 on his SAT and a 32 on his ACT. While it may seem unorthodox, William always reads the last chapter of a new book before going back to read it from the beginning — that way, he can see if the book will be any good before deciding to read the whole thing!