High school students are highly skeptical about their ACT scores. They know what is considered a good ACT score. This question is more dominating when students have taken the test for the first time in their lives. ACT score is a relative term. Whether it is good or not depends on which college you want to apply to or your academic strengths and weaknesses.

Although your ACT score is not the sole factor a college considers while reviewing your application, it is still crucial. This is because your ACT score educates the admission authorities about the knowledge you have acquired in high school. If you have taken the ACT for the first time and want to know ‘is 26 a good ACT score’, you need to figure out what 26 on the ACT score scale means. Moreover, whether a 26 on the ACT is good or not also depends on the college’s average ACT requirement.

This article provides detailed information about the value of a 26 ACT score while preparing a college application. First, let’s look at how ACTs are evaluated.

Evaluation of ACTs

The ACTs are composed of multiple-choice questions of the following courses:

  • Science
  • Math
  • English
  • Reading

All four multiple-choice sections are evaluated on a scale of 1-36. Your scores of all four sections are then averaged to compute the ACT composite score that falls in the range of 1-36. If your composite ACT score is in decimal, it will eventually get converted into the nearest whole number.

What is the average ACT score?

Different universities have different average ACT requirements. However, if you want to know if 26 is a good ACT score, you need to calculate the average ACT for general applications.

For calculating the average ACT, we need to look at the average percentile of each section, which is as follows:

  • Science: 20
  • Math: 19
  • English: 20
  • Reading: 20

From the score mentioned above, it can be computed that the average national ACT score is around 20. Therefore, students who have secured a 26 ACT score have a great opportunity of enrolling in various colleges.

Is 26 a good ACT score?

The competitiveness of your ACT score completely depends on your academic goals. For some students having a score of 26 on the ACT might be very good. On the other hand, for students who want to get into top universities that have higher average ACT requirements, having a 26 ACT score won’t suit their goals. Thus, in simple terms, the answer is a 26 on the ACT, good or not, depending on which college you want to attend. 

Work towards finding your ACT goal score

As you know, the competitiveness of a 26 ACT score highly depends on particular college requirements. Having an ACT goal score is crucial. With a goal score, students remain motivated throughout their preparation. Many colleges consider 26 on the ACT scale as highly competitive. But students who don’t prepare according to a goal score end up demotivated. 

To prepare a good ACT goal score, students need to do the following:

  • Figure out which college you want to apply to: For determining your goal score, the first thing you need to consider is the list of colleges you wish to apply to. All the schools have different average ACT requirements. Determining the schools on your priority list will give you an idea of how much you need to score to get admission. However, while preparing the college list, consider including schools with different competitiveness to avoid any uncertainty later.
  • Find the average ACT scores of colleges in your priority list: As a second step, you need to figure out the average ACT score of each college. For this, you can search for the ACT score of successful college applicants. Having the average score requirement of different schools will help answer the question – ‘Is 26 a good ACT score?’
  • Find out your personal goal score: The goal score of each student is different. Students with the most selective colleges on their priority list will have a higher goal score. On the other hand, students who aim for less competitive colleges need to secure an average or low ACT score.

To calculate your goal score, you need to look at the 75th percentile of the most selective colleges on your list. This ACT score will be your ACT goal score. Students who can secure the goal score can successfully secure a seat in most of the colleges on their priority list. Candidates with a 26 ACT score can get admission to the most moderately competitive colleges.

Tips to improve ACT score

Improving the ACT score is a process. To avoid taking the test multiple times, students need to prepare strategically. To get a better ACT score, students can do the following:

  • Focus on your preparation and solve numerous problems. Extensive practice helps students in improving their problem-solving skills. 
  • While preparing, students need to solve exam-based sample problems. This will help get familiar with the exam pattern. 
  • Students can also aim at re-taking the tests. In general, students who take a re-exam have a better chance of improving their scores. Since the students have more time to prepare and are also familiar with the exam pattern, they can secure good scores.
  • Superscore your ACT marks to strengthen your application. Superscoring means you take the best score of each section from all the tests and combine them to calculate a new composite ACT score. By following this method, students with a 26 ACT score can further improve their scores. However, students need to remember that all the colleges don’t accept the ACT superscore. Therefore, students need to determine which colleges accept this score and apply accordingly.
  • Prepare according to your convenience for ACTs. All the students have different ways of learning. Some find self-studies more efficient, while others learn better in a classroom setting. Students need to figure out what suits them better and follow that method for improving their preparation.

Is a 26 on the ACT good enough?

Students who have 26 on the ACT scale can take admission to many colleges. Of 2 million test-takers, 26 ACT scores place an applicant in the top 82nd percentile nationally. This score highlights that the applicant has prepared well and has a good knowledge of all the sections. However, if applicants cannot get admission to their preferred college, they can consider taking a re-test to improve their scores.

What is the SAT score for a 26 ACT score?

All the colleges do not report ACT and SAT scores data in their admission requirements. Therefore, students need to figure out a comparable ACT score. Many students who are skeptical about ‘is 26 a good ACT score?’ want to know what will be their converted SAT score. Generally, a 26 ACT score is converted to a 1240 SAT score.

What if you improve your ACT score by 4 points?

Students who improve their ACT score by 4 points become more competitive for 186 more colleges. Moreover, they increase their chances of getting into their target college from 64.83% to 74.67%. By improving your ACT score by 4 points, you can get into the following highly selective colleges:

College  Location of college Average SAT Average ACT
The University of Texas at Dallas Richardson, Texas 1350 30
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester, New York 1300 30
University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst, Massachusetts 1290 29
Stony Brook University Stony Brook, New York 1335 29
Syracuse University Syracuse, New York 1275 28
Penn State University Park University Park 1265 28
United State Military Academy West Point, New York 1270 28

Colleges that accept 26 ACT score

Students who wonder if a 26 on the ACT is a good score would be happy to know that many top-ranked universities accept students with 26 ACT. Some of these schools are listed below:

Sl. No. College Average ACT
1 University of California Irvine  29
2 University of Texas Austin 29
3 Bentley university  28
4 University of Denver 28
5 Muhlenberg College 28
6 Purdue University Main Campus 29
7 Chapman University 27
8 Texas A & M University College Station 29
9 Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences 28
10 University of California Davis 29
11 Sewanee The University of the South 27
12 Texas Christian University 28
13 Yeshiva University 27
14 DePauw University  25
15 Saint Louis University Main Campus 28

We hope that you know all about having a 26 ACT score and how you can improve your scores. As a first-time test taker, you still have time to improve your score. However, if you want to apply for admissions with your current ACT score, you still have a competitive chance of securing a seat in top universities.