Your ACT score can be one of the crucial factors during the admission procedure. This is because admission authorities use ACT scores to make a comparison between the applicants. Therefore, a high ACT score can proceed with your application for further review. On the other hand, applications with low ACT scores can end up in the pile of rejected files.

If you are a student with a 32 ACT score who is wondering, ‘is 32 a good ACT score‘, you have come to the right place. In this article, we will cover the following topics: 

  • What is the ACT score, and how is it calculated?
  • Why is ACT important in a college application?
  • Is a 32 ACT score good?
  • What is the 32 ACT score percentile?
  • Colleges that accept applicants with 32 ACT scores.

What is the ACT score, and how is it calculated?

American College Testing, popularly known as ACT, is a standardized test necessary for students who want to enroll in colleges for undergraduate courses. This test is designed to evaluate students’ mathematical, written, scientific, and verbal skills.

The total number of questions and full marks in the test is way more than a 32 ACT score then how come you get this score? In addition, is 32 a good ACT score? These are some regular questions of a candidate who has secured a 32 ACT score.

The following chart demonstrates the total number of questions and marks of each section of ACT:

Section Highest point Total number of questions
Math  60 60
English  75 75
Science  40 40
Reading  40 40

For calculating your composite ACT score, the first thing you need is your raw score for each section. Your raw score is the total number of questions you have answered correctly.  After getting the raw ACT score, it is further converted into a scaled score. The scaled score varies with the date and difficulty level of questions of each section. Once your raw score is converted to a scaled score, the average of all the 4 scaled scores provides the composite ACT score.

The ACT is always calculated as a round figure. If the computed score is decimal, it will automatically round up to the nearest whole number. For example, suppose your composite score is 32.2. As per the rule, it will be considered a 32 ACT score.

Why is ACT important in a college application?

Colleges consider your ACT score one of the most crucial factors for offering admission. There are two main reasons why colleges consider your ACT score so important.

  • It provides a common base for comparing students’ knowledge and learning. Since all the students come from different schools that offer different courses and environments, comparing them to their high school grades provides a biased result. Moreover, the admission officers get a better idea of your academic competence with your ACT score. Students who have a high ACT and a high GPA are more likely to impress the college authorities than those with a high GPA and a low ACT.
  • Your ACT score is also important to the college because it provides a base for college ranking. When you get admitted to a college, your ACT score gets recorded in college statistics. As the colleges release the data of all the admitted students, the public determines the competitiveness of the school. The higher the average score, the more competitive that school is perceived.

As the national average ACT is estimated at around 20, students who want to know – ‘is a 32 ACT score good?’, can rest assured that it is a great score. With a 32 ACT score in your application, you can get admission to some of the most selective colleges.

What is the 32 ACT score percentile?

Percentile indicates your competitiveness among other ACT takers. It provides a better and more concise base of comparison between ACT candidates. For example, a candidate in the 25th percentile did better than 25% of the test students. Similarly, if a student is in the 75th percentile, they performed better than 75% of the other candidates, and so on.

If you are in the 25th percentile, you are considered below 75% of the students but still better than 25% of the other students. So students who want to know- ‘is a 32 ACT score good or not?’ need to know the 32 ACT score percentile first. The following table better understands your question ‘is 32 a good ACT score‘ by demonstrating the 32 ACT score percentile.

Composite ACT score Vs. ACT percentile score

Composite ACT score  Composite ACT score 
Above 34 99%
31-33 98%
26-29 90%
24-25 75%
19-20 50%
15-16 25%
12-13 10%
Below 10 Below 1%

The above table shows that a 32 ACT score percentile puts students in the top 98% of the test takers. This is an excellent score. Most selective universities have their average ACT at this score. Thus, if you are thinking ‘is 32 a good ACT score?‘, you would be happy to know that this score can help you earn an edge among your competitors.

What is a good, average, and good ACT score?

Students who know which ACT score is considered good or bad can make a better strategy for preparation. In addition, they have an added advantage when applying for admission to colleges because they can select the college as per the competitiveness of their ACT score.

  • 98th percentile: A 32 ACT score is above the national average. This score is excellent for most Ivy League universities. So if you are wondering, ‘is 32 a good ACT score‘ to get into any of the highly selective Ivy League colleges, you should know that this score is sufficient to stand out among your competitors.
  • 90th percentile: This is a high score, and if you have this score, you would be counted among the top 10% of the test takers. You are much closer to the average score of most competitive colleges. 
  • 75th percentile: This is a good score, and students who have this score are in the top 75% of the test takers. Students under this percentile have a score just around the national average. Although many colleges accept students under 75% of the test takers, it would be better if you could raise your score by 4 points to get into the top colleges.

Is 32 a good ACT score for getting into most selective colleges?

From the above-discussed points, you must have got the answer to the question ‘is a 32 ACT score good?’. But your ACT score is not the only selection criteria in the highly selective colleges. Although your ACT score helps the admission officer consider you a competitive candidate, other factors matter a lot. Some of these factors include:

  • Your high school GPA
  • Letters of recommendation
  • SAT score
  • Supplemental essay
  • Extracurricular involvement
  • High school transcript

Benefits of increasing your 32 ACT score by 4 points

Most of the colleges consider a 32 ACT score highly competitive. However, as there is a huge rise in applicants every year, it is always beneficial to increase your score by taking a re-test. Moreover, if you are a first-time test taker, you have a great chance of increasing your score.

Some of the benefits of increasing your score by 4 points are:

  • You can be competitive with 39 more universities.
  • Getting into the most preferred universities increases from 77.21% to 79.27%.

Highly selective colleges for applicants with a 32 ACT score

Though 32 ACT is a high score, some colleges accept applicants with an ACT score higher than 32. Some of these colleges include the following: 

University  Location  Average ACT Average SAT
Princeton University Princeton  34 1505
Carnegie Mellon University Pittsburg 34 1510
University of Chicago Chicago 34 1520
University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia 34 1500
Brown University Providence 34 1485
Yale University New Haven 34 1515
Columbia University New York 34 1505

Moderately selective colleges for applicants with a 32 ACT score

Many colleges have their average ACT around 32. Students with a 32 ACT will have a good chance of getting admission into the following colleges:

University  Location  Average ACT Average SAT
Tufts University Medford  33 1465
University of Michigan Ann Arbor 33 1435
New York University New York 32 1440
Boston College Chestnut Hill 33 1420
Villanova University Villanova 33 1395
Boston University Boston 32 1420
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Troy 31 1409

Safe colleges for applicants with a 32 ACT score

Applicants with a 32 ACT score are highly competitive for the following schools:

University  Location  Average ACT Average SAT
Rochester Institute of Technology Rochester 30 1300
Stony Brook University Stony Brook 29 1335
University of Connecticut Storrs 29 1315
Binghamton University Vestal 30 1375
University of Texas at Dallas Richardson 30 1350
University of Massachusetts Amherst Amherst 29 1290
Drexel University Philadelphia 28 1290

ACT is conducted not only to test your knowledge but also to rank you among your competitors. We hope that now you know how your ACT is calculated and what is considered a good ACT score. If you have a 32 ACT score, you have a good chance of getting into the most prestigious colleges.