What You Need to Know About Northwestern ACT Scores: A Comprehensive Guide for Aspiring Students

May 24, 2023
By AdmissionSight
a male student taking an exam

What You Need to Know About Northwestern ACT Scores: A Comprehensive Guide for Aspiring Students

What is a good ACT score for Northwestern?

What is an acceptable ACT score for Northwestern? While it’s challenging to define an exact good Northwestern ACT score, because admissions decisions are based on a holistic review of your application, we can look at averages and percentiles to get a general idea.

The middle 50% of admitted students to Northwestern typically scored between a 34 and a 35 on the ACT. This means 25% of accepted students scored below a 34, and another 25% scored above a 35. So, while not a hard-and-fast rule, a score in this range can be considered competitive for Northwestern.

But remember, a high score alone doesn’t guarantee admission. Northwestern values diverse talents and perspectives and reviews each application thoroughly, considering various factors like your academic record, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendation, personal essays, and more. While your ACT score is an important piece of the puzzle, it’s not the only one.

What is the Northwestern ACT code?

What is the ACT code for Northwestern?  When sending your ACT score to colleges, you’ll need to use the institution’s unique code. For Northwestern, the ACT code is 1106. Including this code ensures that your scores reach Northwestern and are accurately added to your application file.


Remember, using the correct code is essential. If you enter the wrong code, your ACT scores might end up at a different college, leading to delays or even omissions in your application at Northwestern.

Does Northwestern require an official ACT?

Is an official ACT required by Northwestern? Northwestern University requires applicants to submit official ACT scores directly from the testing agencies, ensuring authenticity. Northwestern requires the scores to be official and sent directly from the testing agency. Unofficial score reports, such as photocopies or scores reported by your high school, are not accepted.

However, in response to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, Northwestern has adopted a test-optional policy. This means that students applying for admission can choose whether or not to submit their ACT scores as part of their application. The policy is intended to accommodate students who may have faced difficulties in taking standardized tests due to pandemic-related disruptions.

Group of students sitting on their desks.

Also, if you’re taking the ACT multiple times, it’s worth noting that Northwestern considers the highest composite score you’ve received from a single test date, rather than super scoring, which is combining the highest scores from different sections across test dates.

How important is the ACT score in Northwestern’s overall admissions process?

How crucial is the ACT score in the overall admissions process at Northwestern? Although Northwestern adopts a holistic admissions process, your ACT score is undeniably a significant factor. High ACT scores can demonstrate your preparedness for Northwestern’s rigorous academic environment.

Standardized tests like the ACT help Northwestern admissions officers compare applicants from different schools and educational backgrounds on a somewhat standard scale. It’s an objective piece of data in a process that involves subjective judgments.

Remember, though, that your ACT score isn’t the only defining factor. Your academic record in high school—particularly your performance in challenging courses—is paramount. Other elements, like extracurricular involvement, leadership roles, community service, personal essays, and letters of recommendation, all play their part in painting a comprehensive picture of you as a prospective student.

How does Northwestern help prospective students boost their ACT scores?

How can Northwestern assist prospective students in improving their ACT scores? Northwestern is committed to helping prospective students shine in their applications. While the university doesn’t offer ACT-specific programs, it does provide resources and programs designed to foster a college-going culture.

Through initiatives like the Northwestern Academy for Chicago Public Schools and various pre-college summer programs, Northwestern exposes students to the rigors of college-level work, strengthening academic skills. Such experiences can indirectly contribute to better ACT scores.

Remember, your high school’s guidance counselor is also a valuable resource for college admissions advice and can help guide you in preparing for the ACT.

What should be your ACT strategy for Northwestern?

What ACT approach should you use for Northwestern? Given that the Northwestern ACT score range is high, you must curate a game plan to target the ideal range. Here are some tips:

Understand the ACT

The ACT comprises sections on English, Math, Reading, and Science, with an optional Writing section. Familiarize yourself with the content and format of each section and know what to expect.

Chinese students studying in a library.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Use official ACT practice tests to simulate the testing environment. Time yourself, review your answers, and learn from your mistakes. There are numerous resources available online and in print to help you practice.

Plan Your Prep

It’s never too early to start preparing for the ACT. Create a study schedule that suits your learning style and stick to it. Balance your prep with other commitments like schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

Set a Target Score

While aiming for the Northwestern ACT score range is a good start, your target score should reflect your abilities and potential. Strive to do your best.

Take the ACT More than Once

Many students improve their scores on the second or third attempt, as familiarity with the test often leads to improved performance. Just make sure you balance retakes with the rest of your academic commitments.

Don’t Neglect the Rest of Your Application

While you’re working hard on the ACT, remember your grades, extracurricular activities, personal essays, and letters of recommendation. These all contribute to your overall application and help you stand out as a well-rounded candidate.

Now that we’ve uncovered the significance of the Northwestern ACT score and its place in the college admissions process, it’s time for you to take the reins of your academic future. With this newfound knowledge, you’re better equipped to strategically prepare for your ACT and aim for Northwestern’s typical score range, maximizing your potential for success.

Remember, your ACT score does not solely define the road to Northwestern. Your experiences, accomplishments, and the unique qualities you bring to the table are all integral to your application. Crafting a compelling narrative that ties together all elements of your application is crucial.

That’s where services like AdmissionSight can make a world of difference. AdmissionSight can provide expert guidance to help you navigate the complex admissions landscape, spotlighting your strengths, refining your essays, and offering invaluable advice to enhance your application beyond your ACT scores. Contact us to book your initial appointment.


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