Is a 17 on the ACT Good Enough?

If you’re a high school student, you might be wondering whether a 17 on the ACT is good enough to get into your desired college or university. The answer, as with many things related to college admissions, is complicated. Read on to find out more about what a 17 on the ACT means and how it might impact your college admissions chances.

Understanding the ACT

The ACT is one of two major college admissions tests in the United States. It is designed to measure skills in English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. Each section is scored on a scale of 1 to 36, with the total ACT score ranging from 1 to 36. The ACT also includes an optional writing section, which is scored separately.

What Does a 17 on the ACT Mean?

A 17 on the ACT is slightly below the national average, which is a score of 20.8. However, it is important to remember that average scores vary depending on geographic region, race and ethnicity, and other factors. A 17 is still a passing score, meaning that you answered enough questions correctly to demonstrate basic proficiency in the skills being tested.

What Are My College Admissions Chances With a 17 on the ACT?

College admissions is a complex process that takes into account many different factors. Your ACT score is just one part of your application. Generally speaking, a score of 17 is not likely to be competitive for admission to highly selective colleges and universities. However, there are many schools that do not require standardized test scores or consider them optional. Additionally, some schools have lower average ACT scores for admitted students, and may be willing to accept students with lower scores if they demonstrate other strengths in their application.

Can I Improve My ACT Score?

If you are unhappy with your ACT score and want to try to improve it, there are several options available. One popular choice is to take the test again. Many students take the ACT multiple times in order to achieve a higher score. Another option is to take an ACT prep course or work with a tutor. You can also find free resources online or at your local library to help you prepare for the test.

How Many Times Can I Take the ACT?

You can take the ACT as many times as you like. However, you will need to pay a fee each time you register for the exam. Additionally, many colleges and universities will see all of your test scores, even if you only send them one set of scores. This means that taking the test multiple times may not necessarily improve your admissions chances, especially if your scores do not improve significantly.

When Should I Take the ACT?

Most high school students take the ACT during their junior year or early in their senior year. This gives them enough time to retake the test if necessary and receive their scores in time to meet college admissions deadlines. However, the best time to take the test will depend on your individual circumstances and goals.

What Else Do I Need to Know About the ACT?

Here are some additional things to keep in mind if you are taking or considering taking the ACT:

  • The ACT is only one part of your college application. Admissions officers will also consider your grades, extracurricular activities, essays, and other factors when making their decisions.
  • You should register for the ACT well in advance of the test date. Late registration fees apply if you register after the regular registration deadline.
  • You can request accommodations if you have a disability or other condition that affects your ability to take the test. You will need to submit appropriate documentation and receive approval in advance.
  • Some colleges and universities require or recommend certain ACT scores for admission to specific programs or majors. Be sure to research the requirements of the schools you are interested in.


A 17 on the ACT is a respectable score, but it may not be enough to get you into your dream school. If you are hoping to improve your admissions chances, consider retaking the test or exploring other factors that can strengthen your application. And remember, there are many excellent colleges and universities that do not require or prioritize standardized test scores in their admissions decisions.

Most Common Questions About a 17 on the ACT

  • Is a 17 on the ACT a good score? A 17 is a slightly below average score on the ACT, but it is still a passing score.
  • What is the average ACT score? The average ACT score is 20.8.
  • Can I get into college with a 17 on the ACT? It depends on the college or university you are applying to. Many schools have lower average ACT scores for admitted students, while others do not require or consider standardized test scores in their admissions decisions.
  • How can I improve my ACT score? Some options for improving your ACT score include retaking the test, taking an ACT prep course or working with a tutor, and using free online resources or study guides.
  • When should I take the ACT? Most high school students take the ACT during their junior year or early in their senior year.


ACT, Inc. (n.d.). ACT Scores. Retrieved from

College Board. (n.d.). Understanding Scores. Retrieved from

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