Does The Act Have An Essay Section

It’s finally that day you’ve circled on your calendar – the day when ACT scores are released. You log into ACTstudent and look at your essay score. There's an "8" for your overall Writing score as well as four different "domain" scores of 6, 8, 9, and 10. What does your ACT Writing score mean and how is your ACT essay scored? This article will shed some light on both of these things.

Feature image credit: eppny by woodleywonderworks, used under CC BY 2.0/Resized from original.

 

A Quick Look into ACT Essay Scoring

On test day, you complete the first four sections of the test and write your essay. What happens next?

Once ACT, Inc. receives your essay, it is scanned and uploaded to an essay grading program for graders to score. In addition, ACT.org states that “[a]n image of your essay will be available to your high school and the colleges to which you have ACT report your scores from that test date.”

Each ACT essay is scored by two different graders on a scale of 1-6 across four different domains, for a total score out of 12 in each domain. These domain scores are then averaged into a total score out of 12.

 

NOTE: The ACT Writing Test from September 2015-June 2016 had a slightly different scoring scale; instead of averaging all the domain scores to get a total ACT Writing score out of 12, the domain scores were combined and scaled into a total score out of 36. One June 28th, 2016, however, ACT, Inc. announced that starting in September of 2016, the Writing test would no longer be scored on a scale of 1-36, due to the confusion this had caused. This change to out-of-12 ACT Writing scores is still different from the pre-September 2015 ACT essay scoring, since that system relied on graders giving the essay one holistic score (rather than 4 analytical domain scores).

 

Because the ACT Writing is optional, your essay score will not be factored into your ACT composite score. It will, however, be factored into your English-Language Arts subscore, which averages your English, Reading, and Writing scores and rounds up to the nearest whole number.

So what are the four domains that your essay is scored across?

 

1. Ideas and Analysis

Scores in this domain relate to your discussion of the perspectives on the essay topic.

 

2. Development and Support

Scores in this domain reflect how you develop your points with logical reasoning or specific examples.

 

3. Organization

Scores in this domain relate to your essay's organization on both a macro (overall structure) and micro (within each paragraph) level.

 

4. Language Use

Scores in this domain depend on your command of standard written English (including grammar and punctuation); variety in sentence structure and vocabulary is also rewarded in this domain.

 

Give me a hug by SeasonalOrange, used under CC BY-SA 2.0/Resized from original.

Cats: Great sources of amusement, but less great sources of standard written English.

 

For more on what goes into each domain score, read my article on the ACT Writing Rubric.

 

ACT Essay Scoring: Official Policy

Every essay is graded by two graders, who must score the essay within one point of each other. If the graders’ scores disagree by more than one point, a third grader will be brought in to resolve the issue. It's currently unclear whether this means a greater-than-one-point difference in domain score or overall essay score between graders – stay tuned for more information.

While your essay receives scores in each of the four domain areas, the domains themselves are graded holistically. For example, in the Language Use domain, there are no guidelines that instruct scorers to deduct 1 point for every 10 grammatical errors.

Another important part of official ACT essay scoring policy is that factual accuracy is not important. ACT essay graders are not supposed to score essays based on whether or not the facts are accurate. The point of the ACT essay is NOT to write a research paper with well-documented facts on a topic. Instead, you're asked to argue in favor of a perspective on the topic and compare your perspective to the other perspectives given by the ACT in the essay prompt; as long as your examples support your arguments, it doesn't matter if the examples aren't 100% true.

 

ACT Writing Scores in Practice

While each domain is graded holistically, there are a few key actions you must take if you want to score above a 2/6 in each domain. I've extracted these ACTions via analysis of the essay scoring rubric as well as through scrutiny of the sample essays the ACT provides on its website.

As I go through each domain, I'll be using the following official sample ACT prompt for any examples:

 

Intelligent Machines

Many of the goods and services we depend on daily are now supplied by intelligent, automated machines rather than human beings. Robots build cars and other goods on assembly lines, where once there were human workers. Many of our phone conversations are now conducted not with people but with sophisticated technologies. We can now buy goods at a variety of stores without the help of a human cashier. Automation is generally seen as a sign of progress, but what is lost when we replace humans with machines? Given the accelerating variety and prevalence of intelligent machines, it is worth examining the implications and meaning of their presence in our lives.

 

Perspective One

Perspective Two

Perspective Three

What we lose with the replacement of people by machines is some part of our own humanity. Even our mundane daily encounters no longer require from us basic courtesy, respect, and tolerance for other people.

Machines are good at low-skill, repetitive jobs, and at high-speed, extremely precise jobs. In both cases they work better than humans. This efficiency leads to a more prosperous and progressive world for everyone.

Intelligent machines challenge our long-standing ideas about what humans are or can be. This is good because it pushes both humans and machines toward new, unimagined possibilities.

 

Write a unified, coherent essay about the increasing presence of intelligent machines. In your essay, be sure to

  • clearly state your own perspective on the issue and analyze the relationship between your perspective and at least one other perspective
  • develop and support your ideas with reasoning and examples
  • organize your ideas clearly and logically
  • communicate your ideas effectively in standard written English

Your perspective may be in full agreement with any of the others, in partial agreement, or wholly different.

 

Ideas and Analysis

You must: Have a clear thesis in your essay.

Because you are writing a persuasive essay, it is imperative that you make your position on the topic clear. Otherwise, how can you persuade someone that your view is the correct view?

Since you have limited time and have to compare your perspective with at least one of the other perspectives anyway, choose one of the three perspectives given to you by the ACT to argue for in your thesis.

 

You must: Discuss the relationship between your perspective and at least one of the perspectives that the ACT mentions in the prompt.

The prompt explicitly states that you need to "analyze the relationship between your perspective and at least one other perspective." If you fail to discuss how your perspective relates to any of the given perspectives, it will be very difficult to score above a 2 or 3 in the Ideas and Analysis Domain. With the above "Intelligent Machines" prompt, for instance, you'd need to compare your position to at least one of the following: how machines cause us to lose our own humanity (Perspective One), how they are efficient and create prosperity (Perspective Two), and how machines challenge us and push us to new possibilities (Perspective Three).

 

Development and Support

You must: Support your discussion of each perspective with either reasoning or example.

There are a couple of ways you can support your arguments. One way is to use reasoning, which tends to be more abstract. For example, if you were using reasoning to support your argument for Perspective Two, you could discuss how machines taking over lower skill jobs frees up humans to do higher skilled tasks that require more creative thinking.

The other way you can support your points is through use of specific examples. For example, to support Perspective Two, you could use the example of how the mass-production of clothes has made it less expensive for everyone to own things like good boots.

 

For a high score in this domain, you must: Discuss both positive and negative aspects of the perspectives you disagree with as well.

In order to achieve a high score in this domain, you must show that you understand the complexities of the issue. The main way to do this is to discuss the pros as well as the cons of the perspectives you disagree with.

For instance, if you agree with Perspective Two in the above prompt (machines make us more efficient and that’s good), when you discuss Perspective One you should provide a brief instance of that perspective being "sort of" true before moving on to show how it is not as true as Perspective Two. Learn how to juggle both sides of a perspective in our article on how to write an ACT essay step-by-step.

 

Organization

You must: Group your ideas logically.

Writing an organized essay will make it easier for the essay graders to follow your logic and reasoning. Grouping your ideas logically can mean separating out ideas into different paragraphs (for instance, putting each perspective into its own paragraph), or it can involve clearly linking different aspects of the same idea in the same paragraph. No matter how you plan out your essay, try to make it as easy as possible to follow your arguments.

 

Language Use

You must: Write clearly.

Being able to communicate clearly is a key skill for college and life in general, so it makes sense that it would be tested on the ACT (a college entrance exam). ACT essay graders care more about the clarity of your thoughts than the fanciness of your language. Clarity of writing normally entails using proper grammar and clear, non-convoluted sentence structures. Throwing in fancy vocab won’t get you anywhere if it makes things less clear instead of more clear (I've seen this happen too many times to count).

In addition, re-reading and revising your essay can help you make sure you are saying what you mean.

Example of an unclear sentence: Machines are more practical because they are cheaper and so you can hire less people to do the work and pay less money overall and so you have a better profit margin.

Example of a clearer sentence (revised): Machines are more practical and cheaper in the long run because you can higher fewer people to get the same work done.

 

Détail de la machine à vapeur Merlin by Frédéric BISSON, used under CC BY 2.0/Resized from original.

TURNS out, the steam engine was more practical (and cheaper in the long run) than a thousand people pushing and pulling a train by hand.

 

What Does This Mean For Your ACT Essay?

From the lists of actions above, you can probably tell that the most important part of the ACT essay is to be clear. The ACT Writing test is designed to measure insight, not just how advanced your vocabulary is. Remember to...
  1. Be clear up front what your perspective on the issue is. Don't hide your thesis.
  2. Make it obvious when you’re discussing each perspective (and make sure to discuss the relationship between your perspective and at least one other).
  3. Support each argument with reasoning and/or specific examples.
  4. Take time to plan so you can write an organized essay.
  5. Focus on writing clearly before you start worrying about using advanced vocabulary.

 

What’s Next?

Want to learn more about how to write an ACT essay? Read my step-by-step guide to ACT Writing.

You've learned what your essay needs to include. But how you do you decode the prompt? Follow along as I teach you how to attack ACT Writing prompts.

Is a longer ACT essay always a better ACT essay? Find out how essay length can affect your score on ACT Writing here.

 

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You’ve just signed up for the ACT. But did you know that there is an optional writing test for the ACT? Do you know if your dream schools require it or recommend it?

Check out our regularly updated list of schools to find out if the Writing ACT is worth your time and money. Then learn how you're going to ace the ACT Writing section.

 

What Is the ACT Writing Test?

The ACT Writing test is an optional essay test you can take immediately after the other sections of the ACT. It costs an additional $16.50 and 40 minutes of your time. It's available to take after the ACT on all seven national testing dates in the USA. Keep in mind when deciding to take it or not that you cannot just take the ACT Writing test on its own—you can only take it while suitably exhausted after taking all the other sections of the ACT!

The writing test is meant to measure the writing skills that you should have learned in your English classes in high school. It also claims to be a measure of how you might do in entry-level composition classes in college.

So, what exactly is the test like? First, you will be given a prompt that tells you about an issue. You will also be presented with three possible points of view on said topic, and will be asked to write an essay about your point of view. You can either borrow and elaborate upon one of the ones that are given, or offer up a fourth viewpoint. Sound tough? See this article for some top ACT essay strategies.

Your ACT Writing score (which is out of 12 points) is not part of your composite score, which will still consist only of your English, Math, Reading, and Science subscores. Instead, your essay subscore will be added to your English and Reading scores and averaged for a combined English/Language Arts score. For a full breakdown on how the ACT is graded, read this guide.

 

Why Do Schools Require ACT Writing?

You may be surprised to learn that not all schools require the ACT Writing test! But those that do think they have a pretty good reason. These schools think that your essay score, combined with your English and Reading ACT scores, can help them understand your grasp of English and your ability to produce a sample of writing under pressure.

This is quite a different skill compared to what they see when you submit your personal statement and essays in your application. They are assuming that those have been proofread by 50 of your closest friends and family members, and that they have been heavily edited and reviewed for hours on end. So while your personal statement is more like a heavily photoshopped selfie in flattering lighting, ACT Writing is like a candid snapshot of your writing abilities

 

 

Specifically, these schools want to get a better idea of your ability to defend a point of view and your reasoning skills.  Can you write logically and coherently? Can you use proper sentence structure without Word telling you what you have done wrong? The Writing Test is your chance to prove all those skills.

And, apart from your application, the combined English/Language Arts ACT score has another use for many schools. They may actually use your score on this test to help place you into different levels of English classes—so it can potentially save you the trouble of taking a placement test once you arrive at college in the fall!

 

What Kind of Colleges Require ACT Writing?

The answers may surprise you — read on to learn more about which schools require the Writing section of the ACT.

 

Not All Top Schools Require It!

Top schools that do not require the ACT Writing test include Columbia, Penn, and Cornell.

However, other elite schools like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, CalTech, Brown, and Dartmouth all require it. Top public colleges like UC's, the University of Michigan, and the University of Texas require it as well. So if you are aiming high, you may want to take ACT Writing!

 

 

Do Top Journalism, Humanities, and English Programs Require ACT Writing?

Some do, but there are a few notable exceptions. Pepperdine and George Washington University, which are known as great journalism schools, recommend but do not require it.

Georgetown and the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts offer great English degrees and do not require the ACT with Writing.

Hamilton College in New York, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Iowa, and Colorado College all have great writing programs and do not require the Writing ACT.

Several well-known, smaller liberal arts colleges do not require (although they may recommend) the ACT with Writing, including Amherst, Bowdoin, Pomona, Haverford, and Davidson College. And the University of Chicago is great all around for humanities, and they do not require it.

 

Do Top Technical/Math/Science Schools Require ACT Writing?

Despite what you might expect, a number of the top tech/math/science schools do require the ACT Writing — including CalTech and the University of Michigan.

 

Yes, tech schools also care about your writing ability.

 

Why Should You Care?

Below we have broken down by state and territory every college that either requires or recommends the ACT Plus Writing. 

Keep in mind that although you don't have to take the ACT with Writing unless you want to apply to a college on the list below, you still have the option to.

You can usually submit the Writing test to colleges, even if they do not require it. By doing so, you allow them to consider your essay along with the rest of your application. Some will choose to treat ACT Writing as equally important to the other sections, while others will give it less weight.

But the bottom line is, a strong writing score will almost always help you out. If you opt to take the test and score well on it, it could be a great way to enhance your application and give you an edge!

Fortunately, this is a real possibility because just like every other part of the ACT, the essay can be taught so that you can excel on it. So if you are thinking about taking the ACT Plus Writing, either because you have to or if you just want that extra bright point in your application, it is definitely worth your time to study and practice. See this guide for step-by-step instructions on how to master the ACT essay.

Another point: you may change your mind about where you want to apply, and that is another reason it's a good idea to take the ACT Plus Writing. If your plans change, you don't want to have to re-take the whole test just because you didn't think ahead!

 

Full List of Colleges That Require ACT Writing

Where are your dream schools on the list?

This list of 4-year universities is broken down by state. The first colleges in each section are those that require the Writing ACT, followed by those that recommend it. "Recommend" means that the college does not require it, but that scoring well will improve the strength of your application and help you reach equal footing with other applicants who do take it.

To find your favorite schools, either scroll down to the state in which they're located, or use Ctrl+F to type in the school name to see if it shows up.

Keep in mind that school requirements frequently change (especially with the recent rise in test-optional admissions), so it's always a good idea to check with individual universities before you apply.

 

ALABAMA

Recommended:

  • Alabama A&M University
  • Alabama State University
  • Auburn University
  • Miles College
  • Oakwood University
  • Spring Hill College
  • Troy University

 

ALASKA

Recommended:

  • Alaska Pacific University
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks

 

ARIZONA

Recommended:

  • Grand Canyon University
  • University of Arizona

 

Grand Canyon University, Arizona

 

ARKANSAS

Recommended:

 

CALIFORNIA

Required:

  • California Institute of Technology (CalTech)
  • Chapman University
  • Claremont McKenna College
  • Golden State Baptist College
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Scripps College
  • Soka University of America
  • Stanford University
  • UC Berkeley
  • UC Davis
  • UC Irvine
  • UC Los Angeles
  • UC Merced
  • UC Riverside
  • UC San Diego
  • UC Santa Barbara
  • UC Santa Cruz
  • University of La Verne
  • University of San Diego
  • Westmont College

 

University of California at Berkeley

 

Recommended:

  • California Christian College
  • California Lutheran University
  • California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo
  • California State University - Bakersfield
  • California State University - Northridge
  • Cogswell Polytechnical College
  • Columbia College Hollywood
  • Dominican University of California
  • Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising - Los Angeles
  • Fresno Pacific University
  • Holy Names University
  • Loyola Marymount University
  • Mills College
  • New School of Architecture & Design
  • Notre Dame de Namur University
  • Oak Valley College
  • Occidental College
  • Pepperdine University
  • Point Loma Nazarene University
  • Pomona College
  • Providence Christian College
  • San Diego Christian College
  • San Francisco Art Institute
  • Simpson University
  • St. Katherine College
  • Thomas Aquinas College
  • University of Northern California
  • University of Redlands
  • Whittier College
  • William Jessup University

 

Pepperdine University wins for most dramatic location

 

COLORADO

Recommended:

  • Art Institute of Colorado
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Johnson & Wales University
  • Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design

 

CONNECTICUT

Required:

  • United States Coast Guard Academy
  • Yale University

 

Recommended:

  • Central Connecticut State University
  • Eastern Connecticut State University
  • Lincoln College of New England
  • New England Baptist College
  • Post University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Trinity College - Connecticut
  • University of Bridgeport

 

DELAWARE

Recommended:

 

WASHINGTON DC

Recommended:

  • Gallaudet University
  • George Washington University
  • Trinity University
  • University of the District of Columbia

 

American University doesn't require the ACT Writing

 

FLORIDA

Required:

  • Florida A&M University
  • Florida Atlantic University
  • Florida International University
  • Trinity Baptist College
  • University of Miami

 

Recommended:

  • Ave Maria University
  • Bethune-Cookman University
  • College of Central Florida
  • Embry-Riddle Aueronautical University - Florida
  • Emmaus Baptist College
  • Florida Baptist College - Tampa
  • Florida College
  • Florida State University
  • Hobe Sound Bible College
  • Johnson & Wales University - North Miami
  • Keiser University - Pembroke Pines
  • Naaleh College
  • Palm Beach Atlantic University
  • Reformation Bible College
  • Rollins College
  • Saint Leo University
  • Trinity College of Florida
  • University of Tampa
  • University of West Florida
  • Webber International University

 

GEORGIA

Required:

  • Berry College
  • Georgia Southern University
  • Life University
  • Morris Brown College

 

Recommended:

  • Armstrong State University
  • Covenant College
  • Emmanuel College - Georgia
  • Emory University
  • Fort Valley State University
  • Georgia College and State University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)
  • Morehouse College
  • Oglethorpe University
  • Toccoa Falls College
  • University of West Georgia
  • Wesleyan College (Georgia)

 

Emory University

 

HAWAII

Required:

  • University of Hawaii at Manoa

 

Recommended:

  • Hawaii Pacific University

 

IDAHO

Recommended:

 

ILLINOIS

Required:

  • Morthland College
  • St. Joseph College Seminary

 

Recommended:

  • Benedictine University
  • Christian Life College
  • Columbia College Chicago
  • DanEL Christian College
  • East-West University
  • Eastern Illinois University
  • Greenville College
  • Illinois College
  • Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Illinois State University
  • Lake Forest College
  • Lincoln Christian University
  • Methodist College of Nursing
  • Northwestern University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • Olivet Nazarene University
  • Robert Morris University
  • Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
  • University of Illinois - Chicago
  • VanderCook College of Music

 

View of the Loop from University of Illinois Chicago campus

 

INDIANA

Required:

  • Fairhaven College
  • University of Evansville

 

Recommended:

  • American Conservatory of Music
  • Anderson University - Indiana
  • Art Institute of Indianapolis
  • Ball State University
  • Crossroads Bible College
  • Franklin College
  • Holy Cross College
  • Huntington University
  • Indiana State University
  • Indiana University Bloomington
  • Indiana University East
  • Indiana University Northwest
  • Indiana University South Bend
  • Indiana University Southeast
  • Indiana University - Purdue University at Columbus
  • Indiana University - Purdue University at Indianapolis
  • Indiana Wesleyan University
  • Marian University - Indiana
  • Purdue University
  • Purdue University - North Central
  • Taylor University
  • Union Bible College
  • University of Indianapolis
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Southern Indiana
  • Valparaiso University
  • Wabash College

 

 University of Notre Dame 

 

IOWA

Recommended:

  • Ashford University
  • Divine Word College
  • Faith Baptist Bible College
  • Grand View University
  • Iowa Wesleyan College
  • Mercy College of Health Sciences
  • Morningside College

 

KANSAS

Recommended:

  • Barclay College
  • Haskell Indian Nations University
  • Kansas City College and Bible School
  • McPherson College
  • University of Saint Mary

 

KENTUCKY

Required:

 

Recommended:

  • Campellsville University
  • Centre College
  • Northern Kentucky University

 

LOUISIANA

Recommended:

  • Louisiana State University A&M - Baton Rouge
  • Loyola University New Orleans
  • Tulane University

 

You never know where Mike the Tiger is going to show up at LSU. Derek Jensen/Flickr

 

MAINE

Recommended:

  • Husson University
  • Maine Maritime Academy
  • University of Maine at Fort Kent
  • University of Maine
  • University of New England
  • University of Southern Maine

 

MARYLAND

Required:

  • Washington Adventist University

 

Recommended:

  • Antietam Bible College
  • Maryland Institute College of Art

 

MASSACHUSETTS

Required:

  • Atlantic Union College
  • Harvard College
  • Olin College of Engineering
  • Springfield College - MA
  • Wellesley College

 

 

Recommended:

  • Amherst College
  • Bard College at Simon’s Rock
  • Bay Path University
  • Becker College
  • Bridgewater State University
  • Elms College
  • Endicott College
  • Gordon College - Massachusetts
  • Lesley University
  • Massachusetts College of Pharmacology and Health Sciences
  • Massachusetts College of Art & Design
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy
  • Mount Ida College
  • Northpoint Bible College
  • Regis College
  • Simmons College
  • UMass Amherst
  • UMass Boston
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology

 

MICHIGAN

Required:

  • College for Creative Studies
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

 

 

Recommended:

  • Andrews University
  • Baker College Online
  • Baker College at Allen Park
  • Central Michigan University
  • Cleary University
  • Compass College of Cinematic Arts
  • Concordia University - Ann Arbor
  • Cornerstone University
  • Grace Baptist College
  • Grace Bible College
  • Grand Valley State University
  • Great Lakes Christian College
  • Madonna University
  • Marygrove College
  • Sacred Heart Major Seminary
  • Spring Arbor University
  • University of Michigan - Flint

 

MINNESOTA

Required:

  • University of Minnesota - Rochester

 

Recommended:

  • Augsburg College
  • Bethany Lutheran College
  • College of Saint Benedict
  • Concordia College - Moorhead
  • Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Hamline University
  • Martin Luther College
  • McNally Smith College of Music
  • Saint John’s University
  • St Olaf College
  • University of Minnesota - Morris
  • University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
  • University of Northwestern - St Paul

 

MISSOURI

Required:

  • College of the Ozarks
  • Urshan College

 

Recommended:

  • Baptist Bible College
  • Drury University
  • Hickey College
  • Missouri Baptist University
  • St Louis Christian College
  • Webster University
  • William Jewell College

 

MONTANA

Required:

  • University of Montana Western

 

Recommended:

  • Carroll College
  • Montana State University - Bozeman
  • Montana Tech of the University of Montana
  • University of Great Falls
  • University of Montana
  • Yellowstone Christian College

 

University of Montana Western wins second most dramatic campus location

 

NEBRASKA

Recommended:

  • Saint Gregory the Great Seminary
  • Summit Christian College
  • Union College - Nebraska
  • York College - Nebraska

 

NEVADA

Recommended:

  • Art Institute of Las Vegas
  • Western Nevada Community College

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Required:

  • Dartmouth College
  • University of New Hampshire

 

Recommended:

  • Keene State College
  • New Hampshire Institute of Art
  • Northeast Catholic College
  • Plymouth State University
  • Saint Anselm College

 

NEW JERSEY

Required:

  • Caldwell College
  • Princeton University
  • Westminster Choir College of Rider University

 

Recommended:

  • Centenary College
  • Rider University
  • Rutgers - State University of New Jersey

 

 

NEW MEXICO

Recommended:

  • University of New Mexico
  • University of the Southwest

 

NEW YORK

Required:

  • CUNY - John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  • Concordia College - New York
  • Five Towns College
  • LIM College
  • List College - Jewish Theological Seminary
  • Molloy College
  • Pratt Institute
  • SUNY College at Old Westbury
  • SUNY Maritime College
  • Syracuse University
  • US Military Academy
  • University at Buffalo - SUNY

 

Recommended:

  • Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
  • Barnard College
  • Binghamton University - SUNY
  • CUNY - Medgar Evers College
  • Canisius College
  • College of Mount Saint Vincent
  • College of New Rochelle
  • Cooper Union
  • Culinary Institute of America
  • Dominican College
  • Eugene Lang College, New School of Liberal Arts
  • Farmingdale State College
  • Fordham University
  • Globe Institute of Technology
  • Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Iona College
  • King's College, The
  • Manhattanville College
  • Mercy College - New York
  • Morrisville State College
  • Parsons The New School for Design
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • St John’s University
  • SUNY College at Buffalo
  • Stony Brook University - SUNY
  • Touro College
  • Vassar College
  • Webb Institute of Naval Architecture
  • Wells College

 

NORTH CAROLINA

Required:

  • Duke University
  • Elizabeth City State University
  • Fayetteville State University
  • North Carolina Central University
  • Queens University of Charlotte
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • University of North Carolina at Wilmington

 

The chapel at Duke University

 

Recommended:

  • Barber-Scotia College
  • Bennett College
  • Brevard University
  • Chowan University
  • Davidson College
  • Grace Baptist Bible College
  • Johnson & Wales University - Charlotte
  • Meredith College
  • North Carolina State University at Raleigh
  • North Carolina Wesleyan College
  • Salem College - North Carolina
  • University of North Carolina at Pembroke
  • Western Carolina University
  • Winston-Salem State University

 

NORTH DAKOTA

Recommended:

  • Dickinson State University
  • Mayville State University
  • Trinity Bible College

 

OHIO

Required:

  • God’s Bible School and College
  • Lake Erie College

 

Recommended:

  • Allegheny Wesleyan College
  • Bowling Green State University
  • Cedarville University
  • Chamberlain College of Nursing
  • Cleveland Institute of Music
  • College of Wooster
  • Heidelberg University
  • John Carroll University
  • Kent State University - Salem
  • Kent State University - Stark
  • Kent State University - Trumbull
  • Kettering College of Medical Arts
  • Miami University - Middletown
  • Mount St Joseph University
  • Ohio University - Athens
  • Ohio Wesleyan University
  • South University - Cleveland
  • Tiffin University
  • University of Rio Grande
  • Urbana University
  • Ursuline College
  • Walsh University
  • Wilberforce University
  • Youngstown State University

 

OKLAHOMA

Recommended:

  • Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College
  • Oklahoma Wesleyan University
  • Saint Gregory’s University
  • Spartan School of Aeronautics

 

I wonder if you can still send this in?

 

OREGON

Required:

  • Portland State University
  • Western Oregon University (for students with below a 3.0 GPA)

 

Recommended:

 

PENNSYLVANIA

Required:

  • Delaware Valley College
  • University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
  • Villanova University
  • York College of Pennsylvania

 

Recommended:

  • Allegheny College
  • Arcadia University
  • Bryn Athyn College
  • Bryn Mawr College
  • Cheyney University of Pennsylvania
  • Delaware Valley University
  • Elizabethtown College
  • Gettysburg College
  • Gwynedd Mercy University
  • Keystone College
  • Lafayette College
  • Lancaster Bible College
  • Lehigh University
  • Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania
  • Lycoming College
  • Messiah College
  • Millersville University of Pennsylvania
  • Muhlenberg College
  • Rosemont College
  • Saint Francis University
  • Seton Hill University
  • Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania
  • Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
  • Temple University
  • University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg
  • Waynesburg University

 

May Day at Bryn Mawr

 

RHODE ISLAND

Required:

  • Brown University
  • Rhode Island College
  • Rhode Island School of Design

 

Recommended:

  • Johnson & Wales University

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

Required:

  • University of South Carolina - Columbia
  • Wofford College

 

Recommended:

  • American College of the Building Arts
  • Charleston Southern University
  • Coastal Carolina University
  • College of Charleston
  • Furman University
  • Lander University
  • Newberry College
  • North Greenville University
  • South Carolina State University
  • Southern Methodist College
  • University of South Carolina - Aiken
  • Voorhees College

 

SOUTH DAKOTA

Recommended:

  • Black Hills State University
  • National American University

 

TENNESSEE

Recommended:

  • Bethel University
  • Bryan College
  • Carson-Newman University
  • Cumberland University
  • Fisk University
  • Lincoln Memorial University
  • Lipscomb University
  • Martin Methodist College
  • Maryville College
  • Memphis College of Art
  • Mid-South Christian College
  • O’More College of Design
  • Tennessee State University
  • University of the South

 

TEXAS

Required:

  • Hardin-Simmons University
  • Midwestern State University
  • Paul Quinn College
  • Southwest School of Art
  • St. Edward’s University
  • Stephen F Austin State University
  • Tarleton State University
  • University of Mary Hardin-Baylor
  • University of North Texas
  • University of St. Thomas - Texas
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Texas at Dallas

 

Welcome!

 

Recommended:

  • Abilene Christian University
  • Arlington Baptist College
  • Art Institute of Houston
  • Austin College
  • Baylor University
  • Dallas Christian College
  • Huston-Tillotson University
  • Jarvis Christian College
  • McMurry University
  • Messenger College
  • Mexican American Catholic College
  • North American College
  • Schreiner University
  • Southwestern Assemblies of God University
  • Texas A&M International University
  • Texas A&M University - Main Campus
  • Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
  • Texas Independent Baptist School
  • Texas Southern University
  • Texas State University
  • University of Houston - Main Campus
  • University of Houston - Victoria
  • University of Incarnate Word
  • University of Texas at San Antonio
  • University of Texas at Tyler

 

UTAH

Recommended:

  • Brigham Young University
  • George Wythe University
  • Neumont University
  • Westminster College

 

VERMONT

Recommended:

  • College of Saint Joseph
  • Johnson State College
  • Middlebury College
  • Norwich University
  • Saint Michael’s College
  • Vermont Technical College

 

VIRGINIA

Recommended:

  • Emory and Henry College
  • Hollins University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Radford University
  • Randolph College
  • Randolph-Macon College
  • University of Mary Washington
  • University of Virginia
  • Washington and Lee University

 

WASHINGTON

Required:

  • University of Washington Tacoma

Recommended:

  • Art Institute of Seattle
  • DigiPen Institute of Technology
  • Northwest University
  • Saint Martin’s University
  • Seattle Pacific University
  • Seattle University
  • University of Puget Sound
  • University of Washington (Seattle)
  • University of Washington Bothell

 

WEST VIRGINIA

Recommended:

  • Bluefield State College
  • Salem International University
  • West Virginia State University
  • West Virginia University Institute of Technology

 

 Very dramatic, West Virginia.

 

WISCONSIN

Recommended:

  • Cardinal Stritch University
  • Carroll University
  • Marquette University
  • Saint Norbert College
  • Silver Lake College

 

WYOMING

Recommended:

 

VIRGIN ISLANDS

Required:

  • University of the Virgin Islands

 

What’s Next?

Now that you know whether you need to take ACT Writing, make sure you do well. Learn the prompts that ACT Writing tests, 15 strategies to improve your ACT Writing score, and how to get a 12 on the essay.

Ready to work for a killer ACT English/Language Arts Score? Make sure to remind yourself of what’s actually tested on ACT English and on ACT Reading.

For top strategies for scoring a 36 on ACT English, check out this article.

Don’t forget the rest of the test—here are tips for getting a perfect SAT score, by a 36 Full Scorer.

 

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