Preparing for College

How does the NCAA Calculate Minimum ACT Score?

Question: In order to be NCAA eligible, the minimum requirement is a GPA of 2.0 and a combined ACT score of 86. Can you explain to me what exactly this means? I cannot figure it out because the sub-score scales only go up to 18; 18 times 4 is 72 so the way I'm reading it there is no way to get a combined 86 on the test. Can you help me out and explain how to get a combined 86 on the test? Thank

An ACT score report includes a "Composite" score, which is an average of 4 subject scores: one in English, one in Math, one in Reading and one in Science. The highest score you can earn on each of these four sections is a 36, so the highest composite is thus also 36.

So when NCAA eligibility requires an 86, it means that the TOTAL of your 4 subjects must reach 86. (The "Composite" score is not included here ... just the individual scores for English, Math, Reading, and Science.)

You are correct when you say that "sub-scores" only go up to 18, BUT ... "sub-scores" are not the same as the SUBJECT scores. (An example of a "sub-score" would be the "Usage/Mechanics" section of the English test or the "Pre-Algebra/Elementary Algebra" section of the Math test.)

Note that, for Division III colleges, there is NO minimum score requirement. For Div. II colleges, all student athletes have the same score requirement, which is 68.

However, for Div. I colleges there is a "sliding scale." Thus, the higher your GPA, the lower your ACT can be. You can see that scale here:

As you have already correctly noted, for a GPA of 2.0, the required ACT score is 86. So now you can see how to get there.

Hope that helps. It is a very confusing issue (but just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to NCAA recruiting and eligibility rules. :( )

(posted 3/24/2011)