ACT as a freshman?

Is there any advantage of taking ACT as a freshman? I mean if I score really well like say 32 or 33? Would the college look at my application and say this kid did well in ACT as a freshman and would that give me some more brownie points to get admitted?

I don’t think a 32 or 33 freshman year wins any points. I know middle schoolers who have scored 36 so the “youth” of a freshman is insignificant. On the other hand there might be an argument for someone to want to get the ACTs out of the way in order to focus on things other than test prep, but regarding top colleges I’d only advise that if there was a decent chance at a 36 (one and done). And even then, taking it so early might send the wrong message unless there is a compelling reason (maybe internationally traveling athlete who needs to focus on other priorities…)

I think some schools put time limits on test scores. If it’s older than x years they won’t use it.


No advantage- AOs aren’t going to swoon over a 36 as a 9th grader. The highly selective schools are overrun with applicants with dazzling numbers and try not to encourage students to overemphasize the testing (including APs) aspect of their application.

There is some (minor) potential for disadvantages. Georgetown U requires scores from every test you take, and as @chmcm noted quite a few schools won’t take scores more than 3 years old. And, of course, the weight of testing in the admissions calculation is being re-considered.

I scored 35 in my ACT as a freshman, my thought was to get this out of my way as early as I can. How would college perceive this when I am using this score for applying for college admission in Senior year?

Here’s what CMU says about early ACT:

“We believe that college admission testing in the 9th and 10th grades adds to the anxiety of a process that students won’t encounter for several years. As a result, we’re generally not in favor of any 9th or 10th grade SAT or ACT scores (although tests taken the summer after 10th grade are appropriate). While they may measure knowledge at the time the tests are taken, that level of knowledge gradually degrades and doesn’t fully represent the knowledge students bring to college first-year courses. Should students present tests taken two or more years in advance of their first-year experience, we’d take the timing of the test results into consideration. The greater the amount of time prior to students’ first year of college, the less we can rely on the test results as a fair representation of their knowledge entering Carnegie Mellon.”

Thanks for response, just weird that they think someone with brains & hard-work would degrade as they move through high school course which gets tougher & tougher.

Oh the naivete of youth to think that brains has much to do with SAT/ACT.

The disadvantage may be that you come off as a one-dimensional academic wonk who has nothing better to do than take both SAT and ACT as a 9th grader.


My D is a college senior so at this point, we’re many years out from college admission, which changes landscape every year.

The only students taking early ACT/SAT when she was your age were students needing scores for talented and gifted programs. Everyone took them again junior year for scores to report to colleges.

IMO, your high scores now are great predictors of high scores later, but for schools that are not test optional, I’d recommend taking one of them again junior year.

My other unsolicited piece of advice is to remember that scores will be only a very small piece of your total application. Scores are being relied on less and less for college admission so be sure that you don’t neglect the things that will make you shine. High stats are just the initially hurdle but to get accepted, you’ll need much more than that, even for schools that were traditionally safeties and matches.

You have a long way to go before you need to apply to colleges so be sure that you are finding time to get involved in ECs that you enjoy and have fun in HS!


You are seeing this from your perspective, not theirs. You started this thread asking ‘will it help me with college admissions if I do well on the ACT in grade 9’. Every poster said ‘no’.

You went and did the test anyway, did well and are now asking again if it will help you in college admissions and you are getting the same answer.

Your assumption that what you think universities should value is what they value is getting in your way. Go read this for a good look at what they actually value:

And on testing in particular:

CMU’s “Junior year or later” and, iirc, Harvard’s “within 3 years”, are the only constraints I can recall, though I’ve only dealt with ~40-50 schools with two kids.

Also remember that a confirming score for National Merit must be after Fall of Sophomore year, by December of Senior year. D22 had a 1560 in 8th grade and re-took as a Junior for NM and CMU. (And yes, CMU’s “you might get dumber over time” thinking is one of several reasons I dislike their admissions process).

I don’t think Georgetown will hold a 9th grade score against you, assuming a later high score, but there’s really no reason to take it in 9th grade either. Iirc, talent searches (TIP, CTY, etc.) end in 8th grade, so that typical reason for early testing doesn’t apply.

No. None whatsoever. Unless one gets a perfect 36 across the board in 9th, or a 1600, no advantage. Don’t bother. No school is going to say, “Wow! He got a less than perfect score early on!” They’re just going to say, “Huh? He’s submitting a 33 from 3 yrs ago? Why?”

You could use your ACT score to apply for DYS. A score of 35 is sufficient for 9th grade. Young Scholars: Eligibility and Testing - Davidson Institute