I've a son who's a rising senior, who is hoping to get into the College of Engineering. With an ACT Composite of 30, including a 35 in Math and 33 in English, I think he may be right on the bubble, when it comes to getting in. What screwed him up on the ACT is Science where he got a 27. He's got straight As in all his science and math courses at a school with what I believe is a very rigorous course offering, and he hasn't been shy about challenging himself with the most difficult courses. When I asked about the science score, he told me he gets caught in a time crunch since the science course doesn't really measure direct science knowledge (reflected by his As in Science courses), but instead requires the quick reading of a passage to gleen facts to answer questions about a graph or two. Now he's going to retake the upcoming September test, and any advice on improving that science score would be appreciated because I truly don't believe that it reflects his knowledge of the subject area. To round out his application, he's got 3 years of being a volunteer CCD teacher at a local school where he teaches elementary school children the Catholic faith, and he's held down a summer job as a junior laborer at the Chicago Park District trying to save a little money for his college education. He's also been on the Math Team at his school for 2 years, has taken 3 APs US History-5, World History-4, English Language-3. He's taking 5 additional AP courses in his senior year including AP Chemistry, and AP Calculus.
When we were down there in Urbana, we met with an admissions counselor who, of course being non-committal, said he was "competitive", and that his Math score would help and is the most heavily looked at subscore when considering his standardized test scores (next to the composite) when evaluating an applicant for admission to engineering.
He loved his physics course in high school, and so I suggested the Engineering Physics program, but he has his heart set on Astronautical Engineering.
The admissions officer did say that if he wasn't admitted to his first choice, he could either be admitted to a 'General Engineering' program (first I'd heard of that), or DGS. We also attended the Engineering campus walk through, and signed up on the engineering email list.