By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, adam@proudmoney.com

My kids are nearing the end of high school, and recently we’ve been searching for data about various colleges to see how the schools stack up, which colleges are toughest to be accepted into, and which colleges are likely (or unlikely) to accept our kids (though they all should be begging to have them 😃😃).

This information is not always easy to find. So for the past couple of months we’ve been combing through the numbers contained in a couple of different databases to get a clearer picture of the college landscape. One piece of data that we’ve found especially useful is the ACT scores of recently-admitted students to each school. The data is generally presented as a range, with the first number showing the ACT scores at the 25th percentile of the freshman class, and the second number showing the ACT scores at the 75th percentile.

For example, Baylor University has an ACT score range of 26-31 (based on the most recently-available stats). This means that roughly 50% of the freshman students at Baylor scored between a 26 and 31 on their ACT tests. Further, it shows that about 25% scored over a 31 on the test, while about 25% scored below a 26 on the test.

We’ve now mined that all of that ACT data and put it into one document showing ACT scores from over 1200 U.S. colleges and universities. (Technically, it’s split up into more than one document, but it’s constructed to help you easily find the ACT score ranges from a boatload of schools.)

Not every school is on the list. Some schools have open admissions and don’t require ACT scores from incoming students. A few schools only require the SAT and don’t have ACT data. (We eventually plan to include those schools anyway, just to show you what we do know about them.)

Which might lead you to ask: what about the SAT? Why make a list of only the ACT scores?

Well, in our research, the ACT appears to have become the more popular of the two standardized tests in terms of the numbers of students that take it and report it to colleges and universities. Most schools showed a significantly larger number of reported ACT scores than SAT scores. In addition, the ACT scoring system simply lends itself much better to a snapshot look at the school’s student body makeup — the ACT score range is 1-36, with the average ACT nationally being a 21 or 22 (depending on who you ask).

Using the example of Baylor University again, their 26-31 range for the middle 50% of their student body shows that the school has a large number of above-average ACT scores. So, it is probably more difficult to gain acceptance to Baylor than a school with a lower reported ACT range.

We’re launching the list with somewhat bare-bones information — just the name of the school, the ACT range, and the school year it comes from. Our plan is to flesh it out further over time, so you’ll be able to click on any school for further information, such as how many actual ACT tests were reported. We also plan to break this master list down in all kinds of interesting ways — to show scores from schools by state, or by student population size, or by region of the country, maybe even by athletic conference. For now, we hope you’ll give it a look, and I’d welcome any feedback by email: adam@proudmoney.com.