The ACT is a college entrance exam that measures students’ skills in four core subjects: English, math, reading, and science. The ACT also offers an optional writing test. Your score on the ACT is presented during college application, along with high school transcripts and application essays. It is also used to apply for merit scholarships.
The primary reason the ACT is so widely used among college admissions departments is because it is objective and standardized. Your high school GPA tells of your success in your high school; your essay reveals a bit about who you are. These are two important factors in admissions decisions. What the ACT shows them, in addition, is your skill compared with all other ACT takers, across the world and across time. The reliability offered by this score is important when sorting through thousands of applicants.
For similar reasons, ACT scores are helpful in awarding scholarships. Many colleges offer automatic tuition scholarships based on either ACT score alone, or your combined high school GPA and ACT score. Because these can be significant awards, many students are motivated to reach the highest score they can. ACT prep classes and private tutoring are a smart investment in time and money, especially when a higher score brings down the cost of tuition.
Possible ACT scores range from 1-36, with the national average at 20. A score of 24 puts a student in the top 25%, and most significant scholarships begin in the upper 20s. A score increase of just two or three points can take a student from good to excellent and pay many thousands of dollars in return.
The prevalence of the ACT has been increasing steadily over the past two decades. It is now taken by more students each year than the SAT test, and many consider it a better measure of academic skill. To boot, over half of US states now require or offer the ACT test as a high school graduation requirement. For a few reasons, the ACT is thought to be a “friendlier” test. That the essay is optional, students can use their calculator in the entire math section, and the content is familiar are all reasons students choose the ACT. In Midwest, it is also simply a case of popularity; far more students choose the ACT, especially when applying to regional colleges and universities.
It is possible to improve your ACT score, sometimes by several points. Our Prepstar classes, private tutoring, and even proctored practice exams are all valuable tools for students as they begin to look towards college. A higher ACT score can both dramatically change the schools you consider and open up possibility of attending an expensive “dream” school. ACT preparation is an investment; a short-term stage now that can alter the long-term route through college and beyond.