The Weight of the ACT

This book is so fat. There are so many questions. Do I really need to go to college? These are just a few thoughts every high schooler has had when it comes to that miserable four hour test we all know as the ACT. A test that causes me personally to think about stabbing myself in the eye with one of the many #2 pencils I bring with me on test day. Not only does no one like sitting in a chair so long that their butt is sore, but I also can not imagine anyone enjoying the stress this one test brings.

And the stress that originates from the ACT is understandable, isn’t it? Is it really fair that where you go to college hinges on the score of just one test? All students know the drill. The higher the score on the ACT the higher the amount of money one will receive in scholarships. With this in mind you’ll find many teens stressed about their score on the ACT. In high school students are just figuring out their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to their education. With the ACT being a standardized/timed test it is reasonable to infer that those students with better test taking skills will end up with a higher score.

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Those students will now receive not only more merit-based financial aid but are also more likely to receive scholarships. To add to the money people with higher scores receive, they also will most likely receive more academic scholarships based on their score. According to prepscholar, the average ACT score in the nation is a 21. So, if you take that score and apply it to the University of Southern Mississippi you will see that a 21 on the ACT only gets you $1000 a year towards a tuition that is roughly $20,000 annually. Now if you look at someone with a score of 30 that plans to attend the same college, their tuition is not only paid for but they also receive $3500 in additional scholarships.

It is reasonable that a college would much rather acquire a student with a 30 on the ACT over a 21. But even students with ACT scores that range between 23-26 do not receive enough financial aid to make attending college more affordable.I understand that colleges do not have the resources to wave every students tuition. What I do not understand is why colleges base so many of their scholarships and awards on one test score, especially whenever where a student attends college is so dependent on said scholarships. I believe that the ACT is a great tool to have when deciding who received scholarships and it makes this process a little bit easier.

I just hope that in the close future college boards begin looking more at the potential student as a whole rather than base so much on just one test.