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New Salem - September 15, 2004

Counselorís Corner


By

Dr. Gaylynn Becker


Career Counselor
New Salem & Hebron High Schools

ACT
Some parents have contacted me during the summer with some good questions regarding students taking the ACT. The ACT is required by North Dakota colleges and universities. For individuals registering for the ACT prior to the regular registration deadline, the cost of taking the ACT this year is $ 28. The cost increases after the regular registration deadline to $ 45. There is also standby registration which is more costly yet. I have ACT Registration Packets in my office. In addition, I distribute registration packets to students during some of my high school class visits. Students can also register for the ACT online at http://www.ACT.org. Thanks to the teachers for allowing me classroom time to assist your students in their career development process.

ACT Testing Schedule
Here is the 2004-2005 ACT testing schedule in North Dakota.
Regular Registration Late Registration
Test Date Postmark Deadline Postmark Deadline
October 23, 2004 September 17, 2004 October 1, 2004
December 11, 2004 November 5, 2004 November 18, 2004
February 12, 2005 January 7, 2005 January 21, 2005
April 9, 2005 March 4, 2005 March 18, 2005
June 11, 2005 May 6, 2005 May 20, 2005

ACT Assessment Uses
The ACT is designed to assist students in college planning. In addition to consisting of 4 tests in reading, English, mathematics, and science, the ACT also has an interest inventory which provides individuals with feedback on various career clusters based on student interests. I review these results with students when I distribute the test results to the students. However since students who take the ACT in June are sent the results directly, I encourage students who took the ACT in June to bring their report in to me and I will interpret the results to them.

The ACT results are used in many ways. Most colleges use the results in placing students in appropriate English and mathematics courses. If a studentís ACT scores are not high enough, colleges will administer additional assessments to help determine the proficiency level of the student in placement of the student in appropriate college courses. This can mean that some students may start college coursework in courses that do not count for college credit yet the student will need to pay tuition to get caught up to where they should be in order to be successful in the regular college course. The best way for the student to be ready for college coursework is to learn what is taught in the high school courses they are taking and to be prepared and do their best when they take the ACT. The high school library also has some ACT study guides which can be useful.

Most colleges also use the ACT in the scholarship selection process. For example one North Dakota college will give a student with an ACT score of 32 or higher a $ 10,000. ($ 2,500/year) scholarship. A nice reward for working hard in school and taking advanced mathematics, science, and English courses. I mention these courses as these are the ones with the same courses that are directly assessed. Oh, the Reading ACT Test has a major social studies component as well. In addition, elective courses students take in high school also cover mathematics, science, reading, or English concepts as well and can help students do better on the ACT.

Many scholarships from places other than colleges also look at ACT scores as well as grade point average, and school and community activities. Participation in these activities is important. Leadership in these activities is important as well. Keep record of these activities in your activity sheet in your Career Portfolio in my office so that when you are applying for scholarships, you have a complete list of these activities and awards in a place that is easy to access. When students - primarily seniors - ask me to write a letter of recommendation for either a scholarship, job, or college admission, I pull their Career Portfolio to look up activities they have been involved in, as well as their resumes and any other documents they may have in their portfolio that will assist me in writing the best recommendation possible.

If you have any questions on financial aid, career and other counseling issues, please contact me at either New Salem High School at 843-7610 or at Hebron High School at 878-4442. If something urgent comes up please call me at my residence at 222-3222.

Have an excellent Academic Day!