Colleges consider extending optional ACT score indefinitely
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Many universities made submitting an ACT score as part of their application process optional during the pandemic. Some tossed the requirement entirely. The UW system made it optional through the 2024-2025 academic year.
Students across Wisconsin including juniors at DC Everest High School took the ACT this week.
”Primarily our kids go to a UW if they go on to a four-year school,” said Jenny Oosterhuis, a counselor at DC Everest Senior High.
Oosterhuis said the option to submit the score eased a lot of her student’s worries.
”Kids feel a little bit different about the test, not quite as high anxiety.” said Oosterhuis.
Some students decide to skip studying on their own for it altogether.
”We see some kids that don’t take it seriously at all then. They kind of have that mindset of, ‘it doesn’t count for anything, who cares,” said Oosterhuis.
Oosterhuis said it’s important to still take the exam seriously for scholarship consideration.
“Class 101″ is a college preparatory program that helps students with college readiness. That includes preparing for the ACT. They believe it’s still important to submit a score in most cases. If you don’t the owner and advisor said your application will be less complete than others.
Pamela Knezic, the owner of “Class 101″ and a college advisor said it gives colleges an objective way to measure a student’s knowledge. Knezic said a 4.0 student at one high school may have a very different level of knowledge from a 4.0 student at another college.
Students that work with “Class 101″ take the ACT three to four times on average.
”It’s also a great opportunity to shine. It’s a great opportunity to be the guy or the girl that went and took the test three or four times,” said Knezic.
Knezic said college admissions consider how much work students put into bettering their scores and it makes them stand out if others choose not to submit scores.
Taking the test multiple can get pricey. It costs $60 each time without the writing portion. However, Knezic says if the student works their way up to a high enough score they can often get scholarships upwards of $1,000.
Knezic said a benefit of scores being optional is it allows students to be strategic about which colleges they submit them to. She says it’s important to examine what an average score at each school is and compare to make the determination.
”At schools where their test scores look great we submit, at schools where they don’t we will find other ways to show off that student’s talents and abilities,” said Knezic.
According to the admissions department, UW-Stevens Point hasn’t seen a decline in academic performance in their freshman since the scores became optional.
”UW Stevens Point would love to remain test-optional, we’ve seen that its removed barriers for students in coming to college, and students aren’t afraid to submit an application because they have a low test score,” said Rachel Siebers, Intrum Director of Admissions and Recruitment at the University of Stevens Point.
All three experts agree the option to submit students’ scores allows them to highlight their strengths in the application process.
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