Mackler Associates Wants Juniors to See Importance of ACT

Schools in states like Texas were still offering the tests in-person for community groups and students to connect over Zoom.
The sudden change, however, has been a success for students, parents, and even colleges themselves. And many test-optional colleges like Wellesley and Wesleyan have become media hotbeds because of their sudden acceptance of students who otherwise would not be able to enroll. According to an article published by the Wall Street Journal, well-qualified students from across the United States flocked to Wellesley and Wesleyan colleges this past fall because of their test-optional policies. The focus on accessibility has definitely been beneficial to the test-optional movement. Despite many organizations providing support, this year has been a difficult one for everyone. However, are test-optional educational institutions doomed because of these policies?
College leadership has often been criticized for adopting outdated policies in the name of austerity. But, as with many controversial decisions, there is a reasonable case to be made that current test-optional policies are no longer necessary to promote students’ health and well-being. As colleges and universities continue to adjust their policies to better accommodate students, parents, and test-takers, we can only hope to see a decrease in the amount of pushy counselors and school administrators who try to push students to take the ACT, SAT, or other standardized tests.
In the past few years, many people have been forced to make hard decisions about their education, careers, and health. Perhaps most importantly, we have all had to deal with a global pandemic, and many people have lost their lives. As a result, many of us have lost the desire to continuously take tests and prove ourselves. College leaders have the responsibility to respect the privacy of students and families at every step of the admissions process, including how we address test-optional policies.
The recent adidas deal is heartening, but College Board — the non-profit organization that administers the ACT and SAT — should not be too surprised by such a successful response. The College Board has never taken a stronger stance to protect student privacy, and most of us students feel the same way. We want to protect our personal information, and allowing students to learn in a safe environment is crucial to that goal.
By making test-optional a success story this past year, colleges have proven their commitment to students and communities. If they continue to resist and reconsider controversial policies, I hope test-optional institutions continue to grow. I also hope one day when admissions offices see the ads for test-optional colleges they open up their doors to students.

Since we know there’s a high number of students who didn’t get to take the ACT or SAT thanks to these policies, colleges and universities found themselves with a huge backlog of test-takers, unable to make decisions, deny offers, or even wait in line. Lower intakes meant higher price tags for colleges, making it even harder for students to apply. As students pour through the application process and wait for the results of their tests and interviews, fear runs high. Is this the end of the world? Will any interviews get sent out and if so, when? As a result, millions of people begin to double-dip, scrambling to secure their admissions applications as it remains “in-question,” long after the actual test is administered.
Fears of a massive Covid-19 outbreak have also created a financial strain on colleges and universities; as they are not able to receive federal grants or student loans, many are forced to raise tuition.
But despite the costs and strains this year, it is clear that colleges are doing their part to help students meet admission and financial need. Since spring, colleges and universities have offered at least partial deferral; previously you would have to take the test but if your test scores were high enough, you could apply for a full deferral. Some schools are even offering grants to low income students, making it easier for them to meet financial need. However, we know that deferred SATs are still not an option for many low-income students since they are still required to take the ACT and may need St. Louis tutoring.
The fact that students and parents have almost no alternative to applying through the normal process is a reminder that we need to move away from the fixed application and towards live applications. It is critical that we as a society continue using digital tools for college application, but as they are often developed by companies with financial incentive, are not always aligned in providing the learning environment our students deserve. We also need to establish a community of advocates to keep advocating for digital adaptation of ACT tutoring St. Louis.
The application cycle for a given college exam is 6–12 weeks from submission, lasting between 5–10 business days. If students have to submit multiple applications, this can add another stressful week between application and interview. In addition, colleges and universities are not providing check-ins, so students are not able to track their application progress.
One result of these issues is the over-aggregation of applicants with anywhere from 10–30 applications. Often, schools only have the time to do traditional pre-screening to decide on roughly 1/3 of the applicants to reach out to to.

Now, before we dive into the fall ACT and SAT deadlines, let’s do a deep look into the college application process. The best days of your life don’t fall on the same days year round! What would your life be like if those days fell on different days?
The ACT and SAT—ACT being the American College Test, while the SAT being the SAT—are both administered nationally and have separate required tests each year (and therefore two classes of students).
ACT has a $40, essay, and reading section that aligns with the Common Application as well as most states which require 14th- or 15th-grade math and English classes (including NC State).
On the other hand, the SAT has an $82, essay, and reading sections that align with the US College Application, and looks at both grades and ACT scores, but is a test-optional course.
Since these are two completely different tests, you must take them separately. If you are taking both tests and will not be able to take the exam on the day(s) you plan so you can study for it later, consider taking both over a single weekend (or two) and then taking one in the morning and one at night to ease the transition. This works especially well for students with odd hours (weekdays at work, nights with family or friends, etc.), students who have taken the ACT in the past, and students taking both for the first time.

Mackler Associates

1067 N Mason Rd #5,
St. Louis, MO 63141 (314) 434-4431


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