Uses in Academic Advising

Information is the cornerstone of quality advising. No student information is more extensive or more accessible than what you receive on the ACT student record. AIM contains many data elements that are useful in advising and retention and that can be used at critical points from student orientation through the first year of college.

View the Advising/Academic Support student report in AIM.

Course Placement/Course Selection

The ACT student record contains cognitive and noncognitive data that can be used to determine placement in freshman courses and also to identify student interests and plans. Using ACT scores and subscores can save time and money by reducing the use of local placement tests.

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In addition to the test scores and subscores, the ACT record includes national norms and may include local norms if your institution participates in the free Class Profile Service. If your campus participates in ACT's free Prediction Service, the student record will also include specific GPA predictions for each student for up to five campus-specified freshman courses. AIM also allows you to identify students who want help with educational and vocational planning.

Data Elements Useful for Course Selection/Placement

ACT scores and subscores
ACT score national percentile ranks and local norms
Educational major (plus level of certainty)
First vocational choice (plus level of certainty)
Degree objective
Need for help with educational or vocational plans
Overall GPA predictions (from Prediction Research)
Specific course predictions (from Prediction Research)
High school course/grade information

Educational Planning/Career Development

When students register for the ACT, they are asked to complete the 72-item ACT Interest Inventory, which measures student interests in six career clusters (science & technology, arts, social service, administration & sales, business operations, and technical). Scores in these six career clusters determine a student's placement in the twelve regions of the World-of-Work Map.

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One of the most difficult tasks faced by students is to find occupations appropriate to their goals and personal characteristics. The ACT Interest Inventory provides a focus to career exploration, not by singling out the one "right" occupation, but rather by pointing to world-of-work regions individuals may wish to explore. The Interest Inventory data can be used effectively in advising in conjunction with students' intended major and vocational choice and their level of certainty, degree objectives, etc. AIM also allows you to identify students who want help with educational and vocational planning.

Data Elements Useful for Educational Planning/Career Development

Student need for help with educational or vocational plans
Interest Inventory scores and World-of-Work map regions
Educational major (plus level of certainty)
First vocational choice (plus level of certainty)
Degree objective
ACT scores and percentiles
High school course/grade information

View the Career Development student report in AIM.

Activities and Engagement

Student engagement is key to student success and student retention at both residential and commuter institutions.

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AIM provides information on high school activities, college extracurricular plans, and student accomplishments that academic advisors or orientation advisors can use to help students connect to college activities.

Data Elements Useful for Activities and Engagement

High school activities (13 items)
College extracurricular plans (13 items)
Out-of-class accomplishments (21 items)
View the Activities and Accomplishments student report in AIM.

Working with High-Ability Students

High-ability students can sometimes be an at-risk population if they do not connect to courses, programs, services, and mentoring that can challenge them.

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With AIM, you can identify high-ability students who are interested in honors courses, independent study, and study abroad programs. Advisors can also use the intended degree objective field to identify students, particularly first-generation students, who may need mentoring and support to lay a path for graduate or professional programs.

Data Elements Useful for High-Ability Students

ACT scores and percentiles
Self-reported rank
Self-reported GPA
Interest in freshman honors courses
Interest in independent study
Advanced placement in high school (5 items)
Interest in study abroad
Degree objective

View the Student Plans and Needs report in AIM.

Financial Advising

Student ability and willingness to pay for college are two key factors in student retention. AIM provides data to help advisors assess student ability to pay and the extent to which financial stress may affect the student's ability to persist.

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ACT research consistently shows that the hours per week a student plans to work in college is often a significant predictor of student retention. Students who plan to work considerable hours (for example, more than twenty hours per week) may be signaling financial stress or a lack of commitment to college.

Data Elements Useful for Financial Advising

Plan to seek financial aid
Need help to find work in college
Hours per week plan to work in college
Level of family income

Assessing Student Fit or Special Needs

The concept of "fit" is important to student retention. AIM provides data elements that can help advisors identify students for whom "fit" may be an issue.

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Information on student enrollment preferences, high school background, and student characteristics can help advisors assess the extent to which a student fits your campus type, size, selectivity, etc. For example, was your campus the student's first choice? If not, did the student express a preference for a different type (public/private), size or location of institution? Assessing fit can help advisors identify students who may experience transition difficulties or who may be more likely to drop out.

Data Elements for Assessing Student Fit or Special Needs

Level of college choice
College selection items by rank order (7 items)
Racial/ethnic background
U.S. citizen
Type of program studied in high school
Size of high school graduating class
Whether English is primary language spoken at home
Interest in ROTC