Individuals and Institutions Doing More with Less

Honoring those who make a difference

Preparing individuals for college and career success is no small task—and it’s never been more important. This is why ACT is recognizing individuals and organizations who are making a positive impact on their communities through their efforts to advance college and career readiness.

Established in 2013, the annual ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign celebrates achievement and creates awareness around the goal of college and career readiness for all. The Campaign recognizes exemplary efforts by employers, community colleges, high schools, and students in participating states. There are top-performing companies, excellent schools, and phenomenal students across the country, and they are all worthy of praise. ACT developed the Campaign to shine a light on the individuals and institutions doing more with less, overcoming personal or community obstacles, and serving as examples to others working to improve the condition of college and career readiness for all.

The annual ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign identifies exemplars in each of four categories—students, high schools, community colleges, and businesses—for each participating state. From there, state exemplars move into semifinalist and National Exemplar rounds of review. The National Exemplars are announced, and all exemplars are recognized, at the ACT National Gala on College and Career Readiness, held each spring in Washington, DC. See below for more information about the campaign process and the criteria the selection panel uses to consider nominations.

NATIONAL SEMIFINALISTS ANNOUNCED

Semifinalists Announced

ACT announces national semifinalists in College and Career Readiness Campaign. 

Campaign Information

Download a document to help answer questions and spread the word about the ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign.

ACT National Gala on College and Career Readiness

This annual event marks the end of the ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign. Education and workforce leaders gather to honor employers, community colleges, high schools, and students doing outstanding work in education and career readiness.

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Application and Deadlines

Thank you for your interest in applying. The deadlines for all participating states have passed for the 2015–2016 ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign and there are no extensions. If you are a student who took the ACT test in your junior year and expect to graduate from high school as part of the class of 2017, or if you represent an employer, community college, or high school, we encourage you to complete the form below to be notified via email, in late summer 2016, when the application period opens for the 2016–2017 Campaign.

If you have any questions, please contact us at CCRC@act.org.

The Campaign Process

States across the country will be accepting applications according to their schedules and ACT State Council panels will select their exemplars in each category. All state exemplars will be recognized with certificates at an event in their state during the 2015–2016 school year, and student state exemplars will receive a $500 nonrenewable scholarship.

The state exemplars will then be considered for National Semifinalist status by an ACT Selection Committee, which will narrow the extremely deserving field into four National Semifinalists per category. All National Semifinalists will receive crystal awards from ACT, and the nonrenewable scholarships given to the student semifinalists as state exemplars will increase to $1,000.

Finally, a National Selection Committee composed of national education and workforce leaders will choose from the Semifinalists the four National Exemplars, one per category. These National Exemplars, along with all state exemplars and semifinalists, will be honored at the National Gala on College and Career Readiness in June 2016. The National Exemplars will receive crystal awards from ACT at the Gala, to which ACT will cover all travel costs for two attendees per exemplar. The nonrenewable scholarship given to the student National Exemplar as a semifinalist will increase to $4,000.

Exemplar Criteria

Learn more about the criteria the selection panels use to evaluate applicants for the ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign.

ACT State Organizations

ACT State Organizations represents more than 6,100 education and workplace professionals from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Workplace Success Exemplar (Employer) Criteria

In evaluating applicants, selection panels will consider:

  • Strength of relationships with local colleges and high schools
  • Provision of opportunities for employees to acquire new knowledge and skills
  • Use of career readiness assessments for recruitment and advancement within the company
  • Efforts to create and maintain diversity in the workforce
  • Work done by employer and employees to give back to the local community

Applicants are encouraged, but not required, to use the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate™ or ACT WorkKeys®.

Career Preparedness Exemplar (Community College) Criteria

In evaluating applicants, selection panels will consider:

  • Student success indicators, including retention, graduation, and four-year college transfer rates (especially for underserved student populations)
  • Strength of relationships with local employers and high schools
  • Accessibility of career readiness assessments and career preparation programs
  • Support structure in place for students, especially those from underserved populations

Applicants are encouraged but not required to administer ACT solutions to students, but if there is insufficient data from ACT solutions to show student success, other data should be included with the application.

College and Career Transition Exemplar (High School) Criteria

In evaluating applicants, selection panels will consider:

  • Student growth toward meeting the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks between grades 8 and 12
  • Success in serving students of underrepresented racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Success in encouraging students to attend college or career training programs after graduation
  • Provision of leadership opportunities for students outside of the classroom

Applicants are encouraged but not required to have a high percentage of students taking ACT solutions, but should require or strongly encourage all of their students to take a college admissions assessment. If applicants do not have a rich data set of scores from the ACT continuum of college and career readiness assessments, applicants should include data from other sources showing student growth toward postsecondary readiness. Special consideration will be given to schools serving a large percentage of traditionally underserved students.

Student Readiness Exemplar (High School Senior) Criteria

In evaluating applicants, selection panels will consider:

  • Growth toward college and career readiness, as demonstrated by assessments, grades, and other indicators
  • Success outside of the classroom, including extracurricular activities, leadership experiences, community service, and jobs
  • Personal progress towards becoming ready for college and career

Students must be members of the graduating class of 2016 who have taken the ACT. Special consideration will be given to students from low-income families. Student names and other personally identifiable information will be redacted in application materials forwarded to the selection panels, but students will need to submit to ACT a student information release form for their applications to be considered.

ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign Award Recipients

A national selection committee comprising education, business, and political leaders chooses one National Exemplar per category from an outstanding group of exemplars in participating states. Learn more about those who have been recognized to date.

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