Putting AIM to Work

Target Your Recruiting

The less you know about individual students in your prospect pool, the more you have to generalize about your institution to those students. How can you showcase what you have to offer when you’re not sure what students are looking for? When you know what's important to students—what they want, what makes them tick—you can talk about your institution in terms of what's important to them.

Harness the power of AIM software for customizing and personalizing your recruitment efforts. View data on individual students and aggregate data for territory management and strategic planning, search for students with shared characteristics, and export and share data with colleagues.

If your campus is like most, you're using only a fraction of the 265-plus fields of data in the ACT electronic record. You have very limited information on most students in your inquiry pool, which makes it difficult to really personalize and customize recruiting contacts.

That's why it makes sense to focus on score senders. You know more about them than about any other students in your inquiry pool, you often know it earlier, and scores will generally be your highest yielding initial source code.

Target students who have desired characteristics and who are more likely to enroll.

With this information, you can:

  • Plan travel more effectively
  • Customize communication sequences
  • Develop recruitment messages based on student needs and interests

Personalize Recruiting and Retention Efforts

What are you missing? Chances are, you might not be making the most of your ACT test data. It’s not your fault—many campuses lack a tool to view, manipulate, and share the wealth of information available through the reporting process. AIM provides direction that helps you:

  • Personalize your recruitment and retention efforts 
  • Enhance your strategic planning and territory management 
  • Get the best return from your recruitment and retention dollars 

Looking at ACT scores alone is just the beginning. Let AIM help you turn data into actionable information.

Analyze and Share Data

Analysis and reporting are two big parts of your job as an enrollment professional, and you may even need to give presentations regarding ACT data for your institution. Sure, you can focus on raw scores, but AIM can take your results to the next level by helping you:

  • Develop your own queries, reports, and forms with accessible back-end data tables that can work outside the AIM interface
  • Import other data tables and link them to the AIM data tables 
  • Report data for ACT-tested students by state, county, school district, and high school 
  • Create your own custom reports using the free AIM database of every high school in the country

Strategic Planning and Territory Management

To facilitate strategic planning and territory management while building relationships through personalized communications, AIM includes databases that allow you to group and view ACT data at key geographical levels:

Using AIM, admissions recruiters get a valuable overview of students in their territories—including their interests, needs, abilities, and enrollment preferences. Then, recruiters can zoom in to the individual student level to get the breadth of cognitive and noncognitive information they need to build relationships and personalize communications.

Improve Student Retention

Enrollment is over. The freshman class has arrived. Another school year is starting. Now what?

The ACT student record contains powerful relationship-building information that AIM can help you use to:

  • Identify students who need and want help
  • Build relationships with students more effectively
  • Facilitate referrals to departments and activity areas

AIM can also help your campus improve the delivery in key areas that affect retention and student success, including:

  • Advising
  • Course placement
  • Student engagement
  • Retention interventions
  • Academic support

AIM allows you to import data from your campus applicant pool, match applied students with ACT-tested students, and use key data—such as campus admissions status, college, major, and advisor—as search criteria within AIM. For retention uses of the data, AIM allows you to identify and delete all non-enrolled students so that staff in advising, career development, student activities, and many other areas can access only the students they want to work with.


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.

Educational Planning/Career Development

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

One of the most difficult tasks faced by students is finding occupations appropriate to their goals and personal characteristics. The ACT Interest Inventory provides a focus for career exploration, and can be used effectively in advising in conjunction with students' intended major and vocational choice, their level of certainty, and their degree objectives.

Data elements useful for educational planning/career development include:

  • Student need for help with educational or vocational plans
  • ACT Interest Inventory scores and ACT 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

Financial Advising

Student ability and willingness to pay for college are two key factors in retention. 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 may be signaling financial stress or a lack of commitment to college.

Data elements useful for financial advising include:

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

Course Placement

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

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 the ACT free Prediction Research 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.

AIM organizes and presents data elements from ACT student records that are useful for course selection/placement, including:

  • 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

Activities and Engagement

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

  • High school activities
  • College extracurricular plans
  • Out-of-class accomplishments

Working with High-Ability Students

High-ability students can sometimes be an at-risk population, especially if they do not connect to courses, programs, services, and mentoring that can challenge them. AIM can help you identify high-ability students who are interested in honors courses, independent study, and study abroad programs.

Data elements useful for high-ability students include:

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

Assessing Student Fit or Special Needs

The concept of "fit" is important to student retention. Information on student enrollment preferences, high school background, and characteristics can help advisors assess the extent to which a student fits your campus type, size, and selectivity. 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 include:

  • Level of college choice
  • College selection items by rank order (seven items)
  • Racial/ethnic background
  • US 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

Academic Support

Students who need the most help are often the least likely to ask for it. When it comes to academic support, your key challenge may be connecting students to the services they need.

AIM provides information to identify students who want help but may not seek it and also to identify students whose test scores or high school courses indicate they need academic support but have not expressed the need for help.

Data elements useful for academic support:

  • Need for help with writing
  • Need for help with reading
  • Need for help with study skills
  • Need for help with mathematics
  • ACT scores and percentiles
  • Physical/learning disability
  • High school course/grade information

System Requirements

To use AIM, campuses must receive ACT electronic records. Operating system: Windows 2000, NT, XP, or Vista