ACT Parent

In this issue

New Year, Fresh Start

Happy New Year! The new year brings a fresh start for your student. In addition to making resolutions, it’s also a great time for students to check their academic progress, think about their future, and begin planning courses to take during the next school year.

Start the year strong by talking with younger students about careers and college. Together, you can visit ACT’s college and career readiness pages to explore options for your student’s future.

Help your student understand how learning can open doors to endless career possibilities. Analyze grades and test scores to look for areas of improvement. Encourage your son or daughter to talk with teachers and counselors to find out how to strengthen academic skills, especially those related to career interests.

Discuss what the future may hold for your student so he or she understands why hard work will prepare him or her for many types of professions. Encourage your student to check out ACT’s World of Work Map to explore careers that might be a good fit.

It’s never too early to plan for the future, and missteps may be corrected with redirection and hard work. For more information, visit ACT Student.

Navigating the Financial Aid Maze

You and your student may have already entered the financial aid maze by starting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which became available on January 1 for the 2012–2013 school year. Remember, aid is handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, so you’ll want to get this form completed and submitted as soon as possible. Although family financial information comes from tax returns, it’s fine to estimate when first submitting the FAFSA. However, the final figures must be verified from your tax returns.

Navigating the maze can be intimidating, but ACT can help smooth your path. Visit our financial aid website for an overview in easy-to-understand language, plus a list of resources for more information about loans, scholarships, government programs, and other financial aid options.

Federal financial aid is available for students who plan to attend four-year or two-year, public or private, career or trade schools. The aid is intended to cover expenses such as tuition, room and board, books and other supplies, and transportation. Most financial aid is given because a student has demonstrated a need for it.

Some grants and scholarships are awarded to students based on their grades, accomplishments, or other personal characteristics, rather than financial need. To maximize your student’s chances of receiving a scholarship, you and your student will need to research the scholarships available and work to complete the applications.

You might want to check out these two scholarship programs that ACT helps develop and administer: MassMutual Scholars Program and Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. Application periods for both programs open in early January. Be sure to tap your student’s high school counselor and financial aid offices at the colleges or schools where your student has applied for help as you make your way through the financial aid maze. You may also want to check out these online resources:

Catching Up to College and Career Readiness

ACT recently released a new report, Catching Up to College and Career Readiness that stresses the importance of starting earlier in students’ academic careers to ensure that they are on track for success.

The new report builds on the findings of ACT’s Forgotten Middle report, but moves the academic timeline back to fourth and eighth grades, reinforcing ACT’s commitment to a kindergarten-through-career continuum.

In Forgotten Middle, ACT research showed that a large majority of eighth graders simply aren’t equipped for college. The new report examines whether addressing academic readiness in earlier grades is more effective than waiting until high school. Researchers used state and ACT assessment data to study students who were off track in fourth and eighth grades.

ACT remains dedicated—through solutions such as ACT Aspire— to helping students through early intervention and diagnostics. ACT Aspire is the first digital, longitudinal assessment system to fully connect student performance from elementary grades through high school, and the National Center for Educational Achievement’s Core Practice Framework.

Deadlines Approach: ACT Poster and Video Contests

Your son or daughter has until January 21 to submit an entry for the ACT Poster Contest and until January 28 to submit a video for the ACT Video Contest. Both competitions offer chances to win scholarship money.

High school students in eleventh and twelfth grades who are residents of the United States and who plan to attend a two- or four-year college in the next two years are invited to participate.

Click here for more information about the poster contest. Poster contest winners will be announced on February 11.

Click here for more information about the video contest. The winning videos may be featured on the ACT Student website and our social media channels. Online voting will be held February 11–18, 2013, and winners will be announced on February 25, 2013.

2013-2013 ACT Test Date Schedule

Test Date Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline
(extra fees required)
Photo Upload Deadline
February 9, 2013* January 11, 2013 January 12-18, 2013February 5, 2013
April 13, 2013 March 8, 2013 March 9-22, 2013April 9, 2013
June 8, 2013 May 3, 2013 May 4-17, 2013June 4, 2013

*No test centers are scheduled in New York for the February test date.

ACT is committed to providing students a fair and equal opportunity to demonstrate their independent academic achievement. To that end, we have implemented additional safeguards to further ensure ACT score integrity. One of these safeguards is the requirement for students to provide a photo when they register.

Photos must be provided by the photo upload deadline for each test date. If the deadline is missed, the registration will be cancelled and the student will not be admitted to test.

Click here for details on all ACT test security requirements.

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