ACT Parent

In this issue

Stay Sharp Summer Skills

Insights from ACT research highlight the value of student engagement in educational activities outside the classroom. Summer offers an ideal time for your middle school or high school student to build on the skills he or she learned during the academic year. Encourage your son or daughter to continue exploring college and career options once school is out. Here are a few examples of how to apply our recommendations to help your student unlock his or her potential over the warm months.

Career exploration—Students between the ages of 8 and 15 can join the ACT Career Club. (See more details in this edition.) Older students can start with the ACT World-of-Work Map. Data from the ACT K through Career continuum of solutions will offer insights that students can act on to reach their goals. ACT Explore®, ACT Plan®, and the ACT® college readiness assessment provide more than test scores at single points in your student's life. They offer information about your student's achievements, behaviors, and goals through the Interest Inventory that is part of each assessment.

College research—If college is on your student's radar, suggest that he or she begin thinking about potential majors and areas of study. The ACT Map of College Majors details topics, work tasks, available degrees, related occupations and majors, along with salary, size, and occupational growth information. Encourage your student to use the ACT College Search mobile app on the go.

College campus tours—With fewer students visiting college campuses in the summer, you and your student are likely to get a more personalized experience from the admissions representatives. Consider knocking out multiple visits at once while the stakes are low. It's never too early for your son or daughter to begin thinking about college. In fact, your student could start researching colleges and taking campus tours as early as middle school. Your student could then visit his or her favorites again when classes are in session to get a more realistic view of life on campus.

Camp—Consider sending your student to a summer camp that can spark or renew his or her interest in art, music, sports, science, debate, or any other area. Summer camps offer a valuable opportunity for your student to gain self-confidence, develop independent living skills, make new friends, and learn to share responsibilities. Many camp programs offer scholarships or other financial assistance, so be sure to ask.

Volunteering—Local community organizations, animal shelters, churches, and summer athletic programs are always in need of volunteers. Through volunteering, your student can gain work skills, develop a heart for giving, and discover the wider world. Plus, volunteer experience shows colleges and employers that your student is compassionate and caring.

Community college—Many community colleges offer summer classes or continuing education courses in a variety of subjects at a low cost. Use the summer to learn sign language or French with your student. Or perhaps you two would enjoy Chinese cooking or yoga.

Work experience—A job provides your teen with more than spending money. He or she will learn new skills, such as how to complete a job correctly, handle cash, care for customers, and work for a supervisor. In addition, a summer job can give your student the chance to network with local business professionals who may be able to help him or her in the future. Internships and job shadowing experiences—paid or not—also can offer similar benefits.

It's Never Too Early to Plan for College and Career

Making sure students are on target academically from an early grade is critical to their future success, as indicated in Catching Up to College and Career Readiness. The research underscores the importance of an early start and places an emphasis on prevention over remediation. What can you do to be sure your child is ready for college and career? A good starting point is the ACT Get Set for College—Guide for Parents.

Whether your student is headed to college or directly into the workforce after high school graduation, here are some tips for helping him or her prepare for the future:

Take an active role in your child's academic preparation. Encourage your son or daughter to take the most rigorous courses offered starting as early as possible.

Connect with your student's counselors, teachers, and the principal. They can offer ideas about how you can support your child's college or workforce training plans. Perhaps one of them can serve as a mentor to your child.

Look for services in your area designed to help first-generation students go to college. Ask counselors and college admission officers about tutoring, counseling, mentoring, or other kinds of support that your student may need.

One of the little-known features of the ACT is a 72-question Interest Inventory completed during registration. When your teen receives test scores, he or she will also receive valuable feedback about potential careers and possible college majors based on his or her interests. The score report also details academic areas where your teenager excels and areas where he or she needs to improve—for example, your teen may need to enroll in a more challenging mathematics or English class next term. Use the valuable information from the ACT score report to gain insights into your student's potential, which can help you and your student make important decisions about the future.

For more information on helping your student prepare for college, check out this resource.

Award Program Alert

Remember to remind your student to see if he or she is eligible for the Wendy's High School Heisman. The Wendy's High School Heisman Program recognizes high school seniors who excel in the classroom, on the field, and in the community. Awards are offered at various levels. Application deadline is October 2.

"What Will I Be When I Grow Up?"

You can help your younger children explore possible answers to what they could be when they grow up via the ACT Career Club, a prototype career discovery site in the Whyville virtual world.

ACT invites students ages 8 through 15 to visit the ACT Career Clubhouse, where they can have fun while gathering information on as many as 555 unique occupations, grouped into six areas of interest ranging from science and technology to the arts. By playing an interactive digital game called CareerQuest, teens and tweens can investigate a wide variety of different occupations and potential careers—and discover professions that may surprise them.

Whyville is a web-based virtual world that provides educational experiences through games and role-playing. Whyville "citizens" design their own avatars to travel among an array of clubhouses, shops, and museums. They have the opportunity to play for "clams," the official Whyville currency.

Based on ACT's extensive research in education and the workplace, the Career Club is designed to be fun for students and a useful tool for parents and educators. Encourage your child to visit the ACT Career Club and begin the quest for his or her future occupation.

Preparing Your Student for ACT Test Day

If you are the parent of a student who will be taking the ACT on a national test date, we need you to help make sure your student follows the new ACT test security requirements.

Please help your student upload or submit (via ACT website, mobile device, or mail) a recognizable head-and-shoulders photo of himself or herself when registering for the ACT.

The photo will be printed on your student's admission ticket, which he or she is required to bring to the test center in order to be admitted. Your student also needs to bring and present an acceptable photo ID on test day.

Your student's photo will be printed on the examinee roster that testing staff use to check in students on test day. Staff will match the name and photo on the student's admission ticket, the test center roster, and the student's photo ID before admitting the student.

In addition to helping your student meet the ACT photo requirements, please also review with him or her our other test day rules, such as what to bring to the test center, expected behavior on test day, which calculators are permissible, and whether mobile phones can be used.

Check out our list of FAQs for more information. We are here to help, so let us know if you have a question.

With a little help in advance from you, your student's test day experience can go smoothly and successfully.

See You Next Fall

ACT Parent will take a summer break and will resume publication in August. Have a wonderful and safe summer!

2013-2014 ACT Test Date Schedule

Test DateRegistration DeadlineLate Registration DeadlinePhoto Upload Deadline
June 8, 2013May 3, 2013May 4-17, 2013June 4, 2013
September 21, 2013August 23, 2013August 24-Sept. 6, 2013TO COME
October 26, 2013September 27, 2013Sept. 28-October 11, 2013TO COME
December 14, 2013November 8, 2013November 9-22, 2013TO COME
February 8, 2014*January 10, 2014January 11-24, 2014TO COME
April 12, 2014March 7, 2014March 8-21, 2014TO COME
June 14, 2014May 9, 2014May 10-23, 2014TO COME
*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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Copyright © 2013 by ACT, Inc. All rights reserved.