ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign

About the Campaign

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 college and career readiness 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. However, ACT developed the Campaign to shine a light on individuals and institutions that are 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 Campaign Process

States across the country will be accepting applications according to their schedules (please see the Applications page for more information on application deadlines) 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.


Workplace Success Award (Employer)

Selection panels will consider applicants’:

  • 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 Award (Community College)

Selection panels will consider applicants’:

  • 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 Award (High School)

Selection panels will consider applicants’:

  • Student growth towards meeting ACT’s 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 ACT’s 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 Award (High School Senior)

Selection panels will consider applicants’:

  • Growth towards 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.