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How Students Can Make the Most out of Winter Break

Winter break provides a well-earned respite from the classroom for you and your students. But getting a break from school doesn’t mean students can’t use the time wisely. It can give students time to put things in order before the leap to college, get advice and help from family and friends, and even (gasp!) keep their brains active before returning to school.

Challenge your students to tackle the following tasks during their break:

  • Complete college applications (Seniors). Seniors can finalize their college choices and complete applications in time for regular submission deadlines, most of which are in January and February.
  • Dig into that college essay (Seniors). It’s an important part of the college application process and requires a lot of thought and planning, so why not spend time away from the classroom to write a draft or two? Winter break might be a great time for family or friends to offer advice on the essay or proofread the content.
  • Complete some test prep (Juniors and Seniors). Students prepare for ACT test content in the classroom, but they can use break to prepare for the testing experience. Take a practice test or two. Use the time to dive into free or paid test prep tools from ACT.
  • Get advice from family (All Students). The holidays are a great time to gather advice during family meals and holiday events. Students can turn family members into resources—ask about their college experience, lessons learned, job market trends, and even ask them to be references for college and job applications.
  • Talk to friends in college (All Students). Remember: it’s winter break for college students, too. Students can talk to college-aged friends about their experiences so far, ask about classes and what they’ve learned, and get advice on narrowing down college choices.
  • Read a book or two (All Students). That’s right—you can encourage students to crack open a book and read for fun. Never stop learning.

Report: Does Test Anxiety Bias Assessment Performance?

Test anxiety raises concerns about assessment validity and fairness. Keeping Your Cool: Does Test Anxiety Bias Performance on the ACT?, a new study from ACT, investigated possible measurement bias due to anxiety on the ACT test. The study revealed several insights about test anxiety:

  • Many examinees reported test anxiety, but anxiety did not have significant negative effects on ACT scores in general, for males and females, and for ethnic groups.
  • Test anxiety was most strongly related to feeling unprepared for the ACT.
  • Test takers should minimize anxiety by following practical recommendations supported by this study, even if is not expected to affect ACT scores.

Share the My Success Campaign

Help your students along their journey to find success by joining the My Success campaign, which provides a community of support, stories and resources for lifelong learning. Quickly share details about the ACT Test Fee Waiver Program to eligible students with our campaign toolkit on and tell us how you’ve overcome obstacles to find success. Then, encourage your students to join our community by visiting the site or using #MyStoryMySuccess on social media.

Ask the Expert: How ACT Tools Work Together

Did you know ACT assessments are designed to measure an individual’s growth from elementary school through career?  

In the video link below, Bryan Williams, manager of Customer Engagement at ACT (and a former educator), explains how ACT solutions track long-term progress. 

In Case You Missed It: School Safety Webinar

School leaders identify school safety as one of the most pressing challenges they face today. But how can you measure and address the factors related to school climate and safety and the effect it has on students?

A recent webinar from ACT discussed how school climate (student perceptions of school safety and relationships with school personnel) varies by school characteristics (e.g., school size, poverty concentration), as well as how school climate affects academic performance, absenteeism, and suspension from school.

According to the research, higher perceptions of school safety were related to lower risk of poor grades, suspension, and absences. This fits with previous findings showing that students who feel safe have better academic outcomes. The webinar also shared evidence-based strategies for addressing and strengthening school climate.

Product Highlights

ACT Rapid Review

When students are busy or strapped for cash, time and money for test prep might seem out of reach. ACT Rapid Review provides affordable live or on-demand instruction options to meet students’ schedules and budgets. Powered by Kaplan, this tool gives students tips and strategies for mastering each multiple-choice section of the ACT test. Using Rapid Review can help students be prepared and confident to take the ACT.

ACT Rapid Review offers three options for students’ varying test prep needs:

  • ACT Rapid Review Live—Offers a virtual classroom with live instruction from experts, delivered online.
          - 3-month subscription, $75
  • ACT Rapid Review On-Demand—Offers a video archive of top-quality recorded instruction.
          - 6-month subscription, $40
  • ACT Rapid Review All Access—Offers the best of both worlds—access to live and on-demand instruction.
          - 6-month subscription, $99 (free for students with fee waivers) 

Helpful Tips to Share With Your Students


How many college applications should you submit?

Reach schools? Target schools? Safety schools? Knowing how many applications you should submit to each could be the key to an acceptance letter. Learn how many applications you should submit.


Send this email communication and post this social media image for your seniors:

Seniors: How many college applications should you submit?


5 reasons to take the ACT junior year

While there’s not a secret formula to scheduling ACT tests, there are a few key benefits of taking the ACT your junior year. Learn more the advantages of taking the ACT this year.


Send this email communication and post this social media image for your juniors:

Juniors: Five reasons you should consider taking the ACT junior year


How to identify your interests and find your path in life.

Discover your interests so you can identify the direction you want to go in life. Review the 5 steps you can take right now.  


Send this email communication and post this social media image for your sophomores:

Sophomores: Learn how to identify your interests and find your path in life.