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2019 Counselor’s Guide Now Available

ACT wants to empower you to open doors, build confidence, and unleash the potential of your students.

The 2019–2020 ACT Counselor’s Guide was designed to help you and your students understand how ACT tools and services impact college and career readiness. With information about the ACT® test dates, scholarships, and test prep, you’ll find everything you need to set your students up for success. 

The ACT Scholarship Giveaway is Back—and Bigger!

Last year’s inaugural ACT Scholarship Giveaway made a big difference in the lives of college-bound students. This year, we want to help even more students who “dream big” to make those dreams a reality! 

Throughout the 2019–2020 school year, ACT will award 14 students both a $15,000 scholarship and a $5,000 technology package (in October, December, February, April, June, and July). In addition, a variety of prizes totaling up to $65,000 will be awarded in instant giveaways connected to completing activities aimed to help students prepare for the ACT test through ACT® Academy™.  

Eligible students must be sophomores, juniors, or seniors enrolled in high school during the 2019–2020 school year. Students who register to take the ACT test on a national test date beginning with the October 2019 test will automatically be registered for the scholarship and prizes. There is also an option for eligible students to complete a free entry form.  
The scholarship money may be used at any Title IV-eligible postsecondary institution in the US. The technology package includes a laptop computer, tablet, monitor, keyboard, mouse, and other accessories and software, as well as a cash gift card to help fund any other technology or software needs as the winners prepare for life after high school. 

Click below for information about the scholarship giveaway. You’ll also meet the 2019 prize winners and discover their plans for the future. 

Meet Our 2019 ACT Scholarship Giveaway Grand Prize Winner

Elsy Villezcas and ACT Chief Commercial Officer Suzana Delanghe

Elsy Villezcas of Ogden, Utah, became the recipient of the 2019 ACT Scholarship Giveaway grand prize—a $40,000 college scholarship and $5,000 technology package. 

Villezcas is entering her senior year at Ben Lomond High School in Ogden and plans to attend either Weber State University or Utah State University to study social work.  Villezcas was randomly selected from more than 600,000 students who entered the contest. “I was super happy because I won the scholarship, and I really do have power to change my future,” she said. 

#WhyApply Day—Celebrate the College Application Process September 20 

“Why apply to college?” As counselors, you likely hear this question from some of your students or their families. They may wonder whether college is worth it, especially if they are the first in their family to pursue higher education. 


To kick off the college application season, the American College Application Campaign wants you to join us in telling students why it’s important to apply to a postsecondary institution, whether it’s in pursuit of a certificate program, a two-year degree, or a four-year degree. On Friday, September 20, use your personal and school social media accounts to answer the question “Why apply to college?” and be sure to use the hashtag #WhyApply.  

#WhyApply Day celebrates the college application season by sharing supportive and motivating messages on social media about the importance of applying to college—a critical and necessary step on the journey to postsecondary education.  Additionally, ACAC will host a #WhyApply Twitter chat on Friday, September 20, at 1:00 p.m., EDT to discuss how college access professionals can encourage high school students to apply to college and how to break down the application process.  

We can’t wait to celebrate your students during your college application events! Don’t forget to register your high school today and we’ll put you in contact with your state campaign coordinator. 

Report: Students Feel Safe but Want an Increase in Mental Health Services

The large majority of US high school students feel safe in school but many see a need for more mental health services for students, according to Creating Safe Schools: Examining High School Student Perceptions of Their Physical Safety at School, a new report from ACT.  

The report is based on findings gathered in a survey of students in grades 10–12 who took the ACT test in October 2018. The report points to three main conclusions:  

  • There’s a need for additional mental health services in US high schools. 
  • There’s a need to study the effectiveness of measures schools are implementing to improve physical safety. 
  • Policymakers and school leaders should take students’ perspectives into account when considering which school safety measures to implement. 

“While a majority of students reported feeling safe, nearly one in four said concerns about school safety negatively affect their ability to learn,” said Jim Larimore, chief officer for ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning. “Our report is intended to help communities understand student perceptions and address student concerns about school safety so that they don’t interfere with students’ ability to learn.” 

The report also includes recommendations for educators and policymakers. 

Blog: What Does the Research Say About Superscoring?

More students are taking the ACT® test multiple times, which impacts college admissions professionals who are considering which scores to accept. Colleges and universities use different policies for students who submit multiple sets of test scores. Some prefer the most recent test scores while others use the highest test results from across all their testing attempts, or superscoring. 

ACT conducted research to address concerns about using the last score, highest score, average score, and superscore in admissions decisions. While all methods proved to be similarly predictive, the superscoring method was superior in terms of prediction accuracy. 

In their ACT Leadership Blog entry, Dr. Krista Mattern and Kenton Pauls of ACT discuss the implications of validity and fairness of the use of single or multiple standardized test scores.  

CEO Touts the Impacts of Past ACT Leaders

ACT has had seven leaders over its 60-year history, each of which can lay claim to the directions the organization has taken in helping individuals achieve education and workplace success. 

In honor of ACT’s 60th anniversary, ACT CEO Marten Roorda reflects on the contributions of his predecessors—Jean Paul Mather, Paul Trump, Fred Harcleroad, Oluf Davidsen, Richard Ferguson, and Jon Whitmore—and their individual legacies in shaping ACT as an organization that can change with the times and demands of shifting needs in education and training. 

Helpful Tips to Share With Your Students

How to Prepare for a College Fair

A college fair is an event for high school students to learn more about colleges by talking one-on-one with admissions representatives from various universities. College fairs are typically held at high schools, community centers, community colleges, or convention centers. Keep reading to learn five tips to best prepare for a college fair! (Plus, download the worksheet that will help you organize your thoughts about the schools while you’re at the event!)