My Journey Virtual Event Recorded Sessions

Your College and Career Planning Journey Starts Here!

Welcome to the My Journey recordings — everything you need to know along your path through high school to college. Get insights from recent graduates and admissions experts about preparing for college and career — from finding scholarships to finding the right school. My Journey is your ticket to success!

Closed captions are available by hovering over each video and clicking the CC icon in the lower-right corner. 

Top Questions Asked During This Year's Q&A Session

Many parents, not just those of first-generation college hopefuls, feel like they don’t have the knowledge or resources needed to help their student with college applications. A lot has changed in the world of college admissions, but knowledge is power, and we’ve got the resources you need.

1) Start by looking over the topics we cover and the resources we have available in our popular college and career planning guides

2) Talk to your student’s high school counselor, they are there to help! Your student’s counselors are knowledgeable resources who can point you to information to support your specific situation.

3) Sign up for the ACT® parent newsletter! Every month we deliver helpful resources straight to your inbox. The information is timely, covers the topics you need to know, and keeps you on track for supporting your student’s path to college and career success. 

 

Take the ACT! You probably saw that coming 😉. The reality is that there are lots of things you should do to demonstrate your college-readiness to admissions officers. 

  • Be active in your community through volunteer service. This can give you material for your application essays, help guide your major and career interests, and it shows you’ve got the initiative to make an impact on the issues you care about. 

  • Take courses that challenge you and help you to explore and cultivate your interests. Colleges look at the rigor of your schedule to help them determine your readiness for college-level academics. 

  • Participate in clubs and extracurriculars that highlight your interests. Supplementing these activities with your ACT score is a proven way to show colleges you’re ready for the next level.  

  • Spend your summers learning, growing, exploring, and fostering your interests. Colleges want to know your invested in your success year-round, not just during the school year. Spend your summers doing a summer internship or job. Take a pottery class at a local art museum. Start your own babysitting business. Or, read to kids at the local library. Make your summers both fun and meaningful!

  • And don’t forget to take the ACT. It’s a great way to stand out, and help admissions officers understand your skillsets and strengths. To make sure you’re ready, take a free practice exam and consider affordable (um, how about free?) test prep options that will prepare you for the ACT.

We’ve got you covered! See how different careers and majors align with your interests with the interest inventory tools available in your free MyACT account. Not only will you see how different careers and majors align with your interests, you might even learn about careers and fields of study you didn’t even know existed! Other great ways to explore career opportunities are through internships, job shadowing, and volunteering. Check out our college and career resources page for additional guides and information. 

Take the free interest inventory in your MyACT account as many times as you want! We suggest you take it as your interests evolve so you can explore new careers and majors as you are learning more about yourself. No one is interested in the same things forever! Feed your curiosity. Sign up for your free MyACT account today to take your interest inventory! 

The term FAFSA is sometimes mistaken for FEAR 😥 – but we promise the federal student financial aid process doesn’t have to be scary. We suggest students and families take the time to check out fafsa.gov. This webpage is the central source for all FAFSA updates and information.

Currently, FAFSA requires students and parents to have separate accounts. Your social security number is the unique identifier on each account and only one parent is required to create an account. All families are unique, and each student is going to have a different set of familial circumstances, so check out the official site before you get started!

The simple answer is no – FAFSA is not a loan, it stands for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The FAFSA is the form you complete to apply for financial aid and federal student loans.

Loan types? Repayment terms? Scholarships? You’ve probably got A LOT more questions about financial aid and how it works. That’s why we’ve created this Financial Aid eBook to get you started on the journey to paying for college. Download the eBook to get answers to some popular financial aid questions.

This is one the most “Googled” questions for high school students! The simple answer is that college admissions officers want to see a balanced application that shows initiative, academic growth, and authenticity. They want to know you as a person, and they want to know if you’ll succeed at their university. Every applicant will provide grades and GPA information on their college application. Candidates that go above and beyond and showcase their test scores, extracurricular activities, volunteer efforts, and leadership qualities have a better chance of standing out and showing their true potential. An ACT® test score can help you stand apart from the application crowd.

The number of colleges or universities you apply to depends on your personal preferences and the list of colleges you are interested in attending based on your preferences, interests, desired major, cost, and type of university or college. You don’t need to know your major to build your college list. Many universities and colleges have first-year exploratory programs that allow you to take classes in a variety of subjects to determine your career pathway. Some students build their college lists based on a variety of major options they are interested in – but haven’t decided on! We suggest learning more about the college application process by checking out our Planning for Your Future eBook.

We’d be lying if we said grades and GPAs weren’t important, but keep in mind that colleges and universities want to see well-rounded applicants that demonstrate their potential for success in the classroom and beyond. Taking the ACT is a great way to showcase what you’ve learned and share your potential with your college(s) of choice. Colleges and universities also want to see that you’ve “flexed your mental muscles” by taking classes that are challenging and interesting. Balance out your college application by showing your classroom performance, ACT test scores, extracurricular activities, and more!

ACT fights for fairness in education and supports an educational system where all students have equal access to knowledge, learning, and success. Colleges and universities are also trying to make the journey to college easier for families and students who come from these nontraditional pathways. Here are a few resources we find useful:

ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning

Scholarships for Undocumented and DACA Students

College Guide for DACA and Undocumented Students 

There are important differences between the ACT and SAT related to calculator use, support for English language learners, STEM preparedness, and more. See the following links for more information on why the ACT is the right test for you. 

Reasons to take the ACT

ACT or SAT?

Welcome from Tina Gridiron

Vice President, ACT Center for Equity in Learning
     

Student Panel Discussion

Featuring:

Javae Harmon
Student, Freshman
Major: Biological Sciences
Clemson University

Fahad Alden
Student, Sophomore
Major: Digital Media
The University of Massachusetts

Charles Sargent
Student, Freshman
Major: Journalism
Missouri State University

Chris Wells
Student, Sophomore
Major: Pre-Med
Missouri State University

     
     

College and Career Navigation

     
     

Step by Step: Critical Milestones That Lead to College Planning Success

College and Career Navigation
Presenter: Bryan Contreras, Vice President, myOptions Encourage

It’s no secret — college and career planning can be overwhelming. During this presentation, we’ll pull back the curtain and identify critical milestones that will help students and families plan for success. The session will highlight 9th- and 10th-grade college prep behaviors and break down time sensitive college application advice for 11th and 12th graders. Learn how a counselor helped students explore careers, jobs, and various types of colleges to help them arrive at a balanced college match list that met their needs.

How to Conquer the College Admissions Process

College and Career Navigation
Presenter: Dr. Erin Verity, Associate Director of Admissions, Florida State University

Deciding where to go to college is supposed to be exciting and fun, yet for many it feels mostly complicated and overwhelming. If that's you, then join this session. We'll talk about some common myths about the admissions process and discuss what colleges are really looking for. We'll help simplify the process to help ensure your college search and application journey is a successful one. 

Making Sense of Recent Changes to Admission Policies and Practice

College and Career Navigation
Presenter: Don Pitchford, PhD, Senior Director of Strategy and Market Engagement , ACT

Many colleges and universities have had to adapt and alter their admission policies in response to the pandemic, but along the way some of these changes have made life more complex and challenging for students on the college-going journey.  Participants in this session will benefit from resources and guidance intended to help make sense of some of the dynamic and complex aspects of today's college admissions process.

Preparing for Your ACT

     
     

Instructor Takeover: Preparing for the ACT

Preparing for Your ACT
Presenter: Michelle Hunt, ACT Instructor, Kaplan

Join Michelle Hunt, an instructor for Kaplan Test Prep, for a presentation that will focus on tips before and during the exam to help with studying and preparing for the exam, as well as how to combat anxiety that comes with standardized testing and tips to calm nerves.

Test Prep: Who, What, Where, When, Why?

Preparing for Your ACT 
Presenter: Andrew Taylor, Vice President, Product, ACT

During this session we will introduce the free and paid resources, experiences, and products that ACT provides and partners with others to provide to support test preparation for the ACT test. Experiences, resources and products include “Preparing for the ACT”, free practice assessments, self-paced tools, the Official ACT Prep Guide, and other preparation resources.

Why Test? The Value of the ACT

Preparing for Your ACT
Presenter: Andrew Taylor, Vice President, Product, ACT

In this session you’ll learn how the ACT is one of the most powerful tools you can leverage as you pursue your college and career journey. You’ll get an in-depth look at the importance of testing in the current admissions landscape and how ACT scores can help win scholarships and secure placement into the college and courses that are right for you. From the right school to the right major, to the right career — learn how the ACT is the right tool to help you get where your dreams will carry you. 

Financial Aid and Paying for College

     
     

How to Score Scholarships

Financial Aid and Paying for College
Presenter: Dr. Nancy Lewin, Senior Director-Center for Equity in Learning, ACT

Don’t leave money on the table when it comes to paying for college. As the value of education translates to increased earning potential, be sure to take advantage of scholarships to pay for school. Scholarships are a fantastic financial resource that you need to know how to access the way to achieving your education and career goals. Learn about scholarships and how to apply as well as how your ACT score can help with gaining scholarships on your journey to success!

ACT Fee Waivers, College Application Waivers, and the No-Cost Tools in MyACT:  Let’s Get Ready for Free!

Financial Aid and Paying for College
Presenter: Gladys Recinos, Account Executive, ACT

Tap into success with the library of free tools and resources from ACT! Join this session to learn about all the no-cost resources for students available in MyACT.org, including a free full-length practice test and college major & career exploration tools for learners ages 11 and up. We will review how to access ACT fee waivers and college application waivers and address why and how ACT scores are used as an external measure of college and career readiness after admissions.

Financial Aid FAQs

Financial Aid and Paying for College
Presenter: Lisa Smith, Director of Financial Aid, Henderson State University

For most students and parents, calculating the cost of college is a primary and stressful factor in determining which school is the right school. This session will help you gain the clarity to make confident decisions by learning about the financial aid process, including timelines and major action points, as well as how to find a wealth of information from the Federal Student Aid website. Attendees will get an overview of the information the FAFSA asks for and why it’s necessary, along with information to help troubleshoot some common mistakes. Join this session to learn how to take advantage of every FAFSA dollar available for bringing your dreams to life through the power of education.