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ACT Updates to Have on Your Radar

By Nadyja Von Ebers on July 07, 2021 In college admissions

COVID-19 threw a wrench in standardized testing plans (and all plans!) for quite some time. But now that things have somewhat returned back to normal, there aresome significant changes to the ACT that you should be aware of (if you're not already). 

These changes pertain to ACT superscoring, ACT score reports, and ACT fee waivers, and we encourage you to share this guide on the latest ACT updates with your students. It provides a very detailed overview of how these changes will impact their college admissions process, but below are the key highlights.

ACT Superscoring 

As of this April 2021, the ACT will now superscore all of a student's tests taken since 2016. 

You may be familiar with superscoring because, historically, most colleges superscore the SAT

But what exactly is superscoring?

In short, an ACT superscore is an average of a student's highest scores across the different ACT test sections and across all of their testing dates. Or, in other words, the ACT takes the average of the 4 best subject scores from all of the tests taken and creates a stronger "super" score to send to colleges. 

Why is this so significant? Because it allows a student to take the ACT multiple times but only share their highest scores with colleges. 

It also allows them to laser in on individual subjects to improve on without worrying that their score will drop in another subject. For example, a student can re-take the ACT in the hopes of improving their math score without worrying that their reading comprehension score will drop (if they are already satisfied with their reading comprehension score). 

ACT superscoring policy

A couple of quick things about ACT superscoring:

  • Each college or university has its own policies about whether or not it accepts superscores. But the ACT will now provide a superscore for students that they may submit to schools that accept them. 
  • Students still have score choice, meaning they can choose which test dates they want to sent to schools.  Students can also choose which scores (composites or superscores) get sent to which schools.

For more information, here's a great set of ACT superscore FAQs to check out.

ACT Score Reports

As of September 2020, the ACT now offers unlimited free score reports to students who have taken the ACT with a fee wavier

This means a student who has paid for the ACT with fee waiver may send their scores to as many schools as they would like.

ACT score reports and score choice

ACT Free Waivers

The ACT now allows 4 fee waivers (double from previously) to students who qualify. As a teacher or administrator, you can help your students determine if they are eligible and help them get the fee waivers they need. 

This is the most recent criteria for ACT fee waiver eligibility, and you can read more about ACT fee waivers under the counselor toolkit.

ACT fee waivers for qualifying students

A Final Word About ACT Updates

All of these updates are intended to help your students' chances of getting into college and help foster educational equality. 

If you have any questions or concerns about these policies, please check in with your school's administration team or contact the ACT directly (contact information is at the bottom of the page). Good luck! 

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