Q&A: GWM Asks Questions about What Students Want to Know: ACT

Golden wave staff members Nick Smith and Drew Long talked with School Counselors Billie Ruth Reed and Manessa Hadley about the ACT.

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Nick Smith

How does the ACT affect students? 

Ms.Hadley “The ACT is important for college. It is used to determine students’ readiness for postsecondary opportunities. colleges use ACT results for admissions decisions, course placement, academic advising, and scholarships. Students in Mississippi who obtain an english subscore below a 17 are placed in remedial english class before they can take english Comp I. Those students who obtain a subscore below a 19 are placed in a remedial class before they can actually take college algebra.”

What are the benefits of the ACT? 

Ms.Hadley “Taking the ACT can increase a student’s chances of earning scholarships. Scholarship opportunities are available for students who obtain a high score on the ACT. An example would be:
UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI ACADEMIC  MERIT AWARDS
23 = $1,000 Award
24=  $1,500 Award
25 = $1,500 Award
26 = $1,900 Award
27= $2,250 Award
28 = $3,000 Award
29 = $3,500 Award
30 = $4,500 Award
31 = $5,500 Award
32 = $7,500 Award
33+ = $8,718 Award

So, one can plainly see how important it is to score high on the ACT.

Mississippi has several grants that require ACT scores such as MTAG (Mississippi Tuition Assistance Grant) which requires a 15 on the ACT. It pays $500 per year during a student’s freshman and sophomore year and up to $1,000 during a student’s junior and senior year; HELP (Higher Education Legislative Plan) requires a 20 on the ACT and this grant pays full tuition at Mississippi Institutions. There is also the MESG (Mississippi Eminent Scholars Grant) that requires a 29 on the ACT. It covers up to $2500 per year for eligible students. Many local scholarships, which are sponsored by local agencies in the area, require a certain ACT score.

So if we don’t take the ACT what are the consequences?

Ms.Hadley  “Due to COVID-19,many testing centers have been cancelled. Therefore, many colleges and universities are going test blind, which means that they do not look at the ACT or SAT scores even if students submit them. Many colleges are test optional, which means they will accept the test scores but the scores are not required. In these situations, it would be important to have a good GPA. If a student has at least a 3.2 GPA and has completed the college preparatory curriculum, he or she can be admitted to one of Mississippi’s eight public universities, without the ACT.”

Where will they be held due to covid-19? 

Ms. Reed: “The ACT will continue to be given at the school. There were some changes that were in the works before COVID-19 hit such as online testing and remote site testing. Online testing has been put on hold until 2021. However, ACT still plans to offer a remote proctoring solution, allowing students to take the test online, at home, or at other convenient locations possibly in the winter.”

What will be different about the ACT this year, due to COVID-19?

Ms. Reed: “Due to COVID-19, our test center was closed for the months of April, June, July, September, and October. Once we are given the approval by our administration to have the ACT here, we will still have to follow the CDC guidelines for gatherings.”