October 2017

The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2017

Highlights From This Year’s Report -

  • More than 2 million US high school graduates (2,030,038) took the ACT test. That’s 60% of the entire US graduating class.
  • Among 2017 graduates, 39 percent met the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks in at least three of the four core subject areas tested (English, math, reading, and science).
  • Underserved students (defined as students who are minority, low-income and/or first-generation college students), represent 46% of the 2017 ACT graduating class. Research suggests students who meet any of these underserved criteria are less likely than others to have access to high-quality educational and career planning opportunities and resources.
  • The majority of underserved students—including 81% of those who meet all three underserved criteria—achieve only one or none of the four ACT benchmarks. These students are likely to struggle in college-level coursework.
  • The national average ACT composite score for the 2017 graduating class rose to 21.0 on a 1 to 36 scale, returning to 2014 and 2015 levels after dropping to 20.8 last year.

To read the full report, visit here

Condition of 
college and career readiness video

The ACT Enrollment Planners Conference is now the ACT Enrollment Management Summit
For 33 years, ACT has convened the Enrollment Planners Conference, a one of-a-kind professional development and networking event. Building on this experience, and recognizing that the role of enrollment managers is changing and now more challenging than ever, we are relaunching this conference as the ACT Enrollment Management Summit to better address the professional development needs of enrollment managers. The inaugural ACT Enrollment Management Summit will be held July 18-20, 2018 in Denver, Colorado at the Hyatt Regency Denver.

More event info is available here.

ACT® Tessera™
Developed by leading scientists from around the world, the ACT® Tessera™ next-generation Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) system is available now for implementation in middle schools and high schools. Research continues to support SEL as meaningful for student achievement and lifelong well-being. A recent study has also shown that directed growth in SEL skills is possible, with demonstrated improvement in students’ academic performance.

Join the growing number of educators to agree that SEL matters and to take the next step in better preparing students for success in the 21st century. Watch the ACT® Tessera™ demo to see how Tessera is a complete Social and Emotional Learning system.


ACT Spring District Testing

School districts interested in participating in the ACT District Testing program are encouraged to sign up today to participate in the spring administration of the ACT® test.

The program benefits students in a number of ways:

  • It provides them with free college-reportable ACT scores that they can use to apply to colleges and for financial aid and scholarships.
  • It provides them with personalized information to explore college and career options based on their individual strengths and interests.
  • It encourages them to consider the option of attending college, particularly for students who may not have seriously considered this option previously.

Find out more.

Reasons to Attend a College and Career Readiness Workshop

This free half-day, interactive workshop is a great opportunity to meet with professionals to network and share ideas. By attending one of the many nationwide in-person workshops or webinars you’ll learn how to answer these questions:

  1. How do I know if my students are meeting educational standards?
  2. What do my students’ test scores really mean?
  3. Do my students’ interests line up with their academic and social/emotional skills?
  4. How do I know if students are ready for college and career?
  5. How do I communicate with students and parents about college and career readiness?

In addition, members of the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) will earn 3 clock hours for participating in the workshop.

Register for a workshop.

ACT Workforce Summit

Please join ACT, along with dedicated workforce professionals, economic developers, educators, industry associations, employers, and ACT Work Ready Community leaders at the ACT Workforce Summit November 8-10, 2017 in Austin, TX.

Interested? Register here.

Planning Guides for Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Year

Seniors: Avoiding the "Senior Slide"
From enrolling in challenging classes to choosing a college, this eBook helps seniors finish strong during their last year of high school
Get eBook

Juniors: 5 Questions Students Must Ask While College and Career Planning
This eBook provides juniors with useful tips, advice, and strategies for planning a path to college and career.
Get eBook

Sophomores: Keep Your Eyes on the Prize: How to Prepare for the Future during Your Sophomore Year
Tenth grade is a great time for students to stretch themselves and try new things – new activities, new kinds of classes, new challenges. It’s also a “directional” year – a time for them to start figuring out college and career goals. In this eBook ACT identifies which classes should be top priority, why extracurricular activities matter, and what steps sophomore students should take to plan for the future.
Get eBook

ACT Counselor Newsletter

The latest version can be accessed here.


New ACT Work Ready Communities Academy Starting November 14, 2017
There is still time to apply to join ACT Work Ready Communities at the new academy beginning on November 14, 2017. For more information about the Academy and how to apply click here.

Tom Green County Earns Work Ready Status (San Angelo, TX)
Tom Green County has earned a nationally recognized certification as an ACT Work Ready Community.

The Work Ready Communities program will help Tom Green County develop a pipeline between skilled workers and employers. Work Ready communities improve and measure the skill level of their workforces through a recognized standard – the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate™. This credential is issued at the bronze, silver, gold or platinum levels to indicate career readiness.

To earn the community certification, local leaders attended the ACT Work Ready Communities Academy, an executive leadership program designed by ACT. They then worked toward certification goals by building awareness among, cooperation with and a commitment by local employers, policymakers, educators and economic developers. “The progressive thinking of our community leaders and their positive action demonstrate an enduring commitment to growing the economic success of the San Angelo area,” County Judge Steve Floyd said.

San Angelo Mayor Brenda Gunter added that “local residents will begin seeing the important link between education and workforce development, and the value of matching people to jobs.”


Profile: Denny Smith, PhD, SHRM-CP
President, Tennessee Valley Chapter SHRM and ACT National Steering Committee Member, State Organizations

2017 Youth Employment Project
Diann Faflick, Specialist, College and Career Readiness, Wichita Public Schools
Past Chair, Kansas ACT Council

The Youth Employment Project (YEP) is an initiative developed to assist young adults in finding a first job or work experience opportunity in the greater Wichita metro area. Services through YEP include assistance in resume creation, job search, preparing for interviews as well as education on soft skills, customer service and financial literacy. YEP is a collaboration of community partners including the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, the City of Wichita, the Greater Wichita YMCA and area high schools including urban and suburban, public and parochial. These partners all have well established youth employment programs and are working together to achieve significant community impact. Additionally 83 employers engaged in YEP by hiring young adults in 2017. Learn about the participants, outreach, and outcomes here.

Hawai’i ACT State Organizations December 2017 Mini-Workshops
Rather than offer a traditional workshop this year, the Hawai’i ACT Council has decided to collaborate with ACT to develop mini-workshops on the islands of Hawai’i, Maui, and O’ahu to better meet the needs of the state. Morning workshops will focus on best practices for ACT State and District Testing while the afternoon sessions will be geared toward college admissions professionals and ACT Enroll. The workshops will be offered during the week of December 11th. Questions can be directed to Mike DiNicola, ACT State Organizations District Manager, Southwest (mike.dinicola@act.org).

Texas ACT Summit Rescheduled
Hurricane Harvey scuttled plans to offer the first Texas ACT Summit in Houston in September. However, the Texas ACT Council is a strong and determined bunch and they are currently making plans to re-schedule the Texas ACT Summit in early December 2017 (dates to be determined) in the Greater Austin area.

Call for Proposals
Do you have a best practice you’d like to share with Kansas educators? Proposals are open for the 2018 Kansas ACT State Organization Conference, held on Monday, April 2 at Wichita State University. Proposal criteria can be found on the application website. All proposals are due by Friday, October 27.


  • Kentucky ACT State Organization Symposium
    October 27, 2017
    Register here
  • Alabama ACT State Organization Conference
    December 7, 2017
    Register here

Seeking 2018 ACT College and Career Readiness Champions Applications!

The ACT College and Career Readiness Champions are

  • High school seniors
  • K-12 professionals
  • Postsecondary professionals
  • Workforce professionals

who are making a positive impact on their communities through their efforts to advance college and career readiness.

The ACT College and Career Readiness Champions are individuals across the country who support ACT’s mission of education and workplace success. ACT State Councils serve as the selection committee and select one Champion per category for each participating state. ACT Champions receive recognition awards and individual certificates. In addition, Student Champions receive a $500 non-renewable scholarship.

Applications can be found on our website and are due December 31, 2017. Champions will be notified on or before April 2, 2018.

Interested in learning about what the awards represent and how to apply? This ten-minute webinar will give you a quick introduction to the application process, timeline, and how to share this information with your students and colleagues.

Please help us spread the news about the ACT College and Career Readiness Champions and/or apply!

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