For those of you who took the ACT on April 12th, scores should now be available on the ACT website. If you took the ACT Plus Writing, you can expect the score on the writing section to appear about two weeks later. (Each essay gets evaluated by two trained readers, so essay scoring is a much more time-intensive process than the multiple choice section.)
If you find that you are unhappy with your scores, don't panic. There are now about 850 test-optional colleges, and even at schools that require the SAT or ACT, the exam is just one part of the application. Most selective colleges have holistic admissions, so the admissions folks will also be looking for a winning essay, meaningful extracurricular activities, demonstration of your interest, and good letters of recommendation. Most important of all is a strong academic record.
If you're wondering what your ACT numbers mean, read this overview of ACT scores. To see how your scores measure up to the middle 50% of matriculated students at different colleges, check out these comparison charts:
- ACT scores for the Ivy League
- ACT scores for top universities
- ACT scores for top liberal arts colleges
- ACT scores for top public universities
- ACT scores for top Catholic colleges and universities
- ACT scores for colleges in: California | Florida | Georgia | Illinois | Indiana | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Missouri | New York | North Carolina | Ohio | Pennsylvania | Tennessee | Texas | Virginia | Washington | more states
- More ACT Comparison Charts
- GPA, SAT and ACT Score Graphs
- Convert ACT Scores to SAT Scores
- Overview of Kaplan ACT Test Prep Options
From tiny liberal arts colleges to large state universities, Virginia has some excellent options for higher education. Nearly all of the state's best schools have holistic admissions, so the admissions folks will be looking for more than good grades and standardized test scores. Challenging high school courses, a well written essay, interesting extracurricular activities and positive letters of recommendation are all important pieces of the admissions equation.
That said, the empirical part of your application is still remarkably important. To see if you numbers are in line for Virginia's top colleges and universities, check out these graphs of GPA, SAT and ACT data for accepted, waitlisted, and rejected students: Christopher Newport University | College of William & Mary | George Mason University | Hampden-Sydney College | Hollins University | James Madison University | Longwood University | Randolph College | Randolph-Macon College | Roanoke College | Sweet Briar College | University of Mary Washington | University of Richmond | University of Virginia | Virginia Military Institute | Virginia Tech | Washington and Lee University
There's a lot more to Ohio State than exciting Division I football. The Ohio State University in Columbus made my list of the country's best public universities in the United States, and its Moritz College of Law and Fisher College of Business are both highly regarded. The Ohio State campus features historic buildings, attractive green spaces, state-of-the-art research facilities, impressive athletic facilities, and a new student union.
ksr8s / Flickr
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The only thing harder than getting into a selective college is coming up with the money to pay for your education. Many of the country's most elite schools now have a total price tag around $60,000 a year.
June isn't a time when most students are thinking about applications. The majority of seniors are done with their college searches, and most juniors are still working on coming up with a short list of schools. But don't be complacent -- there are billions of dollars out there to help you fund your college education, but you can't win the money if you don't apply. These 23 scholarships with June deadlines range in value from $200 to $20,000. Entry requirements vary from being entrepreneurial to wanting to help pets. Look through the options to see which scholarships match your interests.
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If you're planning to take the SAT on May 3rd, the regular registration deadline has come and gone, but late registration is available until Monday, April 21st. The May exam is popular among high school juniors. Scores will be available online on May 22nd. If you aren't happy with your scores, you have all summer to beef up your skills and then retake the exam in October. Register online here. You'll need to pay a $27.50 late registration fee.
To learn what SAT scores you're likely to need to get into some of the country's more selective colleges and universities, these articles can help:
During my tour of colleges and universities in Virginia and North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro was one of my favorite stops.
Photo by Allen Grove
Augustana College, Old Main
Photo Credit: Augustana College
If there's an Illinois college or university that isn't on the list that you think should be, share your recommendation below. I'm a strong believer that my own selection criteria may have little to do with the best school for your own values, academic interests, and professional goals.
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Also be sure to master these 12 Common Interview Questions before you ever set foot in the interview room.
North Carolina has some impressive options for higher education, and the admissions standards for places like Duke and UNC Chapel Hill can be daunting. Most top-ranking schools have holistic admissions, so the final admissions decision takes into consideration things like your extracurricular involvement and application essay.
That said, you're going to need high grades and strong test scores to get in. To see if you're on target for admission to some of North Carolina's top colleges, click on a school's name to view a graph with GPA, SAT score and ACT score data for accepted and rejected students: Appalachian State | Davidson | Duke | Elon | Guilford | High Point | Meredith | NC State | Salem | UNC Asheville | UNC Chapel Hill | UNC School of the Arts | UNC Wilmington | Wake Forest | Warren Wilson
New England is home to some of the most selective and prestigious colleges and universities in the world. My list of the 25 top New England colleges is filled with many familiar names -- Harvard, Yale, Williams, Amherst, and many others. A couple of the schools may be less familiar to readers. The colleges and universities on the list were chosen based on retention rates, four- and six-year graduation rates, student engagement, academic strengths, and financial aid.
Photo Credit: Allen Grove
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