Get your ACT together


Vinay Joshi

Junior Vinay Joshi attempts to navigate the new ACT registration process.

Ingrid Hofmann, Editor in Chief

With the ever-changing updates due to COVID-19, colleges and students have been scrambling to adjust to standardized testing changes, such as the ACT. While ACT has tried to adapt to the fluid situation, their management of the situation has left students outraged.

After a series of cancellations, starting in April and continuing through to July, students–especially incoming seniors–began to wonder if they would be able to test before college and scholarship applications were due.

Yet, it was this moment when ACT brilliantly decided to update their entire registration system, leading to students being forced to create new logins in order to sign up for exams and access scores, after the registration process was delayed several times over the course of a week. For many, this process took anywhere from an hour to two hours, as the ACT system was not properly prepared to handle the influx of visitors to their site.

Despite these complications, the final straw for many testers was when their test locations were moved at the last minute or, for some, when their test was outright cancelled only days before they were expected to take it. After following this convoluted process, many were left with only left with one thought: get it together, ACT.

It is understandable for ACT to have cancelled tests when the unpredictability of COVID-19 was at an all time high. However, months have passed since we first went into quarantine and our situation has essentially remained essentially the same since early July, which poses the question: why is ACT still so unprepared?

As a multimillion dollar company, ACT would be expected to have a stronger crisis management plan than what they are currently doing, which seems to be flying by the seat of their pants and screwing students over in the process.

Junior Vinay Joshi, whose July test was cancelled the morning of, agreed ACT’s poor decision making negatively impacted tests. “I recognize the importance of the test as a major factor in the admissions process, so I studied for several hours for the test,” mentioned Joshi. “This was a huge waste of time, and I was disappointed when I studied for 20 plus hours just for it to be cancelled. The amount of time wasted was the worst impact on me.”

After nearly 6 months, ACT has failed to do much besides adding two new dates to both September and October and suggesting underclassmen “be a buddy to fellow seniors” and wait to register until December and spring dates. This announcement came after many seniors expressed their indignation as seats filled with younger testers.

Testing difficulties did not stop at the registration process, as several students discovered their test site location had changed only days before the test when they went to print their admission ticket. For some students, like senior Morgan Sorenson and myself, the new test center was hours away. With only a few days notice and no email or phone call notifying them of these potentially significant changes, what are students supposed to do?

While some students may be able to adapt to this situation, changes like these can drastically disadvantage students who are unable to travel hours to get to the testing center. For Sorenson, this leads to her potentially losing out on scholarships for college. “I had to cancel my test and won’t be able to take my test until October,” Sorenson noted. “This poses many setbacks and stress. Although I am already in [a] college, I have to wait significantly longer to begin applying for scholarships, which puts me at a disadvantage.”

Not only has ACT made several substantial changes to testers’ plans without notifying them, ACT has been essentially unreachable for guidance counselors, parents and testers who are attempting to navigate through these changes and attempt to correct them, if at all possible.

But, for ACT, their poor management of this entire situation has had little effect on the number of students wanting to test.

Despite numerous colleges and universities having announced they would be “test-optional” for at least this fall’s admission cycle, the ACT recognizes that students will still continue to test, whether they need the scores for scholarships, financial aid or simply to make themselves stand out as stronger applicants in what is expected to be a viciously competitive application cycle.

Even though ACT holds the position of power in this situation, they must come to realize they have left countless students at a disadvantage–which could potentially be detrimental to their secondary education plans. It also poses the ethics of charging students upwards of $46 to test, only to screw them over days before the test is expected to take place.

As ACT continues to disadvantage and outrage students across the nation, students plead: get it together, ACT.