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ACT Score Report Warning

May 21, 2014

A few weeks ago I registered my second daughter for the June 2014 ACT test.  I noticed a change in the registration process: it was asking me to rank the colleges I wanted to send the scores to.  This sent up red flags.  I did not remember being asked to rank colleges for my older daughter.  I checked with some of my former ACT students and they did not remember being asked to rank schools either.

I just called the ACT to ask if the rankings were being sent to the colleges.  Here's what I learned.

Assume Joe ranks four colleges on his ACT registration:
1. University of Illinois
2. Indiana University
3. Missouri
4. Wisconsin

When the score reports go out to the colleges, Wisconsin learns that they are Joe's fourth choice.  They do not know what schools are ranked higher.

Why would this be a problem?
If Wisconsin knows they are Joe's fourth choice, what incentive does Wisconsin have to offer Joe an academic scholarship?  Wisconsin does not necessarily want to be a bargaining chip for the three other schools ranked higher.

Ideally, Joe wants all four universities to think they are his number one choice because in a very real sense they are until he gets much closer to making a decision.

What's the solution?
I chose not to send ACT score reports to the colleges.  Colleges will assume you are telling the truth when self-reporting ACT scores.  When the time comes and a college asks us to send an official ACT score reports then we will pay the current $12 fee to send the report to the college that wants it.

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