ACT scores become more prevalent
Towson has seen a slight increase in the number applicants that submit ACT scores than in years past, following a national trend.
Towson will accept either an SAT or ACT score. Among freshmen, 77 percent use SAT scores, 14 percent use ACT and nine percent use both, according to Towson admissions data analyst Amy Shive. Three years ago, SAT scores were steady at 81 percent.
Towson admissions counselor Bethany Ferguson said that although the numbers are evening out between the two tests, Towson isn’t changing the way it looks at accepting students.
The change in the test-taking balance will not effect Towson applications, Shive said.
“We accept both the ACT and the SAT. If a student takes both, we use the comparable ‘highest’ score as the basis for admission,” she said.
Junior Matt Witmer said he considered taking the ACT to have a second set of scores as another option for schools but settled on the SAT.
“All of my friends who took the ACT, their scores were better,” Witmer said.
Nationally about 1,500 test-takers chose the ACT over the SAT, making the ACT the most popular college entrance exam. The gap between the two tests has been closing in the last eight years, a Washington Post article reported.
Maryland students are following the national trend in ACT participation. Just over 24 percent more graduating high school students took the ACT in 2012 than in 2008, according to ACT.org.
Maryland is 43rd in number of students taking the ACT. Twenty one percent of students graduating from Maryland high schools took the ACT in 2012, according to ACT.org.
The SAT and the ACT are starting new initiatives to help boost the number of students taking their college entrance exams, another Washington Post article reported in February.
The SAT, owned by The College Board, could add many new students to its numbers if more states and counties participate in its newest program, SAT School Day.
“The College Board recently began an exciting new initiative in which participating districts and states funded students to take the SAT during a school day at their hometown high schools,” the College Board website states.
In some cases students pay nothing to take the test, the school district foots the bill.
Students are also given access to test-prep resources produced by The College Board.
Prince George’s County Public Schools held an SAT School Day in October 2012, according to a PGCPS press release. Over 6,800 students registered to take the SAT at no cost.
PG County juniors can take the SAT this spring when a second SAT School Day is held.
Eight states participated in SAT School Day during the 2011-2012 school year, a total of approximately 45,000 students, according to The College Board’s website.
Ferguson said SAT School Day might be helpful for some students.
“The convenience of having [the SAT] in your school, in your classroom, could help students,” she said.
The ACT tests students on English, math, reading and science. ACT questions are sometimes described as more straightforward than SAT questions. The SAT tests students on critical reading, math and writing.
Senior Becca Lawson said she took the SAT in 2006.
“I don’t really remember the ACT being talked about,” Lawson said. “If you wanted to go to college you had to take the SAT.”