What do my test scores mean for me?

November 6, 2014

     Why are test scores so important for me?  That is the question that all juniors and seniors are asking.  I thought I would just give you a little information.  To be admissible to colleges in Nebraska students must take either an SAT, ACT, Compass or ASSET test.  The ACT or SAT is required to for all four-year schools in Nebraska and the Compass or ASSET tests can be used for admittance and placement at the community colleges and NCTA in Curtis.   The higher your scores, the better off you are for being admitted to the college of your choice and for scholarships.

     The ACT test is used by schools in the Midwest and an SAT test is preferred by colleges on the coasts, so let’s talk ACT.  A score of 22 or above on the Math portion of your ACT test will place you in the typical 4-year college, 100 level course, such as College Algebra taught at LHS.  A score of 19 or above on the Reading portion of your ACT test will place you in the typical 4-year college, 100 level course, such as College English taught at LHS.  The higher your ACT scores the more options you will have for scholarships and college admission, but a medium score can get you some money as well.  An example is if you have a 25 on your ACT, UNK will admit you but may not give you a scholarship.  That same 25 at Central Community College may get you a nice scholarship with lower tuition. 

     The ASSET and Compass tests are used by the community colleges to place students and award scholarships.  If you do not meet minimum test scores, you will have to pay for each lower level class to get you to the typical college level classes.  These classes typically will not work toward your degree so you are taking classes and spending extra money and time.   Most programs at the community colleges will have a minimum score to enter the program.  If you don’t meet the minimum you may be denied entrance into the program of your choice until you have taken remedial courses to improve your skills or they may admit you and have you take extra courses to get your skills where they want them to be.  All this is very simple.  The higher your scores to begin with the better off you are.

     Another aspect of college entrance tests is the qualifications to play sports or participate in intercollegiate activities.  If you want to play sports or participate in intercollegiate activates at college often minimum scores on the ACT are required. NCAA Division I and II colleges require that your individual ACT scores add up to 67 or higher, while NAIA schools will look at ACT scores as one of the areas in which you could qualify.  Often exceptional athletes are unable to compete at the college of their choice because of test scores. 

     My best advice to all students that want to go to college is to work hard in high school to improve your skills.  Study hard for these high stakes tests.   Working hard in high school will save you heartache and disappointment down the road.  You will receive scholarships to help pay for college and keep you from having to borrow as much money or no money at all.  It will help you get into programs and not waste your time and money on classes that don’t work for your degree.  Why are test scores important to you, the student?  You will be able to have a career you like at a lower cost.  You will be able to buy your first car or even house sooner than those students that are paying off higher and higher student loans.  Working hard in high school will pay off in the long run.  That is a fact.  Just ask those that chose either path and they will confirm it.  

Mrs. Hoyt, LHS Counselor