ACT Explodes in Popularity

While the SAT exam was the most popular college admissions test for decades, ACT has grown dramatically in popularity and now outpaces the College Board’s SAT. According to a recent report by, a record 1.9 million students in the Class of 2015 took the ACT test, ahead of the roughly 1.6 million students who took the SAT. In the past ten years alone, the popularity of the ACT has leapt by 60%.

So why the big jump in the number of ACT test takers? One reason is that more students are evaluating both tests and finding they score better on ACT. Since all colleges accept ACT and SAT on an equal basis, students are starting with the test where they score higher. All it takes is about three hours to take an ACT practice test and compare those results to the SAT or PSAT. Another factor is that 13 states require all juniors in public high schools to take the ACT. The number of ACT states is growing, while there are about half as many states with similar arrangements for required SAT testing.

In turn, colleges report more applicants are submitting ACT scores. At some highly selective colleges, as many as 25% of applicants report scores from both ACT and SAT. This represents a major shift as higher test scores become more critical for students to compete for coveted seats in freshman classes as well as scholarship money. In an interview with the New York Times, Janet Rapelye, Princeton University’s Dean of Admissions, was quoted as saying, “I don’t know all the pieces of why this is happening, but I think more students are trying to make sure they’ve done everything they can. And for us, more information is always better. If students choose one or the other, that’s fine, because both tests have value. But if they submit both, that generally gives us a little more information.”

The most important steps for success with either ACT or SAT are: develop a plan, prepare in advance, and arm students with all the resources available to best showcase their academic skills. At Dogwood Tutoring & Test Prep, our ACT test prep services offer the most effective strategies and methods to prepare students for the ACT. Our Master’s degree tutors work one-on-one with each student to identify gaps in academic skills, then customize lessons to meet those individual needs. At Dogwood’s professional learning center in Sandy Springs, expert tutors provide customized ACT test prep that students need to achieve their best results.