How Counselors can Best Prepare Students For the ACT

One of the most important roles of a guidance counselor is to prepare students for the college admissions process. Many counselors help students find appropriate colleges, understand requirements and help with transcripts. However, counselors can also help students prepare for college entrance exams, such as the ACT.

While teachers help students prepare for the content of the test in the classroom, counselors can help students prepare for the ACT in other ways. For example, a student walks into a counselor’s office asking for information and for help in preparing for the ACT. The following is an example of the steps that counselors could take:


One of the most important duties a counselor can contribute to is in helping the student fully understand what to expect on the college entrance exams, such as the ACT. The counselor’s can inform the student about the structure, timing, cost and grading of the exam. The counselor should also explain how colleges use these scores in the admissions process.


Next, the counselor should create a plan with the student. What types of colleges is the student interested in attending and what are the majors the student is interested in studying? In discovering this, the counselor can better inform the student on what score to target and what areas of the test to focus on.


Step three is arguably the most important step in this process. The counselor must provide the student with all test preparation materials. There are several options that a counselor can point to, including workbooks and past ACT exams that can be found online. There are also more modern and interactive options as well. Students can take online courses that allow them to study on their own time. Large test prep companies such as Kaplan are offered at a high price, while Quesbook offers a free top quality test prep option with live online classes for the ACT. It is important to point the student in the direction that fits them best.


Lastly, counselors should inform students about deadlines and help them register. There are several test dates for the ACT, but students must register and pay for the test ahead of time. Counselors can inform students when they should register and where they can register. Counselors should also discuss alternatives ways to pay for the exam if there are financial constraints.


Once the student takes the ACT and receives their score, the counselor and student should revisit the plan they made in step two and see if those options are still viable. Sometimes the plan needs to be readjusted, or students can take the test again to reach those initial goals. The counselor should help the student understand what the score means and how they can use it to their advantage.

College admissions can be tricky and the college entrance exams seem like a daunting task to any high school senior. It is important for the counselor to prepare students for these exams and help to ease their anxiety.

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