ACT is unfair

Cost of ACT and ACT prep can make it difficult for some students to achieve a high score.

In a society which emphasizes the importance of college attendance more than any other generation, it can be easy to forget just how privileged we are to go to a school that provides so many opportunities that increase your chances to get into the university of your choice. A school that provides ACT prep and AP classes among other programs that give students a fair chance at getting into school and receiving credit before their studies even begin. But is that chance really fair? In my opinion, the ACT is an exam which favors wealthier students over those who are unable to pay. Below, I will further describe this issue and provide my opinion on how to deal with it.

First of all, the overwhelming importance of the ACT in this day and age is outrageous. From even as early as middle school, this infamous test hovers over your head. You hear about it constantly for years; freshman and sophomore year you take practice tests and hear stories from all your older friends about the horror of the ACT. Then, junior year you take an entire school day to take this exam that basically takes all that you retained in high school and condenses it into one score, one simple number that practically defines your intelligence. You hear it all the time: “What did you get on your ACT”, “Oh you only got [insert score]?” Of course, if you’re unhappy with your score, you can simply pay $46 to take it again… and again.

Only it’s not that easy, especially if you come from a family that doesn’t have a lot of money. For those particular students, they could wind up stuck with a poor score just because they can’t afford to take it again, whereas a wealthier student would surely be able to. Additionally, things like ACT prep textbooks and tutors also cost a large sum, making it difficult to even be prepared for the test if you don’t have the money to spend. On Amazon, the Princeton Review Official ACT Prep Guide costs $26. How is it fair to make this test so crucial to college admission when less-fortunate students don’t even have a fair chance when taking it?

My solution to this problem is to eliminate the ACT entirely, or at least lessen its importance a noticeable amount. Not even that long ago, in the 80s and 90s, the ACT was not as vital as it is today. Those who took it only took it once or maybe twice, and even still their scores weren’t important enough to remember. Of the 15 adults over the age of 35 I asked about the ACT, only two could actually remember their score. For me and current high schoolers, however, our score will likely stay burned in our heads forever. This means that to move the ACT from the forefront of academic importance would not be an impossible task, as it had already been that way for years. Also, by lessening the impact of the ACT, colleges would have to focus more on a student’s overall, cumulative academic success as opposed to a score they were likely able to pay to take multiple times. This is a lot fairer for the general population of current students who already withstand an immense amount of societal pressure to get into college.

To conclude, I feel that the ACT is an unfair examination and that it should either lose a tremendous amount of importance in the college application process or be eliminated entirely. I feel that, in doing so, things would be far more fair for students who are unable to take the ACT multiple times or even be adequately prepared.