TorchPrep Blog

4 ACT Talking points for your next college night

Posted by Tom Hansen on Sep 27, 2018 9:58:24 AM




  1. Reduce the Stress - Parents and Students both are feeling the pressure of the ACT. 
  2. Tell them the NEW ACT Story - Parents took the ACT 20 years ago when you simply took the test once. They are not aware that the ACT has changed and requires more attention now when it comes to college applications. 
  3. Help them Understand their Score - Show them the College and Career Readiness Benchmarks, Local college's average ACT scores, scholarship scores, etc. 
  4. Give them a Plan - Don't give them 10+ options to prepare for the ACT, give them something specific that your school will do to help. 

Video Transcript:

So, you have a college night coming up and you have to talk to parents about the ACT. The pressure is on because this is an important topic and they are looking to you for answers. In this video, I'm going to give you four talking points to share with parents, to educate them and put them on a path to success. Also, make sure you check out the description below. I'm going to put some practical resources and some links that you can share with them, they're going to be a huge help for you.

The first thing to share with parents is try your best to reduce the pressure. There's a tremendous amount of pressure on parents and students around the ACT, it's insane. I think it's your job in these kinds of meetings to try your best to reduce that. A couple of years ago we were doing a professional development with teachers, training them in the ACT, as we often do at TorchPrep. And one of the things that we do is we have teachers go take the ACT, we find that it's been a while since they've done that.

After we did one of those experiences, one of the teachers came out and she was in tears. She said, "It has nothing to do with my classroom, it's about my son. A few years ago, I put a tremendous amount of pressure on him around the ACT. I was constantly nagging him, telling him to take it and retake it, and honestly, I was pretty open about my disappointment in his score. And I realize that that was incredibly unproductive, when I sat down and took the test." And it's true. Just make sure your parents are seeing themselves as advocates for their students, meaning that they're there, they're positive, they're supportive, they're helping their students. They're not adding to the pressure that students are already feeling.

The second thing to share with parents at your college night is that there was an old story with the ACT and now there's a new story with the ACT. I mean, it's not uncommon, your parents took the ACT 20, 30 years ago. But back in the day it was kind of like you take the ACT once, you get what you get, you move on, right? It's not like that anymore and parents need to be told that. They need to be told that that was the old story and even though we're talking about the same test that they maybe took, there is a new story with it. Now there is more weight put on this test by colleges and universities, the return on investment for raising your ACT score has never been higher, and the amount of time and energy and resources that families and students put to getting a high ACT score has just gone through the roof. So having that context is a really helpful thing for parents in understanding what to do with the ACT.

The third thing to share is make sure your parents know the overall context to understand their ACT score. I think a great starting point is just the College and Career Readiness Benchmark, right? You can get those from the national level or even how they're defined at the state level. But make sure they have those benchmarks as a starting point, to start interpreting their student's score when it comes through.

But beyond that, I know that parents love to see practical applications of that score. A great way to do that? Go to some colleges around your high school, get on their websites, look at their scholarship pages and look at those merit-based scholarships. Take some screenshots, put those in your slides for the night. I'm telling you, your parents will love it. They'll have their cellphones out, they'll be taking pictures of every single one. They really love to see that practical application. I've also done a video of how much your ACT score's worth, where I did a case study on 13 different colleges and universities. You can check that out and maybe share that as well.

The fourth thing that I would advise you to share is make sure that you give your parents a specific plan for the ACT. So many school leaders want to just aggregate every single possible option that's out there, they want to get every tutor, every program, every group training, every book, put it all in a big spreadsheet and just throw it at their parents and say, "You do all this research, you look at all this information and make the decision that works for you." That's not what parents want. Parents want you, as the expert that they trust, to research some options and make informed recommendations for them.

I can tell you that every school that works with TorchPrep, they look at our results, they interview students after our trainings to get their experiences, they vet us out, so that they feel comfortable recommending us to parents as an option. So make sure you look at those options out there and think about what's best for your families, and give them a specific plan.

That's it, those are my four recommendations. Again, they are, one, reduce the pressure, two, talk about the old story and the new story, three, give some context for that ACT score, and four, give a specific plan. If you do those four things and you use those resources I have in the description below, I promise you, you're going to hit a home run and your parents will thank you for it. Thanks.


TorchPrep Professional Development -

College and Career Readiness Benchmark -

How much is your ACT score worth? -


Make sure to check out the rest of our post to find even more ways to beat the ACT and reach your goals in the pursuit of college.  

Topics: Case Studies, ACT, College Night, College, Test Prep, Test, Prep, High School


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