Students who graduated from high school in 2021 engaged in activities to prepare for college, but some students missed out on key experiences, according to a new survey by ACT being released today.
ACT surveyed thousands of students who took its test and graduated last year; 2,354 are included in the results. ACT published a report on the results, along with the survey.
The students answered questions about seven activities that generally are considered part of preparedness to go to college. For each of the activities, the students could answer “Yes,” “No, but they planned to before the pandemic” or “No, and they hadn’t planned to.” “Yes” was the most popular answer over all, but the second most popular was “No, and they hadn’t planned to.”
|Activity||Yes||No, but they planned to before the pandemic||No, and they had no plans to|
|Visited a college campus||67%||20%||13%|
|Attended a college fair to learn about specific colleges||45%||19%||37%|
|Participated in Free Application for Federal Student Aid workshop||39%||13%||49%|
|Talked with a teacher, counselor or college representative about applying to a specific college or colleges||73%||9%||18%|
|Talked with a teacher, counselor, or college representative about applying for financial aid||65%||11%||25%|
|Talked with a teacher, counselor, or college representative about which college major might be a good fit||57%||11%||32%|
|Talked with a college representative who visited their high school||44%||15%||41%|
The percentage of students who didn’t visit a campus or attend a college fair—two activities that usually attract many students—and who said they would have done so but for the pandemic, was particularly high, the report noted.
“The more in-person learning a student had, the lower the number of plans disrupted by the pandemic, after we held other variables constant,” the report said. “Students who had more in-person learning might have experienced fewer changes in school, with support from teachers and counselors and the availability of in-person events in school or the school district.”
The report also noted that, “after controlling for other variables, taking college credit courses increased the chance of participating in five out of the seven college preparation activities, including visiting a college campus, talking with a college representative who visited their high school, and talking with a teacher, counselor, or college representative about applying to a specific college or colleges, about applying for financial aid, and about which college major might be a good fit.”
Further, the report found that Black students “were more likely to participate in six out of the seven college preparation activities (except for the activity of visiting a college campus), when we held other variables constant. Black students’ engagement in these activities did not appear to be disrupted by the pandemic.”
But students from low-income family backgrounds, Latinx students and Asian students were more likely to report higher numbers of activities that were disrupted by the pandemic.