The library is a main study space on CUW's campus.

This year’s average ACT score was the lowest it’s been in three decades. If you’re a member of the graduating Class of 2022, here are some suggestions to help you get proactive about your lagging ACT score.

You may have seen the headlines. In fact, you may be among the students being featured…

If you’re a member of the graduating Class of 2022, don’t fret. Instead, it’s time to demonstrate your hustle and get proactive about your lagging ACT score.

Here are a few practical tips to help you along your way.

RELATED: Fox6 news visited Concordia’s campus to learn how one college is responding to the drop in standardized test scores

Before you decide on a college…

1. Don’t panic; consider a school’s admission criteria.

First off, you need to know that college admission teams look at more than just that one test score. In fact, multiple studies have found that there are even bigger indicators of student success than the ACT – like a student’s high school GPA. That’s part of the reason why, in 2019, Concordia decided to waive the ACT requirement for admission.

Instead, CUWAA began utilizing self-directed inventories and other short tests to determine which classes are the best fit for each individual student during their first year. This also helps ensure you’re getting plugged into the proper resources and support systems within our university. Ultimately, we want to get some kind of indication of where you’re starting so that you can be successful and get the most out of your Concordia experience.

2. Apply to a school with a low professor to student ratio.

One of the main advantages of attending a “small school” is the personalized attention you’re sure to get from professors, advisors, and other important support staff on campus. This kind of attention is especially important if you’re someone who might need a little extra support, academically speaking. 

With an overall enrollment of 5,192, CUW isn’t exactly a small school, but we’re able to blend the best of both environments: a small-school environment paired with big-school opportunities. We’re intentional about keeping our class sizes small despite our robust program offerings. Our faculty to student ratio is 11:1, and our average class size is 16.

Plus, our professors will attest that they’re at Concordia for the most important reason of all: you! Believe us when we say our expert faculty could easily find jobs within their disciplines with a much higher paycheck, but they’re quick to share that they are committed to Concordia because they love what they do, they care about students, and they’re committed to the mission of our university.

3. Don’t get stuck in the remedial education trap.

Make sure you don’t spend a lot of extra time and money on your degree just because the college you’re considering hasn’t caught up on the research! If you haven’t heard of the remedial education trap, here’s a bit of background:

There’s been a long-enduring practice within higher education where schools require students to enroll in remedial courses if they don’t achieve a high enough score on entrance exams. The goal is to help students “close the knowledge gap” and help them get up to speed with the level of rigor of the college classes they’ll eventually take. The problem: these remedial courses often don’t count as credits toward their major, and evidence shows that they don’t actually help students improve!

At Concordia, we won’t make you take a bunch of remedial-level courses that will only end up unnecessarily prolonging your time at our university and costing you more money. Instead, there are courses you may opt into that are designed to provide interventional support at the time you need it, instead of letting an ACT score determine a particular track you should be on.

Once you enroll…

4. Get plugged into the ARC (Academic Resource Center) early

Instead of remedial courses that you’re required to take in lieu of core classes, check to see what kind of “bridge” programs the college in question offers. Summer bridge programs are relatively new (Concordia piloted its program last summer). They’re designed specifically for the student who needs a little extra help transitioning from high school to the rigor of college.

Concordia’s First-Year Bridge Program is strategically timed to take place prior to the start of classes, in conjunction with orientation, so as not to conflict with core classes.  Plus, it comes at no extra cost to the learner. The program involves an orientation session, followed by biweekly personal, academic, and financial-aid support and counseling meetings throughout your first semester.

Concordia’s ARC provides a ton of free services beyond the bridge program, too. The ARC offers academic services and accessibility services, as well as additional resources in areas such as:

5. Find your study buddies

Professors are generally pretty good about making themselves available to you for support or feedback, but their on-campus hours are also limited. Instead, don’t delay in making friends with some of the peers who continue to show up in the same classrooms as you. There’s nothing more useful than having a late-night study buddy or likeminded learner to remind you of important deadlines. 

If you want to cut straight to the chase, Concordia has a program full of pre-vetted academic coaches and tutors for you to utilize. In fact, our peer academic coaching/tutoring program, offered by our ARC, is one of the most widely used academic services at Concordia. The peer academic coaching/tutoring program is equally great for students who have fallen far behind as it is for those who want to raise their Bs to As. And our peer academic coaches’ usefulness goes beyond straight academics; they’ll help you with things like stress management, motivation, goal setting, and overcoming test anxiety. 

You can learn more about it here.

6. Take care of your emotional health

It’s no secret that people’s mental health took a hit amid the pandemic, and studies show that there’s a strong correlation between mental health and academic success. That’s why Concordia has taken seriously the responsibility of caring for our students’ emotional health. In fact, our expansive and proactive approach earned us a write-up in The Washington Post.

Among our offerings:

  • Concordia is the only university in the state to offer a SMART Lab.
  • We were the first known university in the nation to pilot a comfort dog program on campus.
  • Within the past year, we’ve introduced a new, unique triage service to improve efficiency and allow our professionals to respond to urgent matters more quickly.

In short, Concordia is not afraid to innovate for the benefit of students’ emotional wellbeing.

Want in?

You still have time to earn a $1,000 Visit Scholarship from Concordia University Wisconsin. Click on the link below to schedule your visit.