6 Factors That Can Affect ACT Scores

How-to-Improve-ACT-ScoresIt’s difficult to know whether or not something will make or break your college application. Should you take exclusively AP courses? Focus more on your personal essay? Take three lifestyle courses and cling tight to your 4.0? The reality is that, the most important factor comes down to what your dream school deems the most important factor.

However, one thing does remain true — your ACT score needs to be high enough to keep you out of the “no” pile. Here are six things that may factor into how well you’re scoring.

1. Sleep

We’ve all heard it before and we’re going to hear it again. Sleep impacts everything, especially your test scores. Cramming all night long will never be as beneficial to you as sleep will be. In a study performed by the ACT committee, students who slept 7-10 hours the night before retaking their ACT consistently scored one point higher than their previous test scores. Students who reported sleeping less than three hours saw only half of that improvement in their composite test scores.

 2. Breakfast

No doubt having a well-balanced breakfast is another tip you’ve already heard, but the same study done by the group at ACT found that students who ate breakfast before their retakes saw composite score improvements. Going into your test with a full stomach will allow you to focus less on finding a snack during your breaks, and more on the next section of the test.

3. Faster Internet

In a recently published study by High Speed Internet, a state’s internet speed showed a stronger correlation to ACT scores than household median income. The study also reveals that, on average, students who live in states with faster internet score higher than those who live in states with lower internet speeds. How’s that for new information?

 4. Positive Thinking

Many scholarly reports have been done on the power of positive thinking. It isn’t just a fluffy term your yoga instructor throws around. Thinking positive thoughts before you do anything, particularly take a big test, can impact how you end up performing. And on the opposite end of that, if you’re sure you’re going to fail, you probably will fail.

5. Reading

When Miami High School implemented a silent sustained reading program that required students to read for about an hour two times per week, students achieved steady gains in ACT reading scores. In fact, students raised their reading scores two points over four years. As a bonus, improving reading speeds and comprehension levels will allow you to work through all sections of the test faster and more efficiently.

6. Family Income

Research conducted by the ACT organization reveals that students from “low-income” families (defined as having a family income of less than $36,000 per year) don’t perform as well on the ACT as non-low-income families. Of the nearly 400,000 low-income students who took the ACT in 2012, only 10 percent met all four college readiness benchmarks in English, reading, math, and science, versus about 25 percent of non-low-income students meeting all four benchmarks.

My number one tip? After taking the ACT 4 times, I can say with surety that forcing yourself to stay calm and take the test one step at a time makes a tremendous impact. I once jumped 7 points in the science section by reading the questions one at a time and then referring back to the story—rather than reading the story first and then answering the questions. Like I said: one step at a time. You can do this!

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Holly King is a recently graduated writer living in Salt Lake City, UT. When not scouring the internet for updates in business, lifestyles and technology, she is tending to her garden and trying to perfect the world’s best egg sandwich.

image credit: oncampuscollegeplanning.com

Original Post Date: September 25th, 2014

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13 Scholarships Expiring in October


It’s finally fall! We know that a lot of you recently went back to school, so we wanted to remind you to keep filling out those scholarship applications! Here are 13 scholarships that are expiring in October. Don’t miss these great scholarship opportunities!

1. Build U Scholarship

Deadline: October 1      Award: $2,000
Must be majoring in product design, interaction design, engineering, or computer science

2. Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award

Deadline: October 1      Award: $10,000
Must be classical musicians, vocalists, and/or composers

3. Students with Heart Scholarship

Deadline: October 1      Award: $500 – $6,000
Must have cardiac disease or a cardiac deformity

4. Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

Deadline: October 7      Award: $3,000 – $8,000
Must be studying abroad

5. MyProjectorLamps Scholarship

Deadline: October 13      Award: $500
Must submit an essay on the use of multimedia and data visualization in the classroom

6. HotelsCheap General Scholarship for Higher Learning

Deadline: October 15      Award: $1,500
Must answer four personal, open-ended, and thought-provoking questions

7. Future Engineers Scholarship Program

Deadline: October 15      Award: $5,000
Must be majoring in engineering

8. National Collegiate Cancer Foundation Legacy Scholarship

Deadline: October 15      Award: $1,000
Must have lost a parent or guardian to cancer

9. CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program

Deadline: October 15      Award: $18,000
Must commit to working at the CIA in Washington, DC, on summer breaks and after college graduation

10. La Unidad Latina Foundation Scholarships

Deadline: October 15      Award: $250 – $1,000
Must be Hispanic students currently enrolled in an eligible degree program

11. Williams-Mystic/Joseph Conrad Ocean Essay Contest

Deadline: October 24      Award: $500
Must submit an essay on a given topic related to the ocean

12. Horatio Alger National Scholarship Program

Deadline: October 25      Award: $22,000
Must demonstrate critical financial need and have faced and overcome great obstacles

13. Coca-Cola Scholars Program Scholarship

Deadline: October 31      Award: $10,000 – $20,000
Must be current high school or homeschooled seniors

Find these and thousands more scholarships on Cappex!

image credit: news.ls.wisc.edu

Original Post Date: September 23rd, 2014

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Here’s Proof That Good Dorm Food Is Not an Oxymoron

You’ve got all your college catalogs and literature in one neat stack. You’ve tentatively started your list of top college choices. As you stare at your list, a nagging question keeps replaying over and over in your mind:

Sure, it’s got a great computer science program, but how’s the food?

It’s not a frivolous question. You’ll be in dining halls quite a bit during college much more than you may realize. Why spend that time wrinkling your nose at food options, while planning to blow more money on a vending machine sandwich or a nearby food truck? There are certain dining halls in this country that could double as a four-star restaurant. But where to find them?

Look no further for the real scoop on good eats. Check out our brand new 2015 Cappies™.


The Cappies™ are a compilation of more than a million student reviews of over 2,000 U.S. colleges. These students haven’t been shy when it comes to what is the best college food, and The Cappies™ have taken this feedback and created a list of the top 25 schools when it comes to delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

You can find the full list here. No limp, “wiltey” lettuce or strange odors will be found anywhere. But if lobster rolls, organic gardens with fresh produce, and vegetarian food options are your thing, by all means read on!

Best College Food is just one category that The Cappies™ will cover. We’ll also announce student rankings for the following categories: Campus Safety, Bang For The Buck, Academic Rigor, Clubs And Activities, and Dorm Life. Stay tuned for announcements soon.

In the meantime, happy reading ­and happy eating!

Original Post Date: September 18th, 2014

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