What I learned from taking the ACT a decade after high school graduation.

Guest blogger, Amy Zero, Senior Assistant Director of Admissions at Augustana shares (literally) inside scoop about the jungle that is standardized testing in the college search.

Jungle animals standing in front of a tree. Professor says: For A Fair Selection Everybody has to Take the Same Exam: Please Climb That Tree

Yep, that’s me– the big one in the middle.

viagra canada Or, at least I felt like it on April 13…

For all current and future students in graduate-level education programs, the State of Illinois recently passed a law requiring all of us to pass either the Test of Academic Proficiency (formerly the Basic Skills Test), ACT or SAT in order to earn our degrees.

The fact that I’ve taken the ACT in high school, the MCAT in college, and the GRE shortly after that is irrelevant. So, to save $250, I registered myself for the April ACT with writing.

No folks, that “writing” part did not exist for the OLCHS Class of 2002 (shout out to my fellow Spartans). And of course, everyone I mention this to laughs and laughs! The next comment is, without fail, “There’s no way you’ll get the scores you got in high school.” No kidding!

Regardless, I sharpened my #2 pencils, printed out my registration ticket, and marched into Mountain Vista High School on Saturday, April 13.

Taking this test made me realize a lot. I am 12 years older than the other students in my testing room. It’s been 11 years since I took math classes dealing the mnemonic SOHCAHTOA. I’m sure many of you are reading this now and criticizing my vocabulary and improper use of commas. Thank goodness my reading skills have improved with and since college.

My advice is this– yes, the ACT and SAT are important steps in your high school careers and college searches. But PLEASE remember that it’s not the only step! Especially at schools like Augie, we want to know who you are and what you can do, not how you fit into ACT and GPA percentiles.We’ve offered test-optional admission for years, and now I remember why: This test is not going to determine how well I perform in my graduate program, nor dictate my success as a higher education professional.

What I gained from this experience (beyond a checkmark for a state-mandated requirement) is that I am more than a percentile. Ultimately, the effort I put into my education is going to determine how successful a professional I am in the future.

Elephants unite,


PS – I know you are all wondering… Yes, I passed 😉

About meghancooley

Meghan Cooley has worked in admissions for over 15 years. She's served in a variety of roles, ranging from tour guide to admissions counselor to her most recent position as Director of Admissions and Recruitment. Through many admissions cycles - she's experienced the ebb and flow of the higher education landscape in the Midwest, become an expert on family dynamics within the college search, guided many through the details of the college search and witnessed the joy and disappointment of student college decisions.

Now, as the Director of Recruitment Communication and Manager of social media at Augustana College, Meghan and her team of talented students focus on marketing Augustana to prospective families, educating families about the college search process, and enhancing professional development opportunities in the profession. She is passionate about increasing diversity (socio-economic and ethnic) in private higher education, alleviating the fears and frustrations that often come with a college search (especially in first generation families), and above all, helping students find the best fit for them as they explore all the educational opportunities available.

Meghan often invites guest bloggers mostly including Augustana admissions staff and current students to contribute. The talented students and staff offer a perspective in the trenches of the college search and college experience.

A 1999 graduate of Augustana College, Meghan holds Bachelor's Degrees in English and Spanish. An avid international traveler, she recommends hiking the Inca Trail to Manchu Picchu in Peru, eating Gelato in Rome, Italy, and seeing an opera at the Volksoper in Vienna, Austria. She is married to Augustana graduate and Modern Woodmen project manager, Luke Cooley. They have three sons, Charles, Oliver and Bennett.

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