Is the ACT Necessary?

At some point in your ACT journey, it’s normal to get frustrated. You might even throw up your hands and ask: Is the ACT necessary? Well, the ACT (or the SAT) is necessary to apply to the vast majority of colleges and scholarships in the United States. So for the moment, the short answer is yes!


Is the ACT Necessary? -Mgaoosh

Don’t let this be you.


But don’t let your frustration get you down! The fact that you’re taking the ACT is actually a good thing…

A Little History

Until about 100 years ago, if you wanted to go to college, you pretty much had to be rich. The college application process was as simple as, “Let’s see…this applicant comes from money…and his dad went here. He’s in!” Though good for a select few, most Americans couldn’t go to college.

Then a little thing called the Progressive Era happened. If someone wanted to work for the government, that person now had to take a test to prove that he or she (usually he, though) was smart enough for the job. Gone were the days when being someone’s cousin was enough to get a cushy job as postal inspector.

Colleges soon saw how this might make their student bodies smarter. By the 1920s, America’s Ivy League universities were giving the first standardized test to students. These early tests would eventually evolve into the SAT. After World War II, colleges across the nation threw open their doors to returning soldiers hoping to further their education for free or cheaply with GI Bill benefits. Thanks to the SAT and then ACT, the doors have stayed open ever since.

But How is the ACT Necessary for MY Success?

Let’s get right down to it. First of all, there is no perfect instrument to level the playing field for millions of high school students. That being said, let’s go through how the work you put in now for the ACT can help you later.

The first benefit is (hopefully) obvious: college admissions. Though colleges are beginning to move towards a more holistic, or well rounded, approach to admissions, ACT (or SAT) scores are still key for getting in to most competitive schools.

The second benefit is that a high ACT score will make you eligible for many scholarship opportunities. With the price of college skyrocketing over the last few decades, every scholarship dollar you earn means less, or even no, debt in your future. In short, your future self will thank you if you apply yourself now.

Final Thoughts

I truly understand how frustrating the ACT can become. But don’t let temporary frustration make you lose sight of your post-high school goals! And for now, the ACT is still one of the few keys that will unlock your future as a college student. In the interim, why not blow off some steam with Nine YouTube Videos That Will Help You Destress?


  • Thomas Broderick

    Thomas spent four years teaching high school English, social studies, and ACT preparation in Middle Tennessee. Now living in Northern California, he is excited to share his knowledge and experience with Magoosh's readers. In his spare time Thomas enjoys writing short fiction and hiking in the Sonoma foothills.

By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!

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