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ACT Report Reveals Enrollment Trends for Test Takers

A new report from the Iowa City-based testing organization ACT gives a snapshot of what students are doing after they take the college entrance exam.

Highlights from the College Choice Report enrollment section released Tuesday include:

• Students with higher ACT scores are more likely to attend a college farther from their home than those with lower scores. For those who earned an ACT composite score of 28 to 36 (with 36 being the highest score possible), the median distance from home to college was more than 113 miles, while it was less than 50 miles for those who scored below 24. Also, the greater the level of education of the student's parents, the farther the students traveled to attend college.

The reason: ACT officials suggest that better educated parents have more money and information about the college process to broaden their students' application options.

• More ACT test-takers head to public four-year colleges (54 percent) than other types of schools. About 22 percent attended a private four-year college and 24 percent attended a two-year college. Among college-enrolled students who took the ACT, 73 percent who preferred a 2-year college ended up going to that type of school. Another 63 percent with a public 4-year college preference and 56 percent with a private 4-year college preference attend a college that matched their preferred type. As participation the ACT increases, the report found that so does the percent of students who are opting for a 2-year school as their top choice.

• Of the students who took the ACT in the graduating class of 2012 and enrolled in college, 22 percent attend an out-of-state college and 78 percent go in-state. About 90 percent of those students with an in-state college preference and 52 percent with an out-of-state college preference enrolled at a college that matched their preference.

In response to the key findings of the report, ACT offers a number of recommendations, including having college admissions personnel use the students' college preferences to develop marketing messages that reinforce enrollment preferences fitting the characteristics of the college.

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