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College Means 1, 2, 4, or More!

The release of the ACT report on the latest group of Utah seniors who participated in testing last year (original ACT report and State Office of Education News Release) prompts Utah Career and Technical Education to remind everyone that today’s definition of “college” includes 1-year (certification, etc.), 2-year (Associate degrees), 4-year (Bachelor’s degrees) or more (professional degrees).

More Utah students than ever before took the ACT last year and the average composite score held steady at 21.8. For those students who scored 21.8 or above, congratulations! For those who scored lower, here is some information to encourage you. 

1. Average ACT Scores of Freshman Classes at Utah’s Public Universities

First, for comparison’s sake, check out the ACT scores for the middle 50 percent of freshman admitted to a sampling of Utah public postsecondary schools:


Entrance Difficulty

ACT Score


Dixie State College



Snow College



University of Utah

Mod. Difficult


Utah State University

Mod. Difficult


Weber State University



In other words, there are many freshmen who have been admitted to Utah public universities with scores below 21.8. Even at Utah’s more competitive universities, 25 percent of incoming freshmen scored below 21. 

2. Your High School Grade Point Average (GPA)

“The best predictor of future performance is past performance.” A high cumulative (grade 9-12) GPA can help convince college admissions staff that you are bound for a successful college experience, even in the face of a low college entrance exam score. In fact, the “Admission Index” (a table formulated to predict how likely you are to be accepted to a particular college), the GPA is weighted more heavily than the ACT/SAT. Do your best in all your classes, and do everything you can to excel in those that interest and challenge you. 

3. Other Factors Important to College Success

Have you ever heard of “soft skills?” These are characteristics that are often listed by employers as important to success in the workplace. These very same characteristics contribute to your success in school, and help to predict college success. For example, 

  • Maximize your strengths and interests, and find ways to overcome weaknesses – both academic and personal. (In short, be aware of the range of characteristics you “bring to the table.”)
  • Be an active participant in the classroom and other school-related activities.
  • Make a commitment to learning new skills. Find ways to utilize your skills in school and beyond.
  • Make friends of all ages. This is a foundation of a healthy network of people who can support each other through the ups and downs of life!
  • Learn to manage your resources, not the least of which are your time and money. If you’re successfully managing your resources, managing the associated stress will be easy.
  • Know what “success” means to you and define the steps to get there.

Whether you’re headed for “1, 2, 4 or more,” best wishes for success in high school and beyond!


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