Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Economics and Finance

Committee Chair(s)

Devon Gorry


Devon Gorry


Dwight Israelsen


Jason Smith


Christopher Fawson


The primary purpose of this study is to assess the degree to which ACT scores and high school records predict success in college. I used large public university admission and graduation panel data in order to address the following questions: (1) Are high school records (class rank, high school grade point average (GPA), and Advanced Placement (AP) test credits) better predictors of college success than ACT scores, and which is the best predictor among high school records and ACT scores? (2) Is there any heterogeneity in these effects across race, sex and residency (state or non-state students)?

By answering these questions, this study can help college admissions departments improve their processes in order to select the best students who can succeed in college, and will benefit high school students and school counselors. High school students could focus on improving aspects that are helpful for their preparation to academic success in college. For example, students who do badly on their ACT English and Math can work harder to improve them. School advisors and counselors could use the results of this study to give practical and helpful suggestions to students so they may better prepare for college-level courses.

ACT English and ACT Math were the only significant predictors to college graduation. There was heterogeneity for these variables across race, sex and residency, but at different significance levels.



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