Real Deal Champions

This article is written by Jillian Mills, Community Partnerships AmeriCorps Member. As part of her role, Jillian organized four practice ACT exams for high school juniors, as well as the Real Deal ACT. Here’s her recap on what went into a successful testing day!


Hundreds of bagels, granola bars, bananas and oranges.

More than 300 local and statewide junior high school students.

49 College Possible team members.

Eight months of coaching and preparation.

Eight emergency driving teams.

Seven official ACT test sites.

Four practice ACTs.

One, three and a half hour test: THE REAL DEAL ACT.

The ACT could knock an unsuspecting student down with its sheer intensity. The test demands students’ time and focus early in the morning, and it asks them to conquer feats that seem nearly undefeatable. (Is it really possible to solve 60 math problems in 60 minutes?) Nevertheless, College Possible students seemed prepared, maybe even excited, to face the force that is the Real Deal ACT.

Some students had already arrived at their testing sites by the time College Possible staff reached the schools at 6:30 a.m. to set up our check-in stations and a breakfast buffet. At 6:45 a.m., emergency drivers and navigators had arrived to their assigned stations, situated in student neighborhoods so drivers could easily pick up a student whose test-day transportation plan had fallen through.

By 7:30 a.m., most students had arrived at their test sites and eaten breakfast. Just before students started lining up for the official ACT check-in, junior coaches gave their students an encouraging and inspirational pre-test speech, which created a collective buzz of energy and excitement that worked its way through the crowd of students.

After months of preparation and four practice ACTs, the Real Deal test day had quickly arrived, and students were ready. With confidence and nervous excitement, the students marched into their test sites and faced the Real Deal ACT.

There is something so energizing about being a part of a team, even at six o’clock in the morning. To see students supporting one another and, behind them, a team of College Possible staff cheering them on… it is beautiful!

Today, the Real Deal ACT is far behind those students. The test, which had been built up for the entire year, is over. The networks of support that the students and coaches have built, however, are stronger than ever.

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