As a reader of PCOG.org, there is a good chance that you already know you want to go Herbert W. Armstrong College. If you are a junior or senior in high school, there are a lot of things that can make the process smoother and your chances of success higher.
First of all, if you are thinking of applying for AC, get a copy of the AC Catalog as soon as you can. Perhaps you picked one up at the Feast last year; if not, you can request one from headquarters. Read the catalog. It tells you a lot about what to expect at AC and the things to think about as you apply. Don’t leave it to the last minute. You might find that you have forgotten something essential that will then delay your application.
Make sure you talk to your local minister or regional director about your desire to go to AC. Once your application is received, your minister or regional director will make a recommendation as to whether or not he thinks you should be accepted, or if perhaps you should wait a year. The ministerial recommendation is a big deal. Your regional director should know that you want to come to AC; the request for a ministerial recommendation shouldn’t be the first time he hears that you want to go to college.
Also, push yourself academically throughout high school. Have the vision to see that what you’re doing is more than just high school. If you only take the easy classes, you are hamstringing yourself in the future. AC is challenging academically, but it is completely doable if you are accustomed to working hard in school. If you are used to merely getting by or slacking off and getting only passing grades, you will struggle at AC. If you want to succeed at college, get in the habit of studying and working ahead, not procrastinating.
The act is a test like any other: You will do much better if you specifically prepare for it. The tool the college recommends is The Real ACT Prep Guide. Studying it carefully will significantly increase your score—so it is well worth the $15 or so the book will cost.
Don’t leave the act until the last minute. One of the admissions office’s biggest pieces of advice is to take the act early—in junior year of high school, if possible. If that’s not possible, get it done as soon as you can. The minimum score for admittance to AC, in most cases, is 19—and that means a 19 minimum score on each section as well as on the composite score. We recommend taking the act instead of the sat (as do most colleges); the act measures more types of ability and skills and is more focused on college preparation.
If you take the act in your junior year of high school, that leaves you plenty of time to retake it if you do not get the required score or want to improve your score. Probably more often than you would think, people have to wait for quite a while after everyone else to find out if they are accepted or rejected because they haven’t gotten their act scores back yet. Keep in mind that it takes a little while for the scores to be computed, as well. If you have questions about how to arrange testing in your area—particularly if it is hard to find a test date that is not on a Saturday—e-mail the Office of Admissions (firstname.lastname@example.org). You will receive an e-mail with a lot of helpful information in it which will also show you how to schedule for arranged testing.
Scores can be sent directly to the college if you use the school I.D. codes, which can be found in the AC Catalog.
High School Transcript
Have all of your transcripts and test scores sent to AC. This will speed up the application process.
AC requires a certain number of credit hours in certain high school subjects; a list with the details on that is below. Ensuring you have the right number of credits requires that you start thinking about this part of applying when you start high school. If you are a teenager and you’re thinking of applying to AC in a couple years, make sure you familiarize yourself with the required credits so you aren’t caught by surprise in your senior year.
If you did not graduate from high school but have passed the General Educational Development (ged) test with a score of 410 or higher on each test and an average score of 450 for all five, that is acceptable as well. If you are in this category, you must still have passed the act with the required score of 19 on each test and cumulatively. Also, if a high school transcript is available, that is required as well.
REQUIRED HIGH SCHOOL COURSES
English (Grammar, Composition, Literature)
Lab Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics or any lab science certified by the school district; General Science with or without a lab may not be used to meet this requirement.)
Mathematics (from Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Trigonometry, Math Analysis, Calculus)
History and Citizenship Skills (including 1 unit of American History, 1⁄2 unit of U.S. Government, 1⁄2 unit of State History and 1 unit from the subjects of History, Government, Geography, Economics, Civics or non-Western culture)
Foreign Language or Computer Technology (two units of Foreign Language or two units of computer technology courses)
Additional (from previously listed subjects or career courses)
If you have attended a college previously or are currently enrolled, make sure to send in your college transcript. A minimum of 12 credit hours is required, with a minimum 2.5 cumulative gpa; if you meet those requirements, it will be accepted in lieu of the act. You don’t have to send in act scores if you’ve attended college already and fit the academic requirements pertaining to that. That applies for both international and domestic students.
International students who speak English as their second language will have to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (toefl), which tests English-language proficiency. You can take either a paper-based or web-based version of the test. For the paper-based test, applicants must receive a minimum score of 500; if you take the online version instead, the minimum score is 61. Once again, you can send your score directly to AC via the college code that can be found in the AC Catalog.
Along with your application form, you must also include a typed 1,800-to-2,500-word autobiography. This autobiography helps the admission staff get to know you and also provides a good sample of your writing ability. This autobiography doesn’t have to be an “I was born on this day; I went to school at age 6; I have moved four times” kind of essay; consider making it more interesting. The catalog suggests answering any or all of these questions: “Which people have had the most influence in shaping your life and why? What have been your most significant turning points or important lessons you have experienced? What is your history with the Church of God? Why do you want to attend AC?”
Don’t just brush off the autobiography; it’s actually a very important part of your application. If you turn in an essay that is full of errors and typos and was clearly written in three hours the night before the application is due, that shows an attitude toward coming to AC that is not exactly positive. Putting in the effort to create a good autobiography shows that you truly want to come.
If you are reapplying, an amendment to your original autobiography is fine. It should be 1,000-1,500 words and should cover what has happened in your life since you last applied to AC.
The deadline for sending in your application to AC is December 31. Make sure you have sent your completed application, your autobiography, and your check for the $15 application fee by the 31st. Now, that doesn’t mean that you have to send it in on the 31st; consider starting as early as you can so that it’s not a rush right before the deadline. Keep in mind, if you have previously applied, you do not need to resubmit transcripts and test scores if your results are unchanged.
If you have any further questions about any of this, feel free to consult your AC Catalog or e-mail the office of admissions for further information.