ASPIRE (ACT Supplemental Preparation in Rural Education) is designed to bridge deficits in rural high school students’ performance on the ACT College Entrance Examination in order to increase the number of students pursuing higher education.


Traditional CALS agriculture departments are struggling to recruit, admit, and retain students interested in pursuing bachelor’s degrees.

Rural high school students with an interest in pursuing careers in North Carolina agriculture are often not successful in gaining admissions to 4-year institutions offering agricultural degrees.

This is often due to their test scores on a college entrance examination.

As a high school student, preparing for a college entrance examination like the ACT can be pretty difficult.  Cooperative Extension Agents and public high school teachers have teamed up to offer courses in rural counties to prepare sophomores and juniors for the ACT College Entrance Examination through the ASPIRE program.

Why should I participate in ASPIRE?

By participating in an ASPIRE class, you will learn the latest tactics and strategies to improve your ACT score.

The program is open to rural high school sophomores and juniors and includes 30 hours of ACT course instruction where students will learn the skills they need to tackle the ACT.

Students also receive the Princeton Review ACT study manual, the Princeton Review 1,460 practice question manual, and access to 4 ACT full-length practice exams with score analysis and breakdown.

Questions? Contact Bianca Glaze, ASPIRE program coordinator:

SAT/ACT Average Scores in North Carolina Counties

Top 10 Livestock/Crop Producing Counties vs. Urban Counties

Below is a table depicting the average ACT and SAT scores for the top livestock and crop producing counties in North Carolina as they compare to those of Raleigh Charter High School, Chapel-Hill Carrboro City schools and Wake County schools (urban counterparts). All scores are compared to the NC State incoming freshman class average of Fall 2014.

On average, the top ten livestock and crop producing counties (a total of 15 counties within North Carolina) had a deficit of 328 points on the SAT and a deficient of 10.8 points on the ACT.

These counties bring in a great deal of money for North Carolina, yet their young adults are finding it increasingly difficult to further their education. Often, private standardized test preparation tools and tutors are luxuries that students in rural, economically distressed counties may not be able to afford. ASPIRE offers rural high school students a cost-effective way to increase their ACT scores and become more competitive when they apply to college.