My brother took it starting in 7th grade. I think he took it 3 times and the SAT 2. He chose to do that. It wasn't a high pressure thing! Some kids actually find it fun to see if they can do better the next time. That said, I don't think he got scholarships for undergrad and his grad school is work-study funded. But it's not inherently high pressure to take the tests multiple times.
You said, "I mean, unless people without near perfect academic records shouldn't go to college, or if you think its the author's fault her children won't qualify for a scholarship?"
What? I think anyone that wants to go to college should go. If they don't have the grades or scores to get scholarships, they should pay for it. Most of the colleges that my dd applied to offer scholarships to kids starting w/ an ACT score of 23 (36 is perfect) and a GPA of 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale). That criteria is just above the national average for ACT score. To keep the scholarships, most colleges require a 2.5-3.0 average. That's just above average too. State schools are a little harder (because they have more people applying for them) than private schools to get scholarships. Saying that scholarships are "HARD to come by," only deters others from looking into it. I think people should start looking when their kids are in 8th grade, at what the requirements are for each school. Kids have a better chance when they know what they're up against. Most kids in gifted programs start taking the ACT in 7th grade. The great thing about the ACT is, the student only has to mail in their highest score. Many of the kids w/ perfect ACT scores have taken the ACT 5 times before graduation. I, in no way, fault the author for her sons grades or ACT scores. I also don't think the author should blame anyone (including her ex) for her sons not having money for college. Her sons can work, at a job, and pay for it. It wouldn't be wise for them to take out $100,000 in loans either. EEK, I don't know who would do that; unless it was for medical school (or some other job making six figures).
OK this is totally off topic (and really this whole discussion about her specific situation is pointless in the face of her premise) but I an honestly say I would never ever in a million years make my kid start taking the ACT in seventh grade. I took it once lol.Putting that kind of academic pressure on a kid that young is sick imo. Plus it assumes that there are only certain colleges that matter (or that college is the only acceptable path). I've seen way too many kids self destruct under that kind of pressure. Its not worth it.