4 minute read
We get it. There’s not much fun about taking the SAT and ACT. In our last two blogs (where we talked about the current and future landscape of test-optional admission and what students need to know), we explained that although many schools are embracing test-optional policies, students shouldn’t skip taking the SAT and ACT altogether. Taking one or both tests allows students to be prepared with scores and then choose which colleges they’ll submit scores to and which they’ll hold off on. Students may feel differently about this decision, but there’s one thing that all college hopefuls can agree on:
College costs money. A lot of money.
In December 2021, 45 million borrowers (students) owed $1.7 trillion in student loans. (For context – a million seconds is about 11.5 days. A billion seconds is about 32 years. A trillion seconds is about 32,000 years. That’s a lot of dollars.)
Each student and their family will find a slightly different way to pay for college – through loans, savings, jobs, a secret trust fund from an estranged relative (fingers crossed), etc. On top of these options, students also may apply for scholarships to help a little or a lot with college-related costs.
Scholarships are given for endless unique reasons, ranging from desired field of study to current hobbies, ancestry to musical talent, and location to artistic skills. Just like in college applications, scholarship entries use standardized testing scores as a consideration to choose recipients. Here are some types of scholarships that look at SAT and ACT scores:
- Some colleges offer scholarships if students meet certain criteria – like achieving above a specific test score. For example, Colorado State University – Pueblo awards automatic merit scholarships to first-time freshmen who meet two of three minimum academic requirements (SAT/ACT score, weighted GPA, and/or class rank). Students can search for other colleges that offer freshman scholarships for SAT and ACT scores.
- Scholarship websites like Scholarships.com help students find scholarships that match their SAT and ACT scores. Students can visit this page for SAT scores and this page for ACT scores and click on the score range that best matches their current results (or their goal results for their next test date). They can then read the specifications of each scholarship listed to see if they should apply.
- (This one is slightly different because it concerns the PSAT, but it’s the same concept.) The National Merit Scholarship Program uses the PSAT/NMSQT score to qualify students for potential funds from the National Merit Scholarship Program. Students don’t even have to worry about applying – their scores are automatically considered.
Many scholarships have specific requirements that are relatively permanent – about students’ locations, high schools, fields of study, extracurricular abilities, etc. Fortunately, SAT and ACT scores are a unique case in which students can improve their scores and increase their scholarship opportunities.
For high schoolers, it’s never too early to start wading into the pre-college steps: searching for possible school choices, preparing for and taking SATs and ACTs, and exploring the world of scholarships. There are a lot of components involved in college applications, and starting early makes the experience much less overwhelming – and perhaps even enjoyable.
Students should register for one of our live, virtual or in-person SAT or ACT classes to give themselves the best chance of achieving scores that impress scholarship programs. Don’t leave possible cash on the table by skipping valuable – and affordable – standardized test prep!
Read more about the test-optional world in our blogs, “Test-Optional: What Does It Mean for You?” and “What is This Test-Optional Thing and What Do I Need to Know?”.