How to Turn Your Top SAT/ACT Score into a Scholarship

Education is expensive. Collectively, Americans spent almost four hundred billion dollars in the 2010–2011 academic year alone and with college tuition only getting more expensive, you can just imagine what that number looks like today. So, when it comes to tutoring and test prep, the added expense might not seem so appealing. However, what you may not know is that earning that higher score on the SAT or ACT can actually pay for itself. Here’s how:

1. National Merit Scholarships

The National Merit Scholarship Program awards scholarships to the top PSAT scorers in each state. Every year, some 50,000 students are recognized and 7,500 are awarded one of three scholarships: a one-time payment of $2,500, a corporate-sponsored scholarship, or a college-sponsored scholarship. By listing a college as their top choice through National Merit, a finalist can be awarded up to a full-ride scholarship by that school if selected to attend. Baylor University, Drexel University, and the University of Mississippi are just some of the schools offering full-tuition scholarships through National Merit.

2. Automated Scholarships

There are many colleges that offer guaranteed scholarships to accepted students with exceptional test scores. The amount awarded differs from school to school, so be sure to check with the admissions office at any university to which you are considering applying. They should be able to tell you if there’s a deadline for consideration, as well as the amount offered per score range.

3. Outside Scholarships

Though outside scholarships may sometimes be designated for students accepted to a particular school, they are not awarded by the school and may require a separate application. There are many of these that are merit-based and focus on SAT or ACT scores. For example, the Flinn Foundation Scholarship awards a full-ride scholarship to Arizona residents who plan to attend one of the state’s public universities. A minimum score of 29 on the ACT or 1300 on the SAT is required to be considered. A quick google search can provide many more scholarship opportunities for top scoring students.

Improving your score on the SAT or ACT can be beneficial for many reasons, not least of which being the sense of pride our students always experience when their hard work pays off (check out our Student of the Month series for some success stories!). Receiving a higher score on an exam can take as little as six weeks of extra preparation and can result in thousands of dollars in scholarship money. Financial aid packages can also be increased based on merit (why wouldn’t you want as much free money as possible?). No matter the student, a little hard work and dedication to improving their score will always pay off.


By: Emily Sahli, Staff Writer, Curvebreakers

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