Financial Benefits of a Good ACT or SAT Score
Many of our students do serious SAT Prep for the financial benefit. Colleges can and do offer large awards to students who are admitted with credentials well above those of their average admittee. For these awards, the SAT is often more important than the GPA.
Many colleges make the award automatic based on a combination of SAT (or ACT) and GPA. Merit-based scholarships range from $500 to $200,000. Our students seeking scholarships report an average award exceeding $70,000 over four years.
Usually, it’s the parents reporting this; parents are the ones who are elated. Especially if a family is in a high tax bracket, $70,000 saved is nearly $100,000 earned. Some scholarships are restricted to students in special categories: ethnic, racial, or geographic (in-state applicants for a state university). As one father said upon learning this: “if I work really hard for 4 years, I MIGHT earn an extra $100,000; but you’re saying my KID can work hard for four months and get us the equivalent of $100,000 with scholarships — this is a no-brainer!”
We have long said that “early-and-often” testing is sensible for admissions; now it is sensible for aid as well. And here the test deadlines are later: SAT scores from March of senior year and ACT scores from April of Senior year will likely come into play for award determinations.
Note – merit awards rarely come into play for top-25 colleges, and they come less into play when applying Early Decision.