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Rachel Kapelke-Dale

What Is a Good ACT Score for Scholarships?

What’s a Good ACT Score for Scholarships?

The short answer? In many cases, above 30 is a good ACT score for scholarships.

The Long Answer

Ah, good for you, reading on! The long answer to this question is: which scholarship? At which school? Scoring above 30 puts you in the 90th percentile of ACT test-takers, which means that you’ve scored better than 90 out of every 100 students who take the exam (click to read more on ACT scores and score percentiles). 30+ is a great score, but scholarships can be available for students scoring in the mid-20s or even lower—it just depends on which scholarships you’re applying for.

Actually, you may be surprised at how much money you can get for those ACT points! We did a study of scholarships based on ACT scores, and here’s a sampling of what we found from across the ACT score spectrum.

Scholarships Available for Various ACT Scores

ACT ScoreScholarshipAmount Per YearFor More Information...
14+The AIEF [American Indian Education Foundation] Undergraduate Scholarship Program$2,000The AIEF Undergraduate Scholarship Program
15+King's Daughters Health Foundation Health Career Scholarship$2,500King's Daughters Health Foundation Health Career Scholarship
18+Hungry to Lead Scholarship$5,500Hungry to Lead
20+The Full Impact Foundation Scholarship Award$2,000The Full Impact Foundation Scholarship Award
21+CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program$18,000CIA Undergraduate Scholarship Program
24+Catch a Break! Scholarship Program$40,000Catch a Break
27+OCCACC Scholarship$20,000OCCACC Scholarship
29+ExxonMobil/LNESC Scholarship$20,000ExxonMobil/LNESC Scholarship
31+UM Missoula Presidential Leadership Scholarship$37,492UM Missoula Presidential Leadership Scholarship
32+University of Georgia Foundation Fellowship$19,458University of Georgia Foundation Fellowship

Big Caveat: Many of these scholarships have other qualifying criteria that you have to meet to receive them. These range from the common (state residency is a big one!) to the uncommon (uh…ever considered working for the CIA?).

Also, keep in mind that an ACT score isn’t always just one ACT score. Some scholarships will want to see particular subsection scores above certain points. For example, engineering scholarships may want your science scores to be in the top ten percentile (which is actually a 27), but not care so much about your scores on the English test. This varies so much by field, scholarship, and school, that you’ll definitely want to take a look at websites to make sure you’re eligible.

How Much?

Ah, down to brass tacks! It really depends. At Indiana University, you could get a couple hundred dollars—or a couple thousand, depending on your field of study, where you’re from, and your competition. Other schools might offer full rides: Baylor offers up to $41,996 a year (!) –that’s for a 36. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not rockin’ it Good Will Hunting style, though: even with a 29, you could be eligible for up to $37,996 a year at that same institution. At Emory University, with admissions rates at only 26%, a 31 on the ACT can still get you a $21,345 scholarship.

There are also a fair number of scholarships that you’ll get automatically with certain scores—that is, if you remember to apply! At Southeast Missouri State University, a 33 can get you free tuition and fees when you have a 3.9 GPA and are taking at least 30 credits. Granted, that’s tough; but that’s also a huge amount of money.

Even if you don’t think you’re eligible for scholarships, it doesn’t hurt to check…and double-check. With a GPA of 3.0 and a 24 ACT score (remember, the average is 21), you could still get up to $7,000 a year at Oklahoma State University. Get that score even higher—above 30—and you can get up to $12,500 a year.

A Final Note

Remember, scholarships—and average test scores—are changing all the time, so do your research before you spend hours writing a personal statement only to find that you’ve applied for funding only available to students from Togo studying Underwater Basket Weaving (unless you ARE a student from Togo studying Underwater Basket Weaving, in which case…congratulations!)

The bottom line is that there’s a lot of money out there, and you may be surprised to find out how much you’re eligible for. At the end of the day, it doesn’t hurt to go for it! Those dollars add up quickly in college, and that ACT score just may make all the difference.

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About Rachel Kapelke-Dale

Rachel is a TOEFL and SAT/ACT blogger at Magoosh. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University, an MA from the Université de Paris VII, and is currently a doctoral candidate at University College London. She has taught the TOEFL for six years, and worked with nearly 1,000 students in that time. Currently, Rachel divides her time between the US and London. When she’s not teaching or studying, she’s either riding (horses), or writing (fiction), a pair of activities that sound so similar that it confuses even native English speakers. Follow Rachel on Twitter, or learn more about her writing here!


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