The Short Answer
In many cases, above 30 on the ACT is a good 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. 30+ is a great score, but scholarships can be available for students scoring in the mid-20s and higher—it just depends on which scholarships you’re applying for.
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.
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.