High Scores Mean More Than Acceptance Letters

Need some more incentive to study for your SAT? NextStepU is here to tell you how good SAT scores can help you land a scholarship, and potentially save you thousands of dollars in student loans.

Standardized tests are becoming less important to the admissions process. More colleges are realizing that a student’s academic success cannot be boiled down to a mere test score. However, that does not mean that standardized tests will become extinct in the near future. They are still a very important part of your application. Test scores are more apt to determine the type of scholarship you are offered at a prospective school.

High SAT or ACT scores can give you an edge. You will stand out from the crowd if you have straight A’s, extracurricular activities, and decent test scores on your transcript. This shows admissions counselors that you are smart, and you are also willing to work hard on academics that are separate from school. You are proving to them that you carved out special time to study for the tests, took prep classes or worked on practice tests. As corny as it sounds, high standardized test scores demonstrate that you went the extra mile. It will definitely pay off if the financial aid department gives you a scholarship worthy of your hard work.

So what does this mean? I’m not saying that you will receive zero scholarship dollars if you have a high GPA with a less-than-stellar SAT score. I’m saying that the scholarship will probably not be the highest amount the college is willing to shell out.

Conversely, if you push yourself to study hard and ace the SAT or ACT, that bottom line will look a whole lot better to you and your parents. Often, a college will offer different levels/amounts of scholarship money. If you take a prep class and get a good SAT score, that is potentially thousands of extra dollars for you each semester. In most cases, the higher the standardized test score, the better the scholarship will be.

Long story short: a poor SAT score will probably not determine an admissions office’s decision to accept you. However, there is a strong possibility that you will not get as much financial aid as possible. While getting into college might seem like the most important thing right now, paying for college is just as significant. And I’m sure you won’t want to say no to your first-choice college just because they didn’t give you as much scholarship money as possible. So do yourself a favor and study hard for the SAT and/or ACT. You will be happy you did when you get your financial aid package.

Written by Rachel Montpelier. Rachel is a senior at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y. and is the editorial assistant at NextStepU.

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