Did you know that the eligibility for merit aid scholarships are directly related to SAT and ACT scores? That's right, these scholarships do not take into account family income, only academic success. So preparing for the SAT or ACT test could actually generate money for college!
Most merit aid scholarships are based mainly on two factors: scores on the SAT or ACT test and GPA. In other words, these scholarships are given to students who have above average tests scores and GPAs compared to the other applicants and do not take family income into consideration.
Below is a list of selective colleges and universities that frequently offer these types of scholarships. If your GPA and SAT or ACT scores are in the top 25% of applicant pool, you have a good chance of being offered one. Why? These schools are giving you money in the hopes that you choose them over a competitor.
Still not sure of the differences between types of college scholarships? Read my overview on the role of merit aid scholarships in college admissions to educate yourself about this little understood aspect of college admissions.
Studying for the ACT and SAT not only helps to gain admission but also helps to gain lucrative merit aid scholarships. Even just a few points can make a difference, so don't forget to read my book recommendations for the best books for the ACT and best books for the SAT. Remember, most students will take the SAT or ACT test 2-3 times to attain the best score, so keep studying!
I regularly meet parents who are college-educated professionals, who know very little about the options for paying for college. Why? Some are under the assumption that financial aid only goes to lower income families (not true), that in-state colleges are always the least expensive option (not true) and that colleges never discount tuition (not true).
If the above description sounds like you, I highly recommend reading Carol Stack's The Financial Aid Handbook (I often assign this book to parent's for their homework) and/or Lyn O'Shaughnessy's The College Solution. Both of these books are excellent, especially for middle and upper-income parents feeling the financial squeeze of the possibility of paying full tuition.
Equally important is knowing which schools DO NOT offer merit aid. These colleges and universities that only offer "need-based" or income-based financial aid (in other words: no merit aid). Why do these colleges only offer "need-based financial aid"? Because these colleges (such as the Ivy League) do not need of "entice" students to attend the most highly selective colleges because many will gladly pay the tuition (remember, those that cannot not "afford" private college may still qualify for loans, grants, etc).
The Internet is a wonderful tool. We can all agree on that. Unfortunately, the Internet, like any other tool, has its risks if misused. Many individuals have seized upon the fears (and ignorance) of students and their families to hook them into fraudulent college scholarship scams. Read more about tips to avoid falling for a scholarship scam.
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