Maximize your Scholarship Money & Get into the College of Your Choice
There are many ways to make yourself a better candidate for admissions and scholarships: focus on Early Decision / Early Action deadlines, recognize those schools that value Demonstrated Interest, take your resume to the next level by developing a Passion Project, prioritize your letters of recommendation, tap into the wisdom of your counselors, teachers, and alumni, maintain your GPA, etc.
In my experience, though, for the typical would-be collegian there is one unmatched tool for getting into college and maximizing scholarship money: up your score on the ACT or SAT. In fact, depending on your student's starting score, a 4-point increase on the ACT can increase your award by anywhere from $1,000 to over $38,000!
(See below for info on our ACT+4 program, which guarantees you a 4-point increase!)
Why is this the best tool?
Standardized tests are consistent, which can be a big advantage, both for admissions offices / scholarship committees and for students. Universities and committees may view a 3.75 GPA very differently for different students, depending on the student's school or course load, but "29" conveys a clear message to the person reviewing an application. So, showing a school/committee that you can excel on the ACT* may send a much more compelling message than other metrics on your resume. Further, because ACT is so consistent, students can "get to know the test" quickly and rapidly improve their scores. I consistently witness my students' "aha moments", and I have seen firsthand how much an ACT score can rise once a student understands the test.
*NOTE: I focus on ACT here, because ACT is much more popular in my home state of Oklahoma than SAT, but this is equally true for SAT.
Aren't most schools "test optional" now?
Schools? Yes. Scholarships? No.
Many schools have moved to test-optional admissions, and admissions officers tell me that they make no assumptions as to why a student might choose the test-optional path. Still, there is a reason I focus nearly 100% of my attention on helping students with standardized test scores. Even in the test optional age, a stellar ACT score will set you apart, because it serves as a clear indicator of your academic capabilities; perhaps more importantly, though, scholarship committees have not embraced "test optional" like school admissions offices have.
...scholarship committees have not embraced "test optional" like school admissions offices have.
The University of Oklahoma, for instance, offers guaranteed awards for students with high test scores while giving you the ominous "See below" as the award amount for Test-Optional Scholarships.
OU notes that "Scholarships also will be offered to test-optional students based on our holistic review of the application, with the highest weight given to academic rigor and high school performance." If your student is sitting with an ACT score in the low 20s today, he/she can either raise a test score by a few points and guarantee an award of $8,000 over four years or submit an application and hope that OU's "holistic review of the application" pays off. I think the choice is clear.
How to Guarantee Your 4-Point Increase
Test scores are so important that Heritage College Prep developed the "ACT +4" premium add-on program in 2021 which adds 6 hours of private 1:1 tutoring to any class and guarantees your student a 4-point increase for a $400 investment. To date, 100% of our ACT +4 students have raised their scores by at least 4 points. For students applying to OU or OSU, a 4-point increase is worth BIG dollars:
With the right tactics, you can excel on the ACT and get into the college of your choice. My program is designed to simplify a difficult test, enabling you to quickly improve your score and keep college affordable.
- Randy Biggs
Owner, Heritage College Prep
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