The Different Benefits of a Higher ACT / SAT Score

Why do you want higher ACT or SAT test scores?

Flickr user waferboard

It’s always recommended that you set aside study time for the ACT and SAT to earn a higher score, but why? Why aim higher than your intended college’s average score? Well, there are actually plenty of benefits to having higher ACT and SAT test scores.

Better Acceptance Odds

One of the most obvious benefits of higher ACT or SAT test scores is that it increases your acceptance odds. Most colleges have a range they’re looking for in these exams, but higher is always better. If you score on the low end of the accepted range, it could put you at a disadvantage against another applicant who has a similar high school GPA, extracurricular activities, and essay. This could very well place you at the cutoff and the student who has the higher score is accepted, while you’re either declined or wait-listed.

The range schools request for is just that: a range. Higher scores are always better when it comes to showing your talents to the admissions department. “Good enough” may not be good enough to get you into your dream school. Some colleges actually receive so many admissions that if your score is too low, you’re automatically declined.

Scholarships and Grants

Many students don’t realize that higher SAT or ACT scores can actually lead to scholarships or grants from the college. Merit-based scholarships can be granted based on your GPA or SAT / ACT scores. Higher test scores could result in significantly lower tuition or even a full ride.

It’s also worth mentioning here that it’s recommended you take the PSAT in your junior year of high school. Not only will it give you plenty of practice for the real exam next year, but it also gives you the chance of receiving the National Merit Scholarship.

Students should also use local resources and online scholarship databases to see if there are any ACT or SAT-based awards they may qualify for.

Honors Programs

Some schools also have honors programs that require high ACT or SAT scores. These can give you access to tools and events that other students don’t have. For example, if you are in the top 10% of applicants for Canisius College, you may be asked to join the All-College Honors Program. This program takes both your high school grades and test scores into account. Some of the perks include field trips, access to Honors only courses, and separate housing with social events. These students are also eligible for several awards.

These are three great reasons you shouldn’t take a lax attitude towards your ACT or SAT exams. Higher scores can result in big differences for your academic future, finances, and even your potential career.

Want to see how your ACT / SAT scores affect your acceptance odds? Check out College Raptor’s free match tool to find out!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join thousands of students and parents learning about finding the right college, admissions secrets, scholarships, financial aid, and more.