How to Get Full Ride Scholarships with SAT Scores

By now students probably know all about the new SAT for 2016, which features an optional essay and a lot of other content changes. The scoring will change, too: the test will switch to a 1600 point scale, with an additional essay score, instead of the current 2400 point system inclusive of the essay. Some students may not realize that SAT scores can automatically guarantee full ride scholarships at colleges, so read on for more information!

How to Get Full Ride Scholarships

Full ride scholarships based only on SAT scores may seem a little too good to be true, but they are real. Not every college has these scholarships, but many large state schools and a few liberal arts schools offer automatic scholarships.

In general, students do not need to apply for these scholarships separately. In addition to information on the Common App and whatever supplemental essays a student provides, the school will look at SAT scores, class rank, GPA, etc. For students above certain cutoff scores, a scholarship gets automatically added to any acceptance packages offered.

No Extra Application for Full Tuition scholarships

Since there is no extra application for full tuition scholarships, students do not need to worry about more forms to complete or essays to write. However, there can be priority deadlines for full scholarships, so it’s best to apply early once SAT scores start coming in.

In State vs Out of State Scholarships

While there are some private colleges which have guaranteed full ride scholarships, most of these full tuition scholarships come from public schools. For these large universities, tuition is cheaper for in-state students and more expensive for out-of-state students, so guaranteed scholarships tend to be larger for out-of-state students. Since the housing and tuition is more expensive for out-of-state students, the larger scholarship helps balance out the difference.

What SAT Scores Get Scholarships?

Every school has its own cutoff ranges for full scholarships, which makes it hard to find a one-size-fits-all score. A good way for students to check is by visiting potential colleges’ admissions pages, because these resources tend to list possible scholarships for applicants. Interested students should compare their SAT scores to listed scholarships and see how the total tuition changes.

Depending on the school, scores of anywhere from 1050-1250 can become eligible for the lowest scholarship tier, while scores ranging in the 1300s and up get more and more of a tuition discount. A strong SAT score combined with high class rank and a solid GPA can knock thousands off of tuition at a public school, and even more for some private colleges.

What to do if you don't get a full ride?

A full ride scholarship can make a big difference since tuition prices are so high at many schools. Some of the most expensive private colleges have a $50,000-plus price tag. If you don’t get a scholarship that pays for your full tuition, your best bet is to try to figure out how the quality of education relates to the cost of a particular college. It will also help to know how many students are getting need-based aid and how much of the price this type of aid covers. Sound difficult? We know it is, but to help you start the process, check out the following infographic from US News. 

Even though choosing a college and completing college applications may seem far ahead in the future, the potential savings thanks to a strong SAT score can start now. Full ride scholarships are just one more reason why students should take their SAT test prep seriously and work toward their best possible score.