Does studying for the ACT or SAT pay?

Does studying for the ACT or SAT pay? It does at least when merit money is being considered. Colleges use many factors in determining whether a student will be accepted – geography, gender, strength of curriculum, GPA, race, community service, leadership opportunities.

High SAT or ACT can mean more free money.

Colleges use these same factors to then determine merit money for accepted students. Scores are probably the simplest — and most visual — measure to understand what colleges value. The chart to the left shows the breakdown at one ‘very selective’ southern college of ACT scores and what appears to be a sliding scale of merit money awarded to 6 different students. Students submitted ACT scores and received a range of merit amounts. The range of money attached to specific scores (SAT or ACT) for each college will vary. For this particular college, the cut-off seems to be a score of 31. For another less selective college, the cut-off would be lower, maybe a 28. For more selective colleges, the cut-off might be a 34. Bringing the score up a point or two might make the difference between a college being affordable for a family or not affordable.

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See College Sollutions' Margaret Bolton Baudinet on CBS News.