The Huge Financial Rewards of SAT® PrepOctober 18, 2017, 11:15 AM
Everyone is aware of the high cost of college. Students and parents can be especially tempted to “save” money by convincing themselves that “smart” students can prep themselves for the SAT®. Fight this urge with all your might. Underestimating the financial payoff that comes from investing in SAT® prep is one of the biggest mistakes that students and parents make in the college planning process.
How Investing in SAT® Prep Creates Long Term Financial Gains
Excited about the possibilities? Below I listed several ways that prepping for the SAT® (and that means not just buying a book and flipping through the pages). Want to save even more? Combine several of the strategies listed below.
Reason #1: Merit Aid is a Financial Powerhouse
Most colleges these days offer non-need scholarships, often referred to as “merit aid”. This means that the scholarships are awarded not based on a family’s economic need but on the student’s “merit”, which is almost always determined from GPA and test scores. Why these factors? Because colleges use merit aid to recruit high-achieving students who may have multiple offers from other colleges. What’s even better is that these awards are often in the form of significant tuition reductions, from $5000 to $25,000 per year!
If you receive merit aid for multiple years, which is not uncommon, the financial payoff quadruples. If someone said to you, if you give me $499, I promise to save you $5000-25,000 within one year, and wait, how about $20,000-125,000 over the next four years, wouldn’t you jump at the chance! Since most colleges don’t advertise these types of scholarships (or the fact that SAT®/ACT scores play a huge role) many students and parents often mistakenly skip investing in test prep to “save” money. But you are too “smart” to do that!
At Kranse, we love to hear stories about students who not only raised their test scores but also saved tons of merit aid money as a result of these score increases.
Reason #2: Higher SAT® Scores Correlate with Higher Post-Graduate Earnings
Now here’s even better news. Setting yourself up for merit aid by increasing your SAT® scores will also brighten your long term financial picture. In this study, which we wrote about earlier this year, researchers found that students with higher SAT® scores graduated with less student debt. The study also found a correlation between higher SAT® scores and higher post-graduate earnings. This makes prepping for the SAT® a double-winner: lower student debt and higher post-graduate earnings.
Reason #3: Higher SAT® scores make you a better competitor for the really BIG scholarships
Not all schools give merit aid. Highly competitive state schools, like the University of California, and the Ivy League (and some highly ranked liberal arts colleges, like Williams and Vassar) offer scholarships only in the case of financial need. So you need another game plan, other than merit aid, for these colleges. One possibility: competing for the most lucrative scholarships. Earlier this summer, we highlighted ten scholarships worth $50,000+ , which is a good place to start your scholarship research.
Almost all of these, though, will require very high SAT® scores, higher than most students can get through self-study alone. The good news: with higher scores (and a strong GPA) you can aim for the largest national scholarship competitions, which give students the BIG money (some even give $200,000+ to winners).
Reason #4: Even athletes financially benefit from higher SAT® scores
Despite the myths surrounding college sports, very few really talented athletes will get full-ride athletic scholarships. Even if a college gives out athletic scholarships, higher test scores always help. For example, at some colleges, athletes must score within range of the SAT® average for that school to qualify for a scholarship. What that means is that when comparing two athletes of similar skill the coaches will always take the one with the higher test scores. Many other colleges will use that same rule because admissions, not coaches, ultimately decides who gets accepted and who plays on the team.
Many colleges these days expect athletes to be athlete-scholars, and coaches count on the team members to qualify for not only for athletic scholarships but also academic scholarships to pay for the cost of college. Many athletes (and their parents) operate under the misperception that athletic ability is the only factor that coaches look at. This is not true. Investing in high-quality test prep, therefore, needs to be a solid priority for all athletes.
Reason #5: Most paths to financial savings start with higher SAT® scores
If you are still not convinced, or maybe the examples above don’t quite fit your situation, here are few more ways higher SAT® scores translate into big financial rewards.
ROTC programs are a great way to save money in college. These programs are one of the nation’s biggest scholarship grantors. The Army ROTC alone provides $274 million in scholarship money to more than 13,000 students each year.
But guess what? Full rides are still very competitive and even small increases in test scores will make you a stronger applicant. Same goes for the military academies, where students go to college for free (with a promise to serve), but these colleges, especially the Naval Academy and West Point, are competitive. Again, admissions will always look kindly on higher SAT® scores.
Another great way to save is through regional tuition exchange programs, like the Western Undergraduate Exchange, which allows a student in California, for example, to attend college in Utah for the same cost as in-state students. In other words, no out-of-state tuition penalty. But there are limited number of spots for out-of-state students, so the students with higher SAT® scores will more likely qualify for the program.
Higher SAT® Scores = Long Term Savings
Hopefully, by now, your are convinced of the financial benefits of investing in high-quality SAT® test prep. The good news is that you don’t have to “break the bank” to raise scores. At Kranse, we created a cost-effective, results-oriented SAT® program that students can easily fit into their schedule. We offer 18-months of access, so students can start early, increasing their odds of success. Invest now, save tons later!
Get 30% off digital SAT® PSAT/NMSQT® prep course enrollment with code COACH30 when ordering online at Kranse.com.