What SAT Score Is Needed for Scholarships?

Most students take the SAT or ACT in high school.

Educational institutions and private parties routinely offer scholarships to students to defray the cost of getting a degree. Those who offer scholarships typically set specific eligibility criteria by which they select a recipient. Scholastic Aptitude Test scores, or SAT scores, are one such criteria. These scores measure your abilities in reading, math and writing. The score you need to apply for scholarships depends on the scholarship in question.


General Guide

The average SAT score as of 2009 is 1511 out of a possible 2400, says the Scholarship for USA website. To be eligible for scholarships, students usually have to show they are better than average. For this reason, in general, if you want to get scholarships, aim for a score higher than the average of 1511.


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Scholarship Variance

Although many schools set their scholarship criteria to include an SAT score above the average, not all do. This is because SAT scores are just one of the criteria a scholarship committee uses -- they also look at your GPA in many cases, recommendation letters or community service. In some cases, some scholarships have an eligibility that permits scores as low as 1100. It's not unusual for some more prestigious scholarships to require scores closer to 1800 or 1900. Many institutions offer multiple scholarships, all of which have different eligibility requirements.


Variance by School

The SAT score you need to apply for a scholarship doesn't vary just by the scholarship alone. It also varies based on the institution. If you plan to try for a competitive scholarship at an Ivy League school, for instance, you'll need a higher score because the average SAT and GPA for that school will be proportionally higher. By contrast, schools that are less competitive, such as vocational schools or community colleges, may be more forgiving about how high your SAT score must be.



Increasingly, educational and career experts are stressing the need for a college education. As more people try to get undergraduate and graduate degrees, colleges may see an increase in applications. This means that educational institutions may end up raising the SAT bar for their scholarships, as more people likely will compete for the funds.


However, a lower SAT score doesn't necessarily mean you can't get a scholarship; it just means you may have to change plans in terms of where you go. In some cases, lower SAT scores don't entirely disqualify you -- they sometimes just reduce the amount of aid you'll get.


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