“Follow the money”. I remember this saying when I was a federal prosecutor in Washington, DC going after white collar criminals. It was a line first popularized in All The President’s Men as advice to journalists unraveling Watergate.
Follow the money and you will understand how the world works. This is the case with college merit aid.
To distinguish merit aid from financial aid, The sticker price at colleges is not the real price for many. Those who live in Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, East Lyme, Madison, Guilford, Essex and other Southeastern, CT towns likely cannot get financial aid. But, merit money is unrelated to the financial status of parents.
Colleges also need to ensure that their reputations are high. Student quality is one variable that they can affect – more than reputation among other academics etc. – and SAT scores are often considered a measuring stick for student quality. (fair/unfair/whatever/it is what it is). Exempting recruited athletes, merit aid is rarely awarded for activities. Student council presidents and all state trumpet players are not getting big scholarships!
Surprisingly, grades are not as significant as SAT scores for merit aid. The reason: college admission officers have a very difficult time discerning grade differentiations between schools. The quality of high schools varies radically and the idiosyncratic ways that high schools grade has always made GPA a challenge as a comparative measure. But grade inflation has increased the challenge tenfold. ”
So, find the story by following the money. See who gets merit aid/how much/where and, if possible, find out their SAT scores.
Then vigorously prep!
Register now for our next SAT-ACT Mastery Seminar.