Score Goals: How Getting Specific Helps Make It Happen

Published on Tuesday, January 16th, 2018 by

Students are more likely to reach their score goals when they are concrete and well-defined. Therefore, when they say, “I want to go to college,” ask them, “What college?” If you hear, “I want to get a higher score,” ask, “What score?” The more specific students are about their goals, the more likely they are to accomplish them.


Today, have your students list their top three dream colleges, look up the ACT score requirements to get into each school, and research any scholarships available at these schools based on their ACT scores. Students often have grandiose dreams of their future coupled with a poor understanding of the hoops they have to jump through in order to get there. By linking specific scores to specific checkpoints along their path beyond high school, students can start to wrap their head around the meaningful steps toward a better future.

score search
Teachers can use the following script:

“If I gave you $1,000 to increase your ACT score by one point, would you do it? Merit-based scholarships almost always take into account your score on the ACT. At some schools, even a 1- to 2-point increase could mean the difference in over $1,000 a year in scholarships.”
Have students take out a piece of paper and write down their top three dream schools. Then have students look up the ACT score needed to get in as well as what scores are needed for scholarships at each school. When researching scholarships, instruct the students to pay attention to the following:

• Make sure the scholarships are for entering freshmen.
• Check if there is a distinction for in-state and out-of-state applicants.
• Find out if all students are automatically considered for the scholarship or if there is a separate application.
• If there is a separate application, identify the requirements or deadlines.

“Using your knowledge of these score requirements, decide what your goal score is for the ACT. Next time, we’ll talk about how to determine the exact number of questions you need to answer correctly on each part of the test in order to earn your goal score.”


Afterward, if students want to do more research, there are many scholarship matching sites where they can register for free (never pay) and receive automatic emails with lists of scholarships. Here are just a few of these sites:

Although college is expensive, there are hundreds of billions of private and public dollars available to help students pay for their education. The opportunities are out there! Students should use this knowledge as a stepping stone, helping them set smaller goals like ACT score gains, on the path toward their greater goals of a prosperous and bright future.

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