SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

Francesca Fulciniti

Francesca graduated magna cum laude from Harvard and scored in the 99th percentile on the SATs. She's worked with many students on SAT prep and college counseling, and loves helping students capitalize on their strengths.

Recent Posts

How to Win a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Award

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Dec 8, 2019 6:53:00 PM

Financial Aid

If you’re a high school senior of Hispanic or Latinx heritage, you'll definitely want to learn more about the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF). With more than 150 types of scholarships available through this program, there’s a lot to learn—and a lot to win!

When you submit an HSF award scholarship, you’re actually submitting yourself for consideration for many different awards (much like when you submit a FAFSA). I’ll talk about all the details you’ll need to take into consideration before submitting your own application for Hispanic scholarships. Then, we'll take a look at application strategies for current high school seniors.

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The 32 Colleges With the Highest ACT Scores, Ranked

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Dec 8, 2019 4:00:00 PM

College Info

Did you know that the ACT is accepted by all four-year colleges? And that more students now end up taking the ACT than the SAT? With the test growing more popular each year, it's helpful to get a handle on what schools are toughest when it comes to applicants' ACT scores.

For this article, I've compiled a list of colleges with the highest average ACT scores for admitted students. With this data, you can compare your own ACT scores (or goal scores) with those earned by admitted applicants at top colleges.

We'll also talk about what these rankings actually mean: are these schools the best you can attend? Are they the most competitive? What if your ACT scores are below the listed averages?

Read on to find out the answers to these questions (and more)!

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Updated List: Colleges With the Highest SAT Scores

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Dec 1, 2019 11:00:00 AM

College Info

If you've already taken the SAT, you know it will likely be an important component of your college applications. Maybe you've set a goal score for yourself based on the types of colleges you're interested in. Even if you haven't taken the SAT yet or are still considering whether to take it, you probably want to know more about what the most competitive colleges and universities expect when it comes to applicants' standardized test scores.

I've compiled a list of colleges with the highest average SAT scores for admitted students. You'll be able to compare your own SAT scores (or goal scores) with those of top colleges and universities. I'll also talk about what these rankings actually mean so that you can interpret this information effectively. For example, are these schools the best schools you can attend? Are they the most competitive? What do you do if your SAT scores are below the listed averages?

Read on for a list of the top schools ranked by SAT score, and answers to the above questions!

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How to Create a Perfect Bright Futures Application

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Nov 3, 2019 4:00:00 PM

Financial Aid

The Florida Bright Futures scholarships are great funding options for Florida residents who want to stay in the state for college or vocational school. All three awards are easily renewable, which means you could significantly cut your college expenses for several years.

You might think there’s some complicated paperwork involved in submitting the Florida Bright Futures scholarship application. As it turns out, much of the process is streamlined and automated —you actually don’t have to jump through too many hoops to apply. The eligibility requirements are a bit of a different story, but once you meet those, the application process should be pretty easy.

In this post, I'll briefly explain about eligibility requirements before moving on to the application timeline. I'll end with tips and strategies you can use to submit the best possible Bright Futures application. 

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Complete Guide to the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Nov 3, 2019 12:00:00 PM

Financial Aid

The Florida Bright Futures scholarship programs are great resources for Florida students who plan on staying in-state for college. To date, the Bright Futures program has helped 725,000 Florida students go to college!

As with any scholarship program, though, there's a lot of information to process about the awards. Just sifting through all the eligibility requirements and award limitations can be overwhelming, never mind figuring out how to actually submit an application.

In this guide, I've compiled all the information you need about the Bright Futures scholarships. I'll talk about the different award programs, their eligibility requirements, the application process, and strategies to help you win your own.

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Florida Bright Futures Requirements: SAT, ACT, GPA, and More

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Nov 3, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Financial Aid

The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship programs are awesome education funding options for Florida state residents—if you can get through the application process, that is. The scholarships offered are particularly nitpicky and tedious about their eligibility requirements: the official handbook outlining these criteria is its own 14-page book chapter. (Luckily, we've created an overview for you in a different, much shorter post.)

Not to worry! I’ve outlined all the eligibility criteria for Florida Bright Futures Scholarships (general and specific, for each scholarship, with every single exception or special circumstance) in a way that’s a bit easier to get through.

I’ve also included information about when to expect notification about your eligibility. Once you’re considered eligible, you’re one (big) step closer to winning a Bright Futures Scholarship. After you’ve processed all this information, I’ll get to the good stuff—how to increase your chances of winning your own Bright Futures award.

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The 30 Colleges With the Best Financial Aid

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 22, 2019 7:00:00 PM

Financial Aid

College in the US is expensive—too expensive, in fact, for the average student to be able to afford on their own. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 85% of first-year students at four-year colleges were receiving financial aid in 2016-17. Financial aid is good in all its forms, right? If it helps college students afford their educations, what could be the problem?

Unfortunately, not all financial aid is created equal—and not all schools can afford to give out "good" student aid. Here, I'll briefly talk about the types of financial aid available (the "good" kinds and the "bad" kinds) before introducing the colleges with the best financial aid programs in the country.

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How to Apply for Your Perkins Loan

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 22, 2019 2:41:00 PM

Financial Aid

Are you considering applying for federal financial aid? If so, you might have heard of the Perkins loan program. Perkins loans are government-backed, low-interest loans that are meant to help students pay for school. They come with a lot of great perks, including the opportunity for loan cancellation (that's exactly what it sounds like it is⁠—imagine taking out a loan for school and not having to pay it back!).

If you want to get a Perkins loan for yourself, you've come to the right place. Read on for easy-to-follow instructions on exactly how to apply for a federal Perkins loan.

Note: As of 2017, the Perkins loan program is no longer being run. But don't worry⁠—we'll still give you a few options for what you can do for aid instead!

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New SAT Practice Tests: 3 Tips for Finding and Using Them

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 22, 2019 12:00:00 PM

New SAT

In order to study effectively for the SAT, it’s important to use practice tests that test the same strategy and content as the SAT does. With the major SAT overhaul in 2016, this means turning to updated, more recent materials.

Official College Board practice tests are the gold standard when it comes to prep materials. Here, you’ll find free links to all official SAT practice tests, essays, answer keys, and scoring guides, along with tips and strategies for how to use them.

You might notice, though, that there’s a limit to how many free official SAT resources are available. For those who want to prep with other high-quality SAT practice problems and tests, we offer you some useful alternatives to official practice tests.

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The 11 Best Pre-Med Schools to Help You Become a Doctor

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 22, 2019 8:30:00 AM

College Info

Choosing an undergraduate school is the first major step any student will make on the path to becoming a physician. If you're an aspiring pre-med student, you'll want to give yourself the best opportunities and support networks in college and beyond. Applying to (and succeeding in) medical school is a grueling process, so you'll need to be prepared.

Here, I'll talk about what actually makes a school good for pre-meds before getting into the good stuff: the list of best pre-med schools.

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The 27 Best Liberal Arts Colleges in the Country

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 12, 2019 12:00:00 PM

College Info

There are a lot of different ranking systems out there for almost any type of college you can imagine. Even though these rankings purport to use sophisticated algorithms and calculations, all the final lists seem to differ from each other. How should you be able to figure out what the best liberal arts colleges are when there so many different ranking systems out there?

I did the work for you by considering many of the top lists and compiling rankings of liberal arts colleges; in the beginning of this article, I'll lay out how exactly these ranking systems work. If you're looking for a realistic, reliable ranking list for the best liberal arts colleges in the country, then you're in luck.

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Pell Grant Eligibility and Requirements: Do You Qualify?

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 8, 2019 11:13:00 PM

Financial Aid

Pell Grants are awarded by the federal US government to help students pay for college or vocational school. Figuring out whether you're eligible can be confusing, but this post will guide you through all the eligibility requirements you should know about if you want to apply for a federal Pell Grant.

If you need a basic intro to what the Pell Grant is, check out our overview guide.

Students are automatically considered for the Pell Grant when they submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. For 2020, the deadline for submitting a FAFSA (and thus being considered for a Pell Grant) is June 30th. You can learn more about Pell Grant submission here. In this post, we'll cover the following:

  • How to figure out whether you're eligible for federal student aid
  • What the Pell Grant income limits are
  • How to figure out whether you're eligible for the Pell Grant specifically
  • Pell Grant award maximums
  • What you can do to increase your chances of getting the Pell Grant
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The Best Scholarships for Juniors in High School

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 1, 2019 6:47:00 PM

Financial Aid

Many students think that they should begin looking at college scholarships once they actually start applying to college—so some time early in their senior year. Although it’s true that many big-name scholarships require applicants to be high school seniors, there are some great awards out there for younger students as well.

So why not get a head start in applying for scholarship awards? You could win money for college, sure, but you’ll also get experience in the scholarship application process before submitting even more applications during your senior year.

I’ve compiled a list of scholarships for high school juniors. This list will be a great place to start, but you might also want to search for more targeted awards (e.g., by geographic area). You can browse the scholarships below based on whether they're competitions or merit-based scholarships. Read to the end for tips and strategies on getting the most scholarship money possible!

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ACT Full Fees & Registration: What's the Total Cost of the ACT?

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Sep 1, 2019 12:00:00 PM

ACT Logistics

Just like many parts of the college application process, taking the ACT (and even using your ACT scores) means an assortment of fees. Here, I'll break down every possible ACT registration cost and score fee.

The good news is that a lot of these fees are unnecessary and avoidable. Read to the end for tips and strategies on saving as much as possible on the ACT. 

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Beware of These 16 Worst College Majors

Posted by Francesca Fulciniti | Aug 28, 2019 9:00:00 AM

College Info

One of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make while you’re in college (or even before you begin) is what to major in. When you choose a major, you might primarily think about your academic interests or long-term career goals. But perhaps you’re concerned about more practical matters, such as employment and earnings opportunities.

If you want to scope out majors that'll make it more difficult for you to be professionally successful in the long run, you’ve come to the right place. Here, I’ll lay out what makes a major "bad" before listing the worst college majors in a variety of categories (including worst-paying majors, majors with the highest unemployment rates, and lowest-value majors). Keep in mind, however, that these can still be great subjects to study.

Already majoring in one of the subjects on this list or planning to in the future? Don’t worrythat doesn’t mean you’re doomed to professional failure. At the end, I’ll list tips and strategies for success if you’ve decided to pursue one of the majors on these lists.

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