Paying for College

Will 26 ACT Keep Me Out of College?

Question: I'm so frustrated and overwhelmed with college applications, and my brother is scaring me by saying that I won't be able to go to any colleges with a 26 ACT score, since he thinks I won't receive any scholarship money. I feel like I can get accepted to lots of places, but the money part is holding me back. I have no idea what to do about financial aid or where to start, I am miserably overwhelmed. Please please help me!

You probably figured out long ago that sometimes you have to ignore your brother … and this is definitely one of those times. 😉 For starters, a 26 is a very respectable ACT score. It may not make admission folks at the most hyper-competitive colleges turn cartwheels on top of their desks, but it's going to be at—or even above—the median at many fine colleges. Moreover, since you took the test as a junior, you might want to try it one more time this fall. Your score will probably go up.

As for the financial aid process … it can be so complex that even professionals often struggle to understand it. But here's a brief crash course:

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