Dear 100 Hour Board,
I have gotten a score well high enough to qualify me for national merit on the PSAT and most likely will end up being a national merit finalist. According to what I've learned about BYU and national merit, you can only get the 4-semester full-tuition national merit scholarship sponsored by BYU, if you get a heritage scholarship. There are about 250 heritage scholarships per year- how do you qualify for them? I know BYU does not release a matrix for scholarships each year, but do they use one even if they don't release it? If so approximately what ACT/SAT score should I shoot for to get one?
When you apply to BYU, you can also fill out a BYU scholarship application. That one application is used for all of the university scholarships. Scholarships for incoming freshman are based on unweighted high school GPA & ACT/SAT. Judging by the language they use on the website, it appears as if there's an internal matrix that gets used. However I'm guessing it changes year to year depending on the GPAs and test scores of the incoming class.
As far as scores and grades go: shoot for as high as you can get. If you don't get a 4 year full tuition scholarship off the bat, don't worry because after each year you can reapply for scholarships. If you work really hard for a good GPA you can just keep earning scholarships throughout.
So Spencer, here's the scoop:
BYU used to have a simple matrix. There's a picture of it in this Board question, which is the last question we've been asked about this (don't worry, your question is different, so you're good). They used to have a matrix, but it isn't fully in use anymore. For that matrix, to get a 1-year scholarship, you would need a GPA (all unweighted) of above 3.95 for a 34/1510, 3.85 for a 35/1560, and 3.75 for a 36/1600. For a 4-year scholarship, you would need a 3.96 for a 35/1560 and a 3.87 for a 36/1600. Those GPA numbers were just of what I could read from the 2018-2019 matrix (the last one that they made, I'm pretty sure).
I was also able to find this matrix that is a little older while looking up answers to this question:
This leads me to believe that the scholarship requirements for that specific incoming freshman matrix are getting tighter, but you can always apply for a scholarship based on your GPA when you get to BYU. It also looks like from the last question asked that GPA and ACT/SAT scores are not the only things being look at anymore, and I would add that the process for acceptance has gotten to be more about looking at the qualifications as a whole rather than mainly scores when judging students, of what I've heard in my education classes. That being said, if you have solid scores, you should be able to plan on getting in,
With this, and just general BYU advice, I would highly suggest taking a lot of AP tests to test out of general education classes. You can find the full list here (use this link for non-2021 years), but basically BYU takes a lot of different tests and gives a lot of good credit for it. If you can do an integrated associates degree, that can also be good, but it's nice to be able to get generals out of the way so you can focus on the fun/cool classes (and save money and time). If you already know what you want to do, you won't have to worry about taking classes/tests for those requirements, but the test I would most recommend is the AP Environmental Science test. If you have a prep book, it isn't very difficult to work through and get a 4/5 on so that you can get Biology and Global and Cultural Awareness out of the way. I'll make a note here that you don't even have to take the class to be able to take the test, you'll just need to pay for it and go.
Let me know if you have any follow-up questions about applying to BYU, getting scholarships, or AP tests. It sounds like you're getting off on the right foot already.
Best of luck!
For anecdotal evidence, I was awarded a 4-year full tuition scholarship as an incoming freshman, and I had a 4.0 unweighted and 4.4 weighted GPA, and got a 35 on the ACT. Requirements vary every year depending on the batch of applicants, as the other writers note.
- a writer