Homeschool Life Magazine

June 7, 2021

Going to college for free can be like winning the lottery. But it’s more than just a lucky break. Imagine the delight of receiving so many college scholarship offers – full ride, free room and board, graduate school money and more – that they fill several trash bags. This is what happened to us. College loans have reached 1.5 trillion dollars and the median college debt is about $100,000; it takes around twenty years to pay off. Here are tips to minimize or completely obliterate your possible future college debt. My top five ALPHA secrets to winning scholarships and free college.

Aim High

It’s simple. Colleges get their national ranking based on test scores. There’s no way around it. They want the students with the best test scores and that’s why they might just pay your way if you score highly. Most colleges will award several full ride scholarships for each department. So, aim high and attract the best colleges and their best offers.

Logic Rules

Did you know that PSAT/NMSQT, SAT and ACT are tests of logic? They ask questions that use – but do not test – high school content. Many smart kids do badly on these tests but you can learn and practice how to approach the whole test logically; how to answer every question in 30 seconds or less.


If you know what you’re looking for, there are numerous recurring patterns in the questions themselves which very often point to the answers (without having to nut through the problem posed, from scratch). It’s about practicing the test taking techniques and learning to discover the secret methods of the successful test-takers. 


Just decoding and knowing of repeated patterns is not enough. Now you have to make your progress undeniable. When you practice often enough, you’ll create an automatic habit. Schedule twenty minutes a day, or an hour or two a week, to practice these techniques. No need for cramming, and you can find actual tests from the College Board.


Big scholarship money starts to be thrown around in junior year. So, put time on your aside. The earlier you take the PSAT/NMSQT tests the better. Try not to wait until junior year for your first try. If you can, start in eight, ninth and tenth grade. Did you know you can start taking the SAT as early as the seventh grade?

The SAT and ACT are offered seven times a year and there is no penalty for taking them many times. Colleges take either test and they usually take the highest scores. And most schools will even take the highest score from each section from different tests. They receive their national rankings based on test scores, so the higher the score – the more money you get!

The secret to big scholarships simply boils down to high test scores since 85% of colleges will admit and give money on a student’s test score! The SAT and ACT are used as academic levelers across schools and students. To get your desired test score, just remember ALPHA as your most important keys to helping you fund some of or even your entire time at college!

Jean Burk is the author of the award-winning College Prep Genius program. She homeschooled both of her children who earn earned free college and incredible scholarships because of their PSAT and SAT scores. You can find her “Master the SAT” prep program online at as well as her “High School Prep Genius” book that won a Blue Ribbon Award for the best college prep resource!

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