Bright Flight Program

Bright Flight Program for Missouri Students

The Bright Flight Program is a great way for Missouri students to get a head start on their college education. It’s a scholarship program that can help students pay for school, and it’s available at all levels: community colleges and four-year universities alike.

Bright Flight is based on your ACT score, so the higher your score, the more money you can get from Bright Flight. The Bright Flight eligibility scores are also increasing with the class of 2023 seniors. Students will need to score a 32 to qualify for up to $3,000 or a 31 to qualify for up to $1,000.

If you’re interested in applying for Bright Flight, here are some things you should know:

  • The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development will begin recognizing Superscores for Bright Flight eligibility beginning with the seniors graduating in 2023. 

  • Your qualifying score must be achieved by the June test date immediately following your graduation from high school. Keep in mind, the score achieved on the July test date immediately following your graduation from high school does not qualify for the Bright Flight scholarship program. 

  • To qualify for the program, students must enroll full time at a participating Missouri school.  Full-time enrollment is defined as a minimum of 12 semester hours, or 6 semester hours for students who are unable to enroll in 12 hours as a result of a disability defined by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

  • Bright Flight offers scholarships between $1,000 and $3,000 per semester, depending on your ACT score—the higher your score is, the more money you’ll receive! Scholarships are awarded based on merit; there are no athletic or artistic requirements necessary to qualify for Bright Flight scholarships.

  • There is no Bright Flight application to complete. The MDHEWD will receive your ACT, along with approved Missouri college or university choices, from your ACT records. In order to have your score sent to MDHEWD, students need to enter in the following code when registering for the ACT: 2379. It takes approximately six to eight weeks after each national test date for the MDHEWD to receive assessment information.

  • Not only does this program identify public and private schools, but also individuals who have graduated from Missouri’s virtual public school, have completed a home-school program or have obtained a certificate of high school equivalence by passing the GED exam may be considered for the scholarship program.

Renewal of Bright Flight Scholarship

To renew the scholarship, students must continue to meet the eligibility requirements for initial students. Students must receive the scholarship at least one semester each academic year, beginning with the academic year immediately following your senior year in high school, receipt of the GED, or completion of your secondary coursework, if home-schooled.

Students will also have to maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 and maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by your school. Renewal of the scholarship may be completed annually for up to 10 semesters or until you have completed a bachelor’s degree, whichever occurs first.

For more information about the Bright Flight Program for Missouri students, visit their website


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Early Decision vs Regular Decision

Early Decision or Regular Decision?

Early decision or regular decision? What is the difference, and which one is right for me? You’re not alone if you aren’t quite sure which one is going to be a good fit for you. Let’s break it down.

Is Early Decision For You?

Early decision deadlines vary slightly, with most falling on November 1 or November 15. Colleges will notify you usually mid-to-late December. This option is ideal for students who have clearly identified their first choice for college. However, students may only apply to one school and that application is binding, meaning that if a student is accepted under ED, they must withdraw all applications to other schools as they are now committed to attending that school.

Statistics show that there is an increased acceptance rate for applicants who applied during early decision deadlines, compared to those who applied to those same schools during the regular decision deadline.

Other advantages to ED are that your application will be seen by admissions officers sooner and you will be competing with fewer applicants. Students will also know sooner if they are accepted.

On the flip side, there are a couple of disadvantages that students do need to be aware of. You can only apply to one early decision school and if accepted, you must attend, which means you can’t compare financial aid offers between multiple schools.

Is Regular Decision the Right Choice?

Regular Decision application deadlines usually fall between January 1 or January 15 of your senior year but can range from November 30 to March 15. Notification dates are typically by April 1. Regular admissions are one of the most common application options since students can apply to as many schools as they want under this option. 

There are advantages to this choice. This option gives students more time to submit applications and achieve higher ACT scores for additional scholarships. If students aren’t sure which school is the best fit for them, it gives them more time to decide. Unlike early decision, there is no pressure to commit early if accepted. Another big advantage is being able to compare financial aid offers from multiple colleges.

A couple of downfalls of RD are that students will have to wait until later in the spring to hear back from colleges, which is always a busy time of the year for seniors. Most students submit their applications for RD, so your application may not stand out among the majority of applications.

Bottom line, the application process will be different for every student. Before you apply make sure you weigh out the advantages and disadvantages to each option. As always, if you need help deciding which option is right for you, reach out to us. Our college counselors are here to help!

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Demonstrated Financial Need

Demonstrated Financial Need

There are hundreds of phrases surrounding college applications and financial aid, but one in particular has been circulating recently which is, Demonstrated Financial Need.

Cost of Attendance (COA) minus (-) Expected Family Contribution (EFC) equals (=) Demonstrated Financial Need.

The term, “demonstrated financial need” is basically the difference between the Cost of Attendance (COA) and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The Cost of Attendance is rather easy to figure out since it’s the college sticker price and is stated on the website or brochure. However, how do you calculate you Expected Family Contribution?

EFC is the amount that is used to determine your eligibility for need-based federal financial aid. This amount (your EFC) is based on the data you provided in FAFSA such as the family’s earnings, assets, household size, and other factors. Your EFC will generally be lower for lower-income families and higher for higher-income families.  See example below.

Cost of Attendance at University of Arkansas                                  $26,978
Subtract EFC (which you provided in FAFSA)                                  –$10,000
Demonstrated Need                                                                             $16,978

There are numerous US colleges that meet 100% of Demonstrated Need. Yes, that is correct. Financial aid packages can include different types of assistance including grants and scholarships (money you do not need to repay), student loans (money you do need to repay), and student employment funding (also known as work-study).

For more information about Demonstrated Financial Need or to discuss colleges that meet Demonstrated Financial Need, contact us. Our college experts are happy to help students prepare for college.

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Setting a Goal

Setting A Goal

It’s one of the main questions we ask every single one of our students before we start any kind of ACT prep. What’s your goal? Why do you want that goal? Is it because you’re trying to get into a certain college or are you trying to obtain a scholarship? Either way, having a goal in mind makes it a lot easier to distinguish what to do and what not to do when students start preparing for the ACT.

When do I choose a goal?

As soon as possible. Keep in mind, that may look different for every student. However, for the majority of students the best time to start preparing is the end of sophomore year or beginning of Junior year. It also depends on your academics and which classes you’ve already taken in high school. The math portion of the ACT is heavy in Algebra, so if a student is taking Algebra II as a sophomore, then end of your sophomore year is a perfect time to start. If you are a Junior and taking Algebra II, then the end of your Junior year is more appropriate.

If you already have a college or university in mind and know what type of ACT score you need for admittance, then you might be a step ahead of everyone else. Or, if you need a certain ACT score for a scholarship, that is a fantastic reason to reach your goal!

The best way to start preparing early is to take a Free Practice Test to establish a baseline score. We offer those every Saturday morning at Get Smarter Prep. Once you have a baseline, we can determine how best to prepare for the ACT. Some students may need a full 15-hour Private Tutorial to reach the highest score possible. Other students are a good fit for one of our Standard or Advanced Courses. We won’t know how best to prepare until a baseline is established, so take advantage of our practice tests.

Why set a goal?

Setting a goal is one of the most assured ways of meeting a goal. A Harvard Business study revealed amazing statistics relating to goal setting and success. The study found that 14% who have goals are 10 times more successful than those without goals. Go ahead and write down your goals and then share them with your tutor, parents, and those who are supportive of your goals.

Is my goal realistic?

That depends. Are you willing to shift activities around to accommodate sessions, complete homework, and put in the effort? Our tutors have seen increases up to 12+ points for students who are dedicated to their goals. If a student only wants a 2-3 point increase, the same dedication applies to the student who wants a larger increase, it may just look a little different. It depends on the level of tutor, the length of test prep, and if students are willing to put in the work to meet or exceed their goals.

If you’re having a difficult time setting a goal or don’t know what a good goal should be, then contact us. We are happy to help students figure out what an appropriate goal is for them and work towards reaching that goal!

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