JB Pritzker, Governor, State of Illinois

State Scholar Selection Process

{ISAC Rules, Section 2760.20}

SSP Selection Formula
SSP Certificates of Achievement

SSP Selection Formula

The State Scholar formula calculation uses a combination of the ACT/SAT test scores, class rank (if the school ranks) or the unweighted GPA (if the school does not rank), and class size.

High schools submit the academic data from the end of a student’s sixth semester to ISAC via the SSP system. The Required Sixth Semester Data page includes details about the required data and the electronic options to submit the data to ISAC.

Eligibility for the State Scholar Program is based, in part, on a student's highest qualifying ACT or SAT score. Although effective January 1, 2022, Illinois' public institutions are prohibited from requiring the submission of student test scores as part of the admissions process, students who are potential State Scholar candidates will still need to take one of the accepted exams (ACT or SAT) during their third or fourth semester prior to high school graduation (typically the junior year) to be considered for State Scholar designation.

A student may take the ACT and/or SAT exam during the designated period, and all scores from exams taken during the designated period must be submitted to ISAC. Scores are typically sent to ISAC by the testing companies in August of each year. If a student submits scores from more than one college entrance examination taken during the designated period, ISAC will use the highest of the scores.

The formula used in the selection of 2024-25 Illinois State Scholars is as follows.

  1. Test scores are converted to an Illinois Standard Test Score (ISTS) as follows:
    • The SAT Reasoning Test: Evidence Based Reading & Writing Section Score + Math Section Score are added together and converted to the equivalent ACT Score. Refer to the official ACT-SAT Concordance Tables (Table A1: SAT Total to ACT Composite) to obtain the converted equivalent ACT Score. 
  2. High school class ranks are converted to an Illinois Standard Rank Score (ISRS)
    • The percentile of the class rank for each student is determined: 

      Percentile = Size of class MINUS (rank in class minus .5) divided by Class Size
      • The table below is used to convert a percentile class rank to the ISRS.

        Percentile ISRS 
        99.75 - 99.99 30 
        99.54 - 99.74 29
        99.19 - 99.53  28
        98.62 - 99.18 27
        97.73 - 98.61  26
        96.42 - 97.72  25
        94.53 - 96.41  24
        91.93 - 94.52  23
        88.50 - 91.92 22
        84.14 - 88.49 21
        78.82 - 84.13 20
        72.58 - 78.81 19
        65.55 - 72.57 18
        57.94 - 65.54 17
        50.00 - 57.93 16
  3. An Illinois Weighted Selection Score (WSS) for each student is computed by adding the Illinois Standard Test Score to the Illinois Standard Rank Score.
    • Example:

      Illinois Standard Test Score (ISTS) = 23 (from #1)
      Illinois Standard Rank Score (ISRS)= 24 (from #2)

      23 + 24 = WSS of 47

      Students with an ISTS at or above the 95th percentile on a college exam, and who meet all other eligibility requirements, are automatically designated as State Scholars. Students with an ISTS below the 95th percentile but who have a WSS greater than or equal to the cutoff score are also designated as State Scholars. The WSS and the 95th percentile cutoffs on a college exam are established annually.
  4. In any academic year, approximately 10% of all Illinois high school graduates are named State Scholars. A WSS cutoff is determined by ISAC each year in order to yield this result.

    Students with an ISTS of 31 or higher are automatically designated as State Scholars; students with an ISTS lower than 31 but have a WSS greater or equal to the WSS set for the processing year (47 for 2024-25 State Scholars) are also designated as State Scholars.

SSP Certificates of Achievement

ISAC mails Certificates of Achievement to high schools that do not opt to download and print the certificates via the SSP system. High schools also have the option of downloading and printing duplicate Certificates of Achievement, if needed.

Reminder Regarding Certificates of Achievement for Future Years

For the current State Scholar processing cycle (i.e., for Illinois students who will be college freshmen during the 2024-25 academic year), schools continue to have the option of printing their own Certificates of Achievement or having them printed and sent to them by ISAC after the final round of announcements has taken place.

High schools are reminded that – beginning with next year's State Scholar processing cycle (i.e., for Illinois students who will be college freshmen during the 2025-26 academic year) – ISAC will no longer print these documents. Rather, all high schools will need to print Certificates of Achievement for their State Scholars.