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From National Merit Semifinalist to Finalist?

worried_momworried_mom Posts: 2,205Registered User Senior Member
edited September 2010 in National Merit Scholarships
NMSC says that only 15,000 of the 16,000 semifinalists will move on to finalist. So what do you need to NOT be one of the unlucky 1,000? Does anyone know if there is a minimum GPA and/or minimum SAT scores they are looking for? Or do they focus more on non-academic criteria like EC's and community service when selecting the finalists?
Post edited by worried_mom on
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Replies to: From National Merit Semifinalist to Finalist?

  • zantedeschiazantedeschia Posts: 7,841Registered User Senior Member
    Do all semifinalists even complete the application? I'm sure there are some people that just forget or don't get it in on time. Otherwise it seems like most advance to finalist.
  • NorthstarmomNorthstarmom Posts: 24,853Registered User Senior Member
    Yes, there is a minimum gpa required, but I don't know what it is. I do know that S's GC says that the rare times that students from his h.s. didn't make finalist, their gpa was the reason. Sometimes there are brilliant students who do wonderfully on standardized tests, but who just carry C averages because they don't bother to do homework or other things that they think are a waste of time.
  • over30over30 Posts: 2,411Registered User Senior Member
    One of our GC's also said students with suspensions/expulsions and other behavioral problems at school do not generally move on to finalist.
  • KentuckyFriedBeefKentuckyFriedBeef Posts: 93Registered User Junior Member
    I'd guess that the most common reason that people don't advance to F status is that they don't bother to do the application.

    GotBeef?
  • needhelp06needhelp06 Posts: 337Registered User Member
    I also think that they want to ensure that your SAT I is commensurate with your PSAT verbal and math,but thats just a guess
  • shrek2004shrek2004 Posts: 3,460Registered User Senior Member
    yes i think u have to have at least like a 1300 on the sat or so. thats what i heard from people that got it last year
  • jtullisjtullis Posts: 14Registered User New Member
    Yeah, a 1300 sounds about right from what I've heard to. I was a NM Scholar last year, along with seven or so others in my area. From that experience, I can tell you that one has to do something seriously wrong to not move on from semifinalist to finalist, other than the SAT thing. As long as your SAT is on par, your GPA decent, you'll progress. The "application" is something you should definitely put some time into, but it's most likely not going to knock you out of the competition, unless your essay is unredeemably horrendous.

    Anyway, I hope this helps. For most semifinalists, you've no need to worry.
  • itstoomuchitstoomuch Posts: 1,745. Senior Member
    Getting a NM award is not all that great. 1) three years ago the max awards $2000. 2) Some of schools and most of the top schools don't recieve the money, 3) Private school's tuition is so high that $2000 award is 5% of total costs.

    What is valuable is that the other schools, not as well known, will accept NM winners with a lot of FA/merit scholarships/grants/etc. b/c they want the NM winner to lend credibility to the school.
  • worried_momworried_mom Posts: 2,205Registered User Senior Member
    Thanks for your response, itstoomuch. THat's exactly why I am concerned about my S advancing to Finalist. I know that the scholarships given directly by NMSC, and even many of the corporate sponsors, are just a few thousand dollars, but our State (AZ) universities offer full tuition waivers + annual stipend to all Finalists who choose to go there. That's why S needs to make the cut!
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 33,544Registered User Senior Member
    If your son is good enough to make NMS he is probably eligible for merit aid at other colleges, not to mention that if your finances are such that ability to pay is the main criteria for schools, he is undoubtably eligible for need based aid as well.

    look at www.finaid.org for EFC calculator
  • MandiMandi Posts: 58Registered User Junior Member
    The people who don't make it to Finalist either didn't score highly on their SATs, weren't endorsed by the school (because of disciplinary problems, etc.), or didn't put a lot of work into their application/essays.

    But the thing is, only a few thousand of the 15,000 Finalists actually receive decent merit scholarships. Or at least that's what my dad kept telling me while I was filling out my finalist application and writing the essay. *rolls eyes*
  • lifeisafestivallifeisafestival Posts: 20Registered User New Member
    Some schools offer full-tuition scholarships to Semi-finalists, as well as Finalists....For example, if you are admitted to Fordham as a National Merit Semi-finalist and in the Top 10% of HS Class, you can be eligible for a full-tuition scholarship. So in the end the title of Semi-finalist can be almost as good as being named a finalist in regards to scholarship concerns/needs.
  • shrek2004shrek2004 Posts: 3,460Registered User Senior Member
    Getting a NM award is not all that great. 1) three years ago the max awards $2000. 2) Some of schools and most of the top schools don't recieve the money, 3) Private school's tuition is so high that $2000 award is 5% of total costs.

    it still is 2000. most top schools just cut it off of your overall payment. and if you are complaining that its only 5% of the total cost then you shouldnt deserve the award. 2000 dollars is a lot even if it is just 5%. people that get this award get many other scholarships too and many scholarships arent worth even 2k. regardless of that, im happy that i am getting 2k. that helps out my parents a lot.
  • ckr1147ckr1147 Posts: 175Registered User Junior Member
    My son is NMSF with a 1360 SAT - But his GPa is 2.9 due to some extenuating circumstances last year...his guidance counselor addressed the issue in her recommendation and DS did too in his essay...not making excuses- there were valid reasons...I've been told he doesn't have a "snowball's chance" to make Finalist...does anyone here know, or have experience in a simliar situation?
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Posts: 33,544Registered User Senior Member
    I don't have any experience in what is weighted heavier grades and scores or reqs.
    My daughter I doubt had the grades, and the finalist in her class actually was um... expelled from school two months before gradutation( nothing criminal, the teachers just got tired of hearing him complain about how he was too smart to be there, they agreed)
    Essays can make a big difference I think.
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