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FAQ for the PSAT/SAT NMSF/NMF process.... :)


Replies to: FAQ for the PSAT/SAT NMSF/NMF process.... :)

  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins Registered User Posts: 687 Member
    edited May 2018
    @JBStillFlying Thanks. I knew about 2,500 getting selected as scholars by merit foundation itself but not about numbers of employer or college sponsored awards. I'm i right in assuming that 7,500 finalist get no scholarships at all?
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 5,781 Senior Member
    @CupCakeMuffins - that's correct - only about 1/2 of the NMF's get one of the three scholarships I mentioned above. Keep in mind that many NMF's are opting not to apply to or attend college sponsors so are eliminating themselves from that scholarship category.

    Check out this link for the complete set of numbers, beginning with the section on "Finalists" about midway down the page: https://www.nationalmerit.org/s/1758/interior.aspx?sid=1758&gid=2&pgid=424
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 5,781 Senior Member
    @CupCakeMuffins: Sorry, just realized that link didn't break down the numbers for you. Here are bits from the instructions that the NMSF's receive. They don't specify a number for the one-time $2500 scholarship but one can do the math and see that it's about 2,500 who are awarded:

    "Who can win a corporate-sponsored Merit
    Scholarship award?
    About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship
    awards will be offered in 2018 to Finalists who meet
    specifi ed criteria. Most of the 230 corporate sponsors that
    underwrite these scholarships designate them for children
    of their employees; however, some sponsors specify their
    awards for residents of communities in which the company
    has plants or offi ces, or for Finalists pursuing college
    majors and careers the grantor organization wishes to

    "Which Finalists can be considered for
    college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards?
    About 190 colleges and universities have made arrangements
    with NMSC to sponsor National Merit Scholarships in the
    2018 competition, and it is expected that some 4,000 of these
    awards will be offered to Finalists next spring. (See Sponsors
    of National Merit® Scholarships which is posted online in
    the “Competition Instructions” section of the OSA.) To be
    considered for a college-sponsored award, a Finalist must
    meet all three of the following conditions. The Finalist:
    • must have notifi ed NMSC that the sponsor college is his
    or her fi rst choice;
    • must have applied for admission to that institution; and
    • must not have been offered any other National Merit
    Every college-sponsored award is offered with the
    condition that the Finalist has been admitted for the fall
    term and will attend the sponsor college. Because every
    college-sponsored award can be used only at the institution
    fi nancing it, the scholarship is canceled if the winner
    changes college choice. "
  • mathmomvtmathmomvt Registered User Posts: 4,516 Senior Member
    Does anyone know what criteria are used for determining the $2500 winners? Is it based on SAT score? My DS had a 36 ACT so he didn't bother prepping for the SAT, knowing that the cutoff to make semifinalist would be well within his grasp. But I suspect that will bite him when it comes to non-college-based awards. (I think many of the corporations delegate selection back to NMSC as well.) Since he doesn't seem likely to attend a college that will offer an award, one of those elusive $2500 awards would be a nice bonus.
  • LOUKYDADLOUKYDAD Registered User Posts: 840 Member
    edited May 2018
    @mathmomvt Good question. I don't think anyone knows exactly. We were kind of in the same boat. DS took the SAT only for purposes of having a qualifying score for NM purposes, and scored a 1480. In his case we were only focused on what it took to get from NMSF to NMF, since he intended to go somewhere on an NMF full ride. He passed on taking another shot at the SAT for this reason. He put minimal effort into the essay as well, as he was in the middle of applying for honors programs and competitive scholarships.

    He did not receive a $2,500 scholarship, despite a 35 ACT, 4.0UW/4.5W, National AP scholar, 13 APs and 3 DE classes, good ECs, leadership, etc. Of course I don't know, but I imagine the 1480 and/or the weak essay are the reasons he did not receive one. No regrets in his case, since he has a full ride and received a $2k college sponsored award anyway, so he is technically a NM scholar regardless.

    On another thread it was suggested to me that if they think you are in line for a college sponsored award they likely won't award you one of the $2,500 awards. No idea if this has any merit or not. I don't think it applied in DS case, since he had indicated "undecided" until mid March, when he designated Louisville as his first choice school. By that time I think the 2500 recipients would have been decided.
  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins Registered User Posts: 687 Member
    edited May 2018
    An SAT score of 1480 is too low. They do not consider ACT scores. Ones who made scholar from my son's district by winning elusive scholar status + $2,500 from National Merit Foundation, scored 1590-1600 on SAT, were National AP Scholars, had insane GPA and super strong resume. All were accepted to several top 20 colleges.
  • LOUKYDADLOUKYDAD Registered User Posts: 840 Member
    @CupCakeMuffins “elusive scholar status”? Anyone who receives one of the three types of NM scholarships is a NM scholar.

    Anyway I agree that 1480 is too low for purposes of $2,500 awards. For kids whose goal is full ride rather tippy top admission it really doesn’t have much impact. If we were paying up for top 20 college it would be a drop in the bucket, again not worth chasing.
  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins Registered User Posts: 687 Member
    edited May 2018
    I was using term used in post #109 but out of 15,000 semifinalists and 7,500 finalist, only 2,500 get special free standing scholar status without sponsorship from participating colleges or employers so apparantly it is more exclusive and there is no extra chasing required, every finalist is considered.
  • LOUKYDADLOUKYDAD Registered User Posts: 840 Member
    edited May 2018
    Well, if in the sense of sitting multiple times for the SAT is chasing, I wouldn’t see it as the best use of one’s time. If the goal is just to net $2,500 to offset cost, there are other outside scholarships out there to pursue that aren’t as elusive. I would recommend spending the time applying for them versus taking another shot at the SAT.
  • mathmomvtmathmomvt Registered User Posts: 4,516 Senior Member
    edited May 2018
    @LOUKYDAD I'm pretty sure he couldn't have won the 2500 award anyhow if he was getting a college sponsored award. You can only get one. Though it may just be that if he'd won the 2500 his college would have not given him the small official portion of their award, and still given him the rest of the free ride.
  • LOUKYDADLOUKYDAD Registered User Posts: 840 Member
    @mathmomvt yes, if he had won $2,500 award he wouldn’t have received Louisville’s college sponsored award of $2,000. He missed out on $500 total.
  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins Registered User Posts: 687 Member
    edited May 2018
    Why are we assuming everyone has to take SAT multiple times to score well? One and done students may not be a majority but they do exist. May be that is one of the criteria.
  • LOUKYDADLOUKYDAD Registered User Posts: 840 Member
  • JBStillFlyingJBStillFlying Registered User Posts: 5,781 Senior Member
    edited May 2018
    Most of the criteria for getting one of those "elusive" $2500 awards is going to be baked into the cake by the time the student applies for NMF. Even if you could - or wanted to - take the SAT multiple times in order to send your highest one-time confirming score (NMSC doesn't superscore) you can't really change your GPA, your courseload, EC's or what sort of recommendation you'll receive from your school. Or your original PSAT/NMSQT score (something else that's considered). As for essay - that should be something that reads well simply because you want to do your best for this prestigious competition (and if you are re-tooling the Common Ap. essay, that should be in good shape already since it's going to colleges . . .).

    If you have extra time, work on other aspects of your college application rather than re-sit the SAT, unless you are concerned that your score won't hit the "confirming" threshold to begin with. Any improvement to the college ap. will naturally be something you can include on your NMF application as well.

    A whole lot of amazing NMF's won't get the $2500 scholarship simply because NMSC (claims to) allocate this one on a state representational basis, meaning that some fantastic applicants from highly competitive states/selection units will be passed over for slightly less fantastic applicants from slightly less competitive states/selection units. That's why it's so important to pore over that list of college sponsors :)
  • CupCakeMuffinsCupCakeMuffins Registered User Posts: 687 Member
    Only issue is not many top schools offer any merit scholarships. National Merit Foundation Scholarship, though small, can be cashed at every school, even at Ivies.
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