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National Merit Scholarship. Should there be a change? Perhaps a new reality show?

RW1RW1 182 replies6 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
$1000 per year for 4 years was nearly 60% of all the fees(R/B and tuition) at Penn and Yale in 1956 when the NM scholarship started. By 1969 the $1000 one time payment was down to 10% of total cost. In 2000 the last time the scholarship was increased (2500) it was approximate 2% of total cost of attending an Ivy for 4 years. Now it is approx 0.5% of the cost. This occurred while the percentage of winners dropped from over 1% to under 0.1% of test takers (0.01% of US high school students). The achievement is tremendous (for those who attain it without assistance). The reward is now less than most universities additional fees for 4 yrs.

-NMSC's mission to promote scholastic excellence and recognize students who exemplify it is of considerable value to the nation.
-The competition is very rigorous; scholarship winners are chosen based on their abilities, skills, extracurricular accomplishments, and potential for success in college and beyond.

As there is truly so much "gaming of the system" Whats the point? Couldn't Corporations find better ways of giving funds to their needy workers. Couldn't Universities find equal if not better ways of awarding their high achievers. If these scholarships were meant to allow the best students an opportunity to get the best education: They're failing. This amount cannot be the difference between being able to attend a top University or not.

Why not invite the 2500 students( current national merit $2500 dollar winners) to a few days of competition in the middle of the country (use a means test to make sure everyone can come). Then test the "you know what" out of them. IQ tests, Multivariate calc, inorganic/organic chem US/World/Art Hist, Make them do their best sport against a national standard same with art and an instrument. Make them write poetry give speeches debate,etc....points for everything....you get the idea ....At the end,give the best 25 (.0001% high school students)a full ride to the best school they get into. Give the rest a medal .Put the whole thing :good, bad, ugly on TV, who knows, that may make enough to give a few more a real award.

If all that is just too much, give everyone a fafsa. Illiminate anyone who would get at least 82% financial aid at top ten University(equal to 250000 award) and all top 1 % earners and put the remaining names in a hat, draw out 25 names give the 250000 scholarship to each of them. Change 25 lives.
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Replies to: National Merit Scholarship. Should there be a change? Perhaps a new reality show?

  • tchit87tchit87 94 replies18 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    My guess is that as the National Merit Scholarship Corporation realized they can't keep up with cost at universities so they essentially use their award as a major academic achievement that winners can put on application and push for corporations and colleges to sponsor these students. In the end, nobody really cares about the $2500k per year. Winners want the recognition to get them into the top schools or to get them the HUGE scholarships at state universities and other universities. Although not at every college, a half-tuition scholarship at Northeastern and USC, a full-tuition scholarship at Fordham and UT Dallas, and a full-ride scholarship to all Florida Public Schools and U Alabama are attractive enough for many to want the recognition. The competition you suggested would probably be a better idea, but it is not what the scholarship is about and it is not gonna make anybody more or less willing to get the recognition assuming all corporate and college scholarships remain the same (Someone has to have insane hope to be part of that .15% of the 1% that qualifies them for semi-finalist!) And no way would they be able to pull off a competition of that scale lol.
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  • FSUdad93FSUdad93 210 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I have one NM Scholar and am planning for two more. LOL (Not sure if its insane) My daughter is entering 9th grade this fall, with a 31 ACT (36 already in English and 36 reading) She plans on 36 on the ACT and 1600 on the SAT before graduating. With goals like that...…….?
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  • usma87usma87 376 replies3 threadsRegistered User Member
    @FSUdad93 - to make the Ivies (if thats goal) she will still need a hook. ;-)
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  • MWolfMWolf 1508 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @FSUdad93 She should not be "planning" on SAT of 1600 or an ACT of 36. She should be working towards these goals.

    Also, it is important to note that her GPA and curriculum are far more important than her test scores. This is true in general, since her GPA demonstrates that she is doing well in school, while test scores are more of an indication of testing ability. It is also true for college acceptances - an unweighted 4.0 GPA with a challenging curriculum counts for much more than having both a perfect SAT AND a perfect ACT.

    PS. since academics are about sustaining effort, this type of competition is like using sprinting time to determine whether one qualified to compete in a marathon.
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