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semifinalist to finalist

PathophysiologyFTWPathophysiologyFTW 8 replies4 postsRegistered User New Member
Hey everyone,

So I'm a Texas student with an index of 226 (definitely made the cutoff), except my GPA is a 3.89 (I had 3 B's in my junior year of high school). Im currently a rising senior and I'm worried if I'm going to get cut off from national merit because of my grades. My SAT score is a 1580, but I'm just concerned as to whether my 3 B's will impact my ability to transition to the finalist stage. Frankly, that's all I'm concerned about right now, as all of the colleges I am interested in going to offer scholarships to Finalists, so I could care less about actually winning. Can you all please provide some insight as to if my grades are sub par, and what I could possibly do to improve my chances?
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Replies to: semifinalist to finalist

  • NJDad00NJDad00 143 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @PathophysiologyFTW -- Congratulations!!! Three Bs are not going to keep you from becoming a Finalist (maybe 3 Cs, but never 3 Bs)! You don't need to do anything, and assuming there is nothing really bad in in your high school record, like a suspension, I guarantee you will be a Finalist with a 226.
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  • HarrietMWelschHarrietMWelsch 2461 replies31 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Well, you *do* have to get all the paperwork in on time, so nobody can guarantee outright that you'll make Finalist. :smile: But @NJDad00 is correct that the 3 Bs aren't a problem.
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  • PathophysiologyFTWPathophysiologyFTW 8 replies4 postsRegistered User New Member
    @NJDad00 oh thank u so much I was just getting really worried
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  • NJDad00NJDad00 143 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @PathophysiologyFTW -- No problem! Good luck on your scholarship!! :) And @HarrietMWelsch is right; make sure to get everything in on time. A common miss is to neglect to send an SAT score report to NMSC. That does not happen automatically, and could cause problems if you forget.
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  • drxxpressodrxxpresso 13 replies0 postsRegistered User New Member
    Tagging on to this discussion - is there such a thing as “too many B’s” to make the finalist cut? It seems like the general consensus is that C’s are definitely problematic, but that a A/B student should be fine so long as everything else is in order. Is there any anecdotal evidence to the contrary?
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  • NJDad00NJDad00 143 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @drxxpresso -- No anecdotal evidence. They are looking for "top" students for the award, and, apparently, a "C" or two along the way is not automatically disqualifying. As you say, "A/B" students are fine. As the "A" leans more to "B," there is no number that knocks you out. Bear in mind, however, that it is increasingly unlikely that a student with more "Bs" than "As" is going to clear the SI cutoff, so there would not be a lot of data points of kids with 220+ SIs and GPAs below 3.5 to see how many don't make Finalist, and why. :)
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  • drxxpressodrxxpresso 13 replies0 postsRegistered User New Member
    @NJDad00 thank you. DD20’s position is very similar to OP. Index of 224, 35 ACT, 3.9 gpa with several Bs on the transcript though mostly A’s and no C’s When I read back on the waiting for results threads it seems like you see kids with impeccable GPAs and kids that have suffered a couple of bumps in the road with a C or two, but not so many kids with A/B records. I think I’m just looking for things to worry about.
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  • NJDad00NJDad00 143 replies0 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    @drxxpresso -- Yeah, you are not alone in being a little neurotic!! :) Everyone keeps forgetting that the tough part is getting the 224, and everything after that is going through the motions. 1.6 million kids take the test, and only 16,000 become Semifinalists. Then, only 1,000 of those don't become a Finalist.

    Trust me, it's pretty tough to not be one of the 15,000 Finalists (odds are 1/16, or 6.25%)! Many of the 1,000 don't chase the scholarship because they are eligible for tons of financial aid wherever they end up, or they are wealthy and know they are headed to schools that don't participate (so going through the motions for the small chance to snag a one-time $2,500 award is not attractive to them). Yet others have some issue in their high school record (behavioral issue, cheating, etc.) where they just know they won't make it. Although there are invariably a few posts every year, it is statistically highly unlikely for a regular kid (doesn't have to be a valedictorian!) with a 224 to not become a Finalist, so please, relax and congratulations!!!

    If you want to obsess about something, obsess over which mega scholarship you are going to chase, or whether your DD20 is going to be cheated out of some life-altering experience by not spending $300,000 for a "prestigious" diploma over a free (or nearly free) degree at a school chasing the National Merit credential. (This is a fun debate every year!! :)) Of course, if you have significant financial need, this doesn't apply to you, but the parents obsessing over National Merit Scholarships tend to be upper middle class, where they cannot easily write a $75,000 check every year for college, but are also not eligible for significant need-based financial aid.

    I promise you, as long as you get everything in on time, your DD is going to be a Finalist, which is pretty awesome considering what a small slice of the country achieve it. Again, the real achievement is making Semifinalist, which you already have. The next step is a formality that is not meant to screen out kids with imperfections, but is meant to screen out kids with real issues, so that the award is based on something more than one test (although, in reality, that's really what it is, when you consider that 93.75% make it through the screen!!).
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