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Semi/Finalist chances with lowish GPA?

pmtdstpmtdst 0 replies1 threads New Member
My S21 has been bopping along in the "I'll go to the local community college and then transfer after two years" track, or perhaps the "I'll go to a small school that offers me full tuition somewhere down south" track. He's very bright but goes to an intense public high school in an intense area and had a rough school year last year. He bombed his finals which brought his GPA down to a weighted 3.7. He had a C in one class. After some parental encouragement to reduce the workload and increase work/life balance (he's only taking 2 APs this year), he's much, much happier and it is reflected in his grades. We're content.

Then along comes the PSAT. His selection score is 223. Our state's cutoff has been 222 the last couple of years so unless there's a major shift for an already high cutoff state, I'm guessing he'll make semi.

Realistically, what are his chances for finalist with his grades? The recommendation won't be a problem, he's a good writer, and we'll know about the SATs after he takes them in March, but he's always been a great test taker (as he says, multiple choice is his jam). He's done no test prep and has no plans to do any until we see how his first round of SATs go.

If he becomes NMF, is admission to some of these 'full ride' schools (UCF and U of Alabama most specifically) a guarantee?

This is an intimidating new world to us.
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Replies to: Semi/Finalist chances with lowish GPA?

  • mmom99mmom99 167 replies32 threads Junior Member
    From what I've read (a lot!), "one C" is the grey zone. That said, I'd hope/guess that a C in 9th or 10th grade is likely less harmful than one later on. Also, you do have an opportunity to "explain" circumstances in the application for NMF. Be sure to look for that and help your son write up an explanation along the lines of what you shared above. Also be sure to chat with his guidance counselor (who fills out a lot of stuff in the application process) and make sure they're on board and also understand the circumstances of the C and why he's doing so much better now.

    Also, there are plenty of great automatic scholarships for high SAT or ACT scores. Alabama offers up to nearly full tuition for high scores (along with 3.5 GPA if that can be accomplished by application time) and 15k/yr (about half tuition) for just the 3.0. Your kid should definitely be taking the ACT and SAT seriously and try to replicate that outstanding PSAT score on one or both of those exams, too.

    Meanwhile, of course, hopefully he's well focused on his grades from here on out, too, which it sounds like he's already well on track for.

    I've think I've seen some full tuition or maybe even full ride scholarships for NMSF, so that would also be a thing to check out, since NMSF doesn't have any other qualifiers -- it'll be automatic based on just the PSAT score.
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  • matt2024matt2024 96 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @pmtdst In a similar boat and hoping we get the NMF for 2020.

    But just Semifinal status guarantees full tuition waiver at University of Maine and most likely at Fordham as well. University of Alabama has great guaranteed scholarships as well based on gpa (they do use weighted GPA) and SAT scores as per their website. So even if one doesn't make finalist there are good scholarships for the semifinalists as well.
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  • mommdcmommdc 11906 replies31 threads Senior Member
    UA Huntsville gives good scholarships as well.
    I think they let you update the GPA and scores through senior year of high school to qualify for a higher scholarship.

    WVU gives some good scholarships.
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  • ClassOf21inIowaClassOf21inIowa 20 replies2 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for asking this question. I too just started investigating why only 15,000 of the 16,000 SF become F. My DD’s PSAT score should qualify, and she already has 34 ACT and 4.0. My early inclination is that she should safely be a finalist - would others concur? I already started looking at colleges with generous schollies for NMSF; maybe it’s safe to expand to NMF ones too?
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  • bctlfralp123bctlfralp123 10 replies2 threads New Member
    @ClassOf21inIowa I asked this too recently since I myself am in the same boat. Good GPA, ACT/SAT score, a not-bad essay, and no disciplinary red flags from recs go a long way. All of these are usually correlated to a high PSAT score so there's not a huge bar to clear. Of course there's the odd person who has a bad GPA, has disciplinary issues, or doesn't turn in the paperwork in time, but I'm under the assumption it's easy to get NMF if the pieces are already in place!
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  • usma87usma87 466 replies3 threads Member
    @ClassOf21inIowa and @bctlfralp123 - From what I have seen the last 3 years, it sounds like you are on solid ground. The typical reasons cited on CC for the 1,000 that do not make F from SF are: didn't apply, the school didn't submit their part, and senioritis kicking in early leading to low grades. Every once in a while you hear about issues with confirming score, but that seems to be rare. Good luck to you both.
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