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NMSQT rules and NMF vs. AP Nat'l Scholar

Apollo6Apollo6 1446 replies88 threads Senior Member
My daughter is currently taking a year off between sophomore and junior year as an exchange student. She had been planning to take a couple AP exams in her host country but I am concerned that if she does, College Board will count this year as a year of high school and she would no longer qualify for the NMSQT competition her junior year in the U.S. What do you think? If she has to choose between going for NMF or AP National Scholar by the end of her junior year, which do you think is more significant for admissions/scholarships? Taking 2 or 3 AP exams this year would make next May much less stressful since she would only need 2 or 3 more scores instead of 5. I don't know which way to advise her.
edited July 2010
18 replies
Post edited by Apollo6 on
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Replies to: NMSQT rules and NMF vs. AP Nat'l Scholar

  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama 84339 replies1049 threads Forum Champion
    I don't think being an AP National Scholar does anything for admissions/scholarships really. Aren't you named late in the senior year or later? By far the best scholarships are for NMFs.

    I also think that if she returns and does 2 years of high school, that first year back in the US will be considered her PSAT qualifying year.

    Call NMCorp and ask your question to get the best answer.

    Nat'l Merit Corp 847-866-5100
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  • RobDRobD 4969 replies92 threads Senior Member
    I don't think you have to worry so much about what NMSC thinks about her junior year in HS but worry about what her local US school will consider her junior year in HS. In my experience, kids take the PSAT through their local school so if she's a junior at the school, that's how it will be reported on the PSAT paperwork and that's what NMSC will see.

    As for as AP Scholar awards; my D got one after her junior year when she took exams #2 & 3. It was nothing more than a footnote on her applications. I don't think I ever saw a piece of mail from any college or a scholarship app that asked about AP Scholar awards. Now the NMF piece is a different story and can lead to substantial merit awards.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama 84339 replies1049 threads Forum Champion
    Most of the high AP awards aren't named in time for application time. And, I really don't think they make a difference acceptance-wise or scholarship wise. Making NMF is more important money-wise, etc.



    State AP Scholar
    Granted to the one male and one female student in each U.S. state and the District of Columbia with scores of 3 or higher on the greatest number of AP Exams, and then the highest average score (at least 3.5) on all AP Exams taken.

    National AP Scholar
    Granted to students in the United States who receive an average score of at least 4 on all AP Exams taken, and scores of 4 or higher on 8 or more of these exams.
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  • Apollo6Apollo6 1446 replies88 threads Senior Member
    Actually, her goal is to be an AP National Scholar by the end of her junior year. She has already taken 3 exams and scored a 4 or 5 on them during her freshman and sophomore year. She plans to have taken at least 8 by the end of her junior year so that she has a chance of qualifying and having that award to put on her college applications. If she doesn't take any exams this year she will have to take at least 5 her junior year. If she take 2 or 3 this year while she is on exchange (and she is prepared for Spanish and has self-studied art history and comparative government), then she would have a less overwhelming test schedule her junior year. There are fewer students in our state who make AP National Scholar their junior year than NMF winners so it seems like that is more challenging than NMF and could be perceived as such in selective admissions.
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  • RobDRobD 4969 replies92 threads Senior Member
    That might be true in terms of the number game Apollo 6, but that could also be a reflection that few students in your state take AP classes due to lack of availability. I could be completely wrong, but I've never heard about any scholarships based on any of the AP Scholars awards. It's a wonderful goal to have, as it shows that she is a hardworking & diligent student. And in terms of admissions, I don't know if Top 20 schools would look at the AP Scholar awards as a tipping point. The fact that she's taken such a rigorous course load and succeeded might be, but not the scholar award itself.

    I know that there's been no recruiting mail in my house because of the AP Scholar distinction but the NMSF & NMF led to a flood. But I'd love to hear if someone else had a different experience.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama 84339 replies1049 threads Forum Champion
    There are fewer students in our state who make AP National Scholar their junior year than NMF winners so it seems like that is more challenging than NMF and could be perceived as such in selective admissions.

    I doubt it. The kids who apply to very selective schools have like 10-15+ AP classes. So, many of them would similarly qualify.

    It may seem like being a national scholar is more rare, but it doesn't mean anything really to colleges since they don't report about it. Schools report how many NMFs they have. No school gives a National AP scholar any money. Yet there are hundreds of schools that give money to NMFs.
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  • Apollo6Apollo6 1446 replies88 threads Senior Member
    I called and they told me that there is really very little communication between the organizations that administer the AP tests and the NMSQT. If my daughter has not been enrolled overseas as a junior this year, and she hasn't, then it won't affect her eligibility next year, even if she does take AP exams this year. So she'll go ahead and take 2-3 exams this year and only have to take 2-3 next year to qualify for AP National Scholar by the end of her junior year. FYI, there are scholarships for AP awards such as the Siemens Awards: Siemens Foundation - Siemens Awards for Advanced Placement In 2009 in our state there were only 20 students who made AP National Scholar in their junior year so if a school is seeking geographic distribution those rare students would be at an advantage. I'm relieved that taking these tests will not disqualify her for the NMSQT competition next year.
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  • RobDRobD 4969 replies92 threads Senior Member
    Good info to know Apollo6! Now, of course, I know why I hadn't heard about this...my kids are humanities AP kids :)

    And it's great news that you don't have to worry about pursuing one award vs. the other :)
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama 84339 replies1049 threads Forum Champion
    there is really very little communication between the organizations that administer the AP tests and the NMSQT.

    That's what i thought....
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  • tokenadulttokenadult 15970 replies1501 threads Senior Member
    I don't think being an AP National Scholar does anything for admissions/scholarships really.

    I strenuously disagree, based on the recruiting letters I have heard about from colleges or seen personally, and on what the College Board says about what it uses as a basis for recruiting lists for colleges.

    Student Search Service - SSS

    As for the OP's question, since it is possible to take AP tests BEFORE ninth grade (I've seen it done), taking an AP test in a particular year doesn't prove that one is or is not in high school. But to be sure what the National Merit program would think about an exchange program, ask National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama 84339 replies1049 threads Forum Champion
    College Board says about what it uses as a basis for recruiting lists for colleges.

    I don't think being on a mailing list (from a purchased list from CB) is a big help for scholarship or admissions. Schools buy every list of strong students they can in hopes of getting a new name to send their mail to.
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  • tokenadulttokenadult 15970 replies1501 threads Senior Member
    But what is the evidence that AP tests have less money value for the student or less admission value for the student than the PSAT?
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama 84339 replies1049 threads Forum Champion
    ^^^

    Schools report how many NMFs they have enrolled, therefore they are desirable and many offer scholarship incentives. If there are any schools that offer scholarships for AP National Scholars, they are few.

    The evidence is that hundreds of schools offer scholarships for NMFs, yet they don't for AP scholars.
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  • RobDRobD 4969 replies92 threads Senior Member
    Of course, if you take enough AP tests and get the scores needed to make one of the state or national AP Scholar honors, and you enroll in a college that grants AP credits, you could start off at sophomore status. But that's different than getting a scholarship. The link Apollo6 gave for the Siemens AP award is the only award I know of. If there are others, I'd love to hear about them as I have a freshman in HS and I'd love to investigate.
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  • tokenadulttokenadult 15970 replies1501 threads Senior Member
    But what is being missed here is the echelon of colleges that hardly admit students unless the students have done AP-level work before college, colleges which subsidize student studies far more than the dollar amounts on offer for National Merit finalists at any college. AP test scores do matter for admission, and thus they matter for students' financial well being upon entering college and after graduation.
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  • BlueMorphoBlueMorpho 4 replies0 threads New Member
    IME, AP level *coursework* surely matters for that echelon, and also the grades for those courses, but not so much the scores, per se, especially since, unlike SAT scores, AP scores are self-reported (official AP score reports are not required and reportedly not even looked at when submitted). AP official reports are even designed to be sent to one school, after admission/matriculation.
    Consider, more broadly, the more 'average' school/applicant who takes 1 or 3 tests in May of senior year, long after admission results, with submission of scores that summer, in time for placement/credit upon matriculation.
    That said, completing 8 exams, before *junior* year is a feat not even possible in most schools for most students, so of course this distinction is an excellent one, but, IMO, it is not the 'AP scholar' label that mattters for admission, it is the 8 (or whatever) AP level courses, the grades in those courses, and the self-reported scores.
    Similarly, IMO, NMF is relatively meaningless, the SAT score tells them the same information.
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  • jauntomjauntom 4 replies0 threads New Member
    Tokenadult, I agree with you on AP tests do matter. They show rigorous course training, ability to handle college level course, boost GPA, not to mention earning college credits later on. That can translate to thousands of dollars. The only thing I am not sure is the difference between one person with ap national award (8 ap) vs next kid with 7 ap tests to college. I guess is not much.
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  • mazewanderermazewanderer 1350 replies49 threads Senior Member
    In my S's case, he applied to a few top 10 schools. Three of them just asked him to mention his AP scores in the application, they did not want to see an official score report from College Board. In fact the admissions counselor at one school told us not to waste money sending them the scores at the time of admission, and it could be sent after admission to get credit.

    Of the remaining two, one said it would not hurt to send it, but it was not needed as long as we had mentioned the tests and scores in the application. The last school strongly recommended that we send an official score report. even though that school gives no credit for AP.

    So. I think AP's matter to extent that schools want to see that you did take the AP exam and did well, but not to a very large extent. If they really cared, they would have asked for an official score from College Board, not self reported. When you are self reporting, you may not report the low scores.
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