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National Merit Advantage @ super selective colleges


Replies to: National Merit Advantage @ super selective colleges

  • 3puppies3puppies Registered User Posts: 1,716 Senior Member
    So of the many NMF's who end up enrolling at HYPS, etc, only those that are also awarded corporate or one time awards are counted among the 8000 NMScholar annual total.

    Precisely - and of course this means the NMF's who end up enrolling at HYPS that do not also get corporate or one-time awards, but still get full, or at least significant need-based aid, are NOT counted. And for a significant percentage of students at these schools, the need based aid can dwarf the merit aid they may have gotten had they chosen another school.
  • menloparkmommenloparkmom Registered User Posts: 12,915 Senior Member
    ^^ if they are lucky enough to get accepted.
  • glidoglido Registered User Posts: 5,983 Senior Member
    It's a very nice honor to have, but the reality is that at the most competitive universities, there are many applicants with stellar standardized test scores, so it does not really set you apart. At those schools, there is a demand for students with talents that are not reflected in standardized tests, as well, so the NMF is just not the be-all-to-end-all. There are some very good state flagship schools that like to advertise how many NMF they have, it helps at those universities.
  • Much2learnMuch2learn Registered User Posts: 4,772 Senior Member
    It is a small plus.

    I think some schools do keep track of how many NM scholars they are accepting. They would probably prefer to avoid having the number of NM scholars accepted fall significantly compared to prior years. If the number is down this year and they have some NM scholars in their pool of candidates that are close, they may decide to add a few more. I don't think they will reach very far though.
  • IxnayBobIxnayBob Registered User Posts: 4,394 Senior Member
    QuantMech wrote:
    There is a fairly large gap between the PSAT cut-offs for NMSF in the "easiest" states vs. the "hardest" states.
    Yes. It always made me question the “N” in NMSF.
  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom Registered User Posts: 5,763 Senior Member
    ^^^well that gap is a lot smaller with the new PSAT
  • jonrijonri Registered User Posts: 7,387 Senior Member
    I asked an admissions officer at a top college whether it hurt to list another school as your first choice with National Merit. It was a LONG time ago, but he said that since his college doesn't give money for NMFs, they thought it was perfectly reasonable for a student to list a college which does give $ as first choice. They do NOT assume that if a student does this, his/her first choice for NM purposes is really his/her first choice.
  • mom2andmom2and Registered User Posts: 2,733 Senior Member
    edited September 2017
    Certain colleges may offer NMFs scholarship above the limits set by the NM organization. The website states:
    Colleges and universities sponsor National Merit Scholarships that are renewable and cover up to four years of undergraduate study at the sponsor institution. Stipends range from $500 to $2,000 per year. Within those limits, officials at the college determine each winner's annual Merit Scholarship® stipend using financial information filed with the institution.

    Meaning NM will only pay up to $2000 per year for each "scholar" at a college. Some colleges (USC for example) offer a much higher award to NMFs and that money comes out of their own merit award money. As noted above, USC says they offer NMFs Presidential awards. I believe that was the same for my kid at his school. As far as I recall, he was not named a NM scholar, but just got a bigger merit award. Not sure if students getting those awards are included in the 50% scholarship statistic. A lot of students choose to got to a school that does not give any merit money, even to NMFs.

    I certainly would not consider USC (ranked 21 by USNWR) second tier. Many excellent schools still give merit aid to NMFs.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 32,379 Senior Member
    But keep in mind, it's PSAT based. For a most selective, no matter how many applicants have it, what matters more is the actual SAT/ACT, the rest of stats and rigor and how the applicant presents in the app and supp.
  • kesarikesari Registered User Posts: 42 Junior Member
    In my daughter's school, there is a very strong correlation between those who become NMSF and those who end up in good schools because of their GPA/rigor/ECs etc. So I wouldnt dismiss it as "just PSAT-based". Honestly, its the only standardized test ALL kids at each cohort take. In other words, the kids who make it to NMF are usually the kids you would expect to do so. If the exclusive colleges dont factor NMF status heavily, its probably because they see dozens of them anyway.
  • WhataProcessWhataProcess Registered User Posts: 580 Member
    Bowdoin, (like Carleton, mentioned upthread) gives $2000/yr for NMF, even though they don't give other "merit".

    Also, if you are likely to have any need-based aid in your package Bowdoin is VERY generous when it comes to the students' use of OUTSIDE scholarships. They do not limit the amount, like other schools do, to the aid you would otherwise get through loans/work-study, and do not lower the college grant. Student can truly use outside scholarships to help pay the 'students/family' portion. Son at Bowdoin. Daughter at Hamilton - if her outside scholarship earnings exceeded her loans/ws, then they would lower the need-based school grant - - this is how most schools do it. Would be worth looking in a year for some additional scholarship $$ for her, since will be down to 2 in college and the allowable loan portion of the package increases....but for now her scholarships equal the loan/ws portion, and it wouldn't have benefited her to have more.
  • MA2012MA2012 Registered User Posts: 1,231 Senior Member
    edited October 2017
    DS was offered a NMF scholarship from a school he chose not to attend. Since he declined he won’t be counted in the 50% who are NMF scholars. It was the school he listed as first choice on his NMF list.

    USC may use the May 1 deadline but the chatter in NMF boards is that some schools start getting NMF lists with preferences in March and have an earlier cut off.

    There are schools that offer their own $ to NMF which is separate from the NMS corporation $. At those schools you can often stack NMF $ (either any school or school specific scholarship).

  • knownowknownow Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    edited October 2017
    Such informative replies, made this process a bit more clear for me and probably many more like me. Thank you for taking time to help others.
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