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National Merit Advantage @ super selective colleges

knownowknownow 17 replies4 threads New Member
edited September 2017 in Parents Forum
My kid is interested in some programs at tippy top colleges, is there any advantage at all of having National Merit award there? In admission or for scholarship?

I have heard that it's a waste as they get so many NMS that they don't care about this award.
edited September 2017
58 replies
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Replies to: National Merit Advantage @ super selective colleges

  • ninakatarinaninakatarina 1619 replies44 threads Senior Member
    It doesn't hurt, I'd think. It's just that it doesn't make you anything special, you have to have something else to stand out. Your average state school that's not the flagship will be impressed by NM, but the top schools will demand more.
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  • knownowknownow 17 replies4 threads New Member
    edited September 2017
    Is there any high rank college where NMS get scholarships if they do get in or is it limited to state schools?
    edited September 2017
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  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom 5664 replies338 threads Senior Member
    USC Half tuition. (approx. $26,000) @knownow "high rank colleges" don't need to offer merit scholarships, they already have lots of high stats kids applying. Maybe you should look at some of the honors programs at lower ranked schools that give big $$ for national merit?
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  • knownowknownow 17 replies4 threads New Member
    Thank you. He is applying to USC but apparently they don't promise 1/2 any more, it's more random.

    Is there any advantage in admission to selective colleges if not in scholarships?

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  • saillakeeriesaillakeerie 2474 replies0 threads Senior Member
    There isn't an advantage per se at selective schools. However in general, NMFs tend to do well on SAT (and ACT) exams. That will help with selective schools. But selective schools have large numbers of kids who score well on SAT/ACT apply. And many non-NMFs score well on the SAT/ACT too.
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  • atomomatomom 4734 replies41 threads Senior Member
    edited September 2017
    It is a nice honor, but there are so many other NMFs applying to top schools that it doesn't help much. A few selective schools will give small merit scholarships. If you want big merit aid, just search for "colleges offering national merit scholarships " and look for the automatic full tuition or full ride scholarships. The big money is mostly at public universities and private schools not in the top tier--but there are some excellent/ well-known schools among them. Look at the financial aid/scholarships section on each college's website to make sure you have all the details and up-to-date info. Some score-based scholarships are awarded to all applicants who qualify. Others are competitive/ limited to a few per year.
    edited September 2017
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  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom 5664 replies338 threads Senior Member
    @knownow USC was mentioned on the National Merit thread according to their rep, it is assured if admitted

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/discussion/comment/20871799/#Comment_20871799
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  • tdy123tdy123 1044 replies18 threads Senior Member
    edited September 2017
    As stated above, at the tippy top schools, there isn't a benefit to NMSF per se, but there is a pretty strong correlation between NMSF and acceptance at those schools. At son's HS, ~ top third of class every year score NMSF or higher, and top ~ third of class go to IVY+MIT+S+UChicago+Williams. Were they admitted because they were NMSF? No, but NMSF tends to correlate with high grades, writing ability (and thus high quality essays), highly rigorous courses and interesting ECs.
    edited September 2017
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  • jonrijonri 7366 replies135 threads Senior Member
    edited September 2017
    Carleton College gives $2,000 a year for NMFs. Check out the current rule. It offers the chance to switch your top choice to Carleton so you can get the $. This is why it is able to claim it has more National Merit Scholars than any other LAC.https://apps.carleton.edu/admissions/topics/merit_scholarships/
    edited September 2017
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  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School 3369 replies12 threads Senior Member
    Vanderbilt gives $5000 credit, but only if you are full pay.
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  • pickpocketpickpocket 434 replies4 threads Member
    edited September 2017
    Among the tippy-tops: no admissions advantage or $$ for NMF. But other fine schools including WPI, U Rochester, Boston U, Northeastern, RIT all give $18K+/yr. (my data is 2 years old, ymmv)
    edited September 2017
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  • donnaleighgdonnaleighg 1548 replies33 threads Senior Member
    you can get some $ as a NMF (it's not guaranteed, and some of those don't come from the school, but rather the foundation). My daughter got $2500 that way and used it at Yale (which as you know doesn't give merit). Some schools themselves will give you a similar amount if you list them as your first choice and then matriculate there. My daughter did that at U of Chicago, and then we were pleasantly surprised sometime during her Freshman year at Yale when we got a note saying "where should we send the check, since you didn't go to Chicago."
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  • ninakatarinaninakatarina 1619 replies44 threads Senior Member
    It really depends on your definition of tippy top colleges, honestly. Some people, that's only HYPS maybe M. Others cast a broader net. If your kid gets into HYPSM, they don't give merit aid and you're competing with every other National Merit kid in the country but they do make sure the family only has to pay what they can afford.
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  • YnotgoYnotgo 3882 replies58 threads Senior Member
    I have the names of a subset (about 20%) of entering Caltech students and their states. Of the 19 California students on the list, 9 are in the NMSF list for that year. California has a relatively high NMSF cutoff, so I'd guess that the proportion of NMSFs from other states is somewhat higher.

    I'd say that doing well on the PSAT correlates with doing well on the SAT and other tests. Listing the award probably helps a bit by indicating the student has consistently high scores.

    There are 2000 NMSFs in California each year, so even if 9*5=45 are attending Caltech, there were plenty of NMSFs weren't accepted (or are attending elsewhere). For admissions to tippy-tops, you can't just be about scores.
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  • ThinkOnThinkOn 536 replies1 threads Member
    Many NMSF don't even bother listing it as an award as it would be redundant given their high SAT scores. I guess it could provide consistency in testing, but the SAT Subject tests and AP tests do that as well, so yeah, I get that it's a bit redundant to add it as an award. So then what's the significance at the end of the day, school bragging rights?
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  • YnotgoYnotgo 3882 replies58 threads Senior Member
    If space is limited, I would bump AP Scholar awards, NHS membership, and any honor roll type awards in favor of listing NMSF. Regional, state, or national awards should probably take precedence over listing NMSF.
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  • blossomblossom 10333 replies9 threads Senior Member
    One of my kids qualified for a corporate NMS award which could be used anywhere.... so even though it wasn't helpful as an admissions factor, AND the kid attended a college which did not have its own NM scholarship, it turned out to be real money.

    And even though the award was for one year, the company itself paid the scholarship (directly to the college) for sophomore, junior and senior years which was really quite generous.

    We didn't consider it bragging rights. It was actual cash which didn't have to come out of our pocket.
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  • mathmommathmom 33083 replies160 threads Senior Member
    My older son was NMS - I don't think it made a bit of difference. He was accepted to 2 very selective colleges/programs, rejected from 4 very selective colleges and accepted at 2 pretty selective colleges (i.e. one currently ranked #30 or so and the other in the #50s.) He didn't get a penny for the award either.
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  • saillakeeriesaillakeerie 2474 replies0 threads Senior Member
    I believe that only about 1/2 the NMFs get any money. Some colleges provide awards. Some corporations provide awards. And NMSC provides some awards as well.
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  • websensationwebsensation 2121 replies39 threads Senior Member
    My kid's NMF status might have alleviated any concern adcom might have about his not-so-high (for HYPSM) test scores of 33 ACT and 2150 SAT score and helped him get in as Stanford REA. Basically, we thought his 33 ACT was high enough to apply to any HYPSM schools because he was a NMF in CA which has a relatively high cut-off. Our attitude was his test score was a non-factor.

    Only thing NMF is good for is to help you get a merit-based scholarship money from state schools and a few decent private colleges.
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