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National Merit Advantage @ super selective colleges

knownowknownow Registered User Posts: 21 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.

Replies to: National Merit Advantage @ super selective colleges

  • ninakatarinaninakatarina Registered User Posts: 1,633 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.
  • knownowknownow Registered User Posts: 21 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?
  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom Registered User Posts: 5,761 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?
  • knownowknownow Registered User Posts: 21 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?

  • saillakeeriesaillakeerie Registered User Posts: 2,150 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.
  • atomomatomom Registered User Posts: 4,656 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.
  • 3scoutsmom3scoutsmom Registered User Posts: 5,761 Senior Member
    @knownow USC was mentioned on the National Merit thread according to their rep, it is assured if admitted

  • tdy123tdy123 Registered User Posts: 685 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.
  • jonrijonri Registered User Posts: 7,386 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/
  • TooOld4SchoolTooOld4School Registered User Posts: 3,296 Senior Member
    Vanderbilt gives $5000 credit, but only if you are full pay.
  • pickpocketpickpocket Registered User Posts: 390 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)
  • donnaleighgdonnaleighg Registered User Posts: 1,576 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."
  • ninakatarinaninakatarina Registered User Posts: 1,633 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.
  • YnotgoYnotgo Registered User Posts: 3,935 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.
  • ThinkOnThinkOn Registered User Posts: 529 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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