Becoming a National Merit "Scholar"


<p>I already know that it's pretty easy to become a Finalist after making Semifinalist, but I'm wondering how much your PSAT score is factors into NM's determination of scholarship winners.</p>

<p>For example, I am right on the border in my state w/ a 213. Does this mean that I have a lower chance of receiving a scholarship than someone who scored a 235? Or are scores on the PSAT not a factor for the section of the scholarship selection between Finalist and Scholar?</p>


<p>Psat score gets you to semifinalist and then sat score, essay, principal recommendation, gpr, outside activities etc takeover.</p>

<p>It is my understanding that the applications are looked at by your state. My son's essay was short and to the point. Only the most significant honors and activities were listed. Neatness was a given. SAT score was higher than PSAT, but 10th grade PSAT was higher than 11th grade. Son was a $2500 recipient.</p>

<p>I love how even though the thing is so hard to get they only give you a crappy amount of money. Its the award that really matters, not the scholarship (unless you are in deep need of financial aid). Even unknown essay contests give you at least 5000$ - 2500 for being one of the best SAT-ers in the country?pfft</p>

<p>^^Yea, I agree, it should be more.</p>

<p>True, $2500 isn't much. However, it is good anywhere; in-state or out-of-state. Son had to turn down $2205 x 4yrs. from state because he is going out-of-state (State scholarship program).</p>

<p>I'd say the $2500 you MIGHT get from NMSC as a finalist is the least beneficial thing. There are alot of colleges who value national merit scholars to the point of offering alot of $ to get them. Also, it's a nice feather in one's cap as it applies to any college application for consideraton of general
acceptance, acceptance to honors programs and it's prized institutional scholarships. You'll find that most of the people who pooh-pooh the national merit program are the ones who didn't do well in the competition or came up just a bit short.</p>

<p>National Merit finalist standing is worth a varying amount of money, including full tuition or even full ride at some publics with decent engineering programs and other programs. While most students do not accept these very large offers because the schools are not where they wish to attend, NMF standing will automatically net many students somewhere between 4K-20K over four years at even highly-ranked private universities. (Not Ivy and the others that don't believe in merit scholarships.) Check the web sites of schools that interest you.</p>

<p>The automatic NMF offers do not look at your specific PSAT score, to my knowledge. However, schools that just use the NMF standing as a first cutoff for separate scholarships may use the exact score, but more likely will take your SAT or ACT score as the starting point.</p>

<p>Fully agree with ColoradoKid. The money is something you could spend on a vacation. The point is it's easier to get into college and get near full rides at schools looking to increase the number of NMF's.</p>

<p>Just wondered---does NM semi-finalist have any weight in college admission? Or, is it only NMF?</p>

<p>Thank you!</p>

<p>My son made commended several years ago and got alot of attention and scholarship offers from that as well as good sat scores. There are so few nmf's that all is not lost if your son did not make it. Do emphasize the importance of grades and testing high on the sat and he will do fine. My dd had a friend that did not even make commended on her junior psat but scored a perfect 1600 on her sat, just had a bad psat day. She received multiple scholarship offers. Don't fret over what can't be changed and just have your son go on and do his best. He will be just fine.</p>

NMSF has plenty of weight, since that is what info is available at the time most applications are due. Finalist status isn't announced until next February, I believe, after the application process is complete. There may be a few schools with a Feb. 15 app. deadline, but for the mostpart, the apps will have been in before you hear about NMF status.</p>

<p>That's interesting, jym. Thanks for the info. My son plans to do well, grade-wise this year, but past lack of effort has pulled down his gpa so we'll see where that ends up at the end of the day. He shines in standardized tests, though (several perfect PSATs already, high 600s in SAT in 8th grd, etc.) so hoping that (along w/improved grades!) will be useful for him, in terms of admission & other areas.</p>

<p>Appreciate it.</p>

<p>does everyone who gets national merit semifinalist status go on to try for finalist? since i know the monetary awards are mostly slim...</p>

<p>Most do but not all (thus the small percentage who don't make it). Those who don't may have another scholarship already locked up so don't want to do the extra work. Some may also forget to send a copy of their SATs to the National Merit foundation (almost bit us last year). The biggest plus is many colleges have scholarships dedicated to NMFs.</p>

<p>SwordMaiden, most NMS do go on to try for finalist. The monetary awards are not slim even though the official NMF awards are in the $2000 to $2500 range. There are many unofficial, in NMF sense, scholarship that are tie to one's status as NMF and those scholarships can be huge. To those that have hugh financial need, NMF status might not be that important since they are qualify to get need base financial aid. For a lot of middle or upper middle class kids, the merit scholarships due to their NMF status could make a big difference in how they finance their college education.</p>

<p>middle or upper middle class kids constitute a very, very, huge portion of all NMF's. Just wanted to point that out.</p>