Class of 2023 National Merit discussion

October 2021 for the PSAT Test is coming up. Good luck to all.


Hi everyone! I have a few questions about National Merit.

  1. Do I register on my own or do I have to do it through my school? The reason I ask is that my school has said nothing about it. If I have to do it through my school I’ll email my counselor.
  2. What does a 1470-1500 SAT score translate to as a PSAT NMSQT score? I’m trying to gauge if I even have a shot at semi finalist. I’m in California so that doesn’t help.
  3. Is it safe to say that I’ll at least get commended, most likely? If I’m consistently scoring 1470+ on SAT practice tests?


  1. Not sure about registration through the school, I would certainly contact your counselor ASAP and verify.
  2. The formula for the Selection Index (SI) for the PSAT is double the sum of your Reading, Writing and Language, and Math Test Scores - with the scaled score that everyone is most familiar with, this works out to be your (verbal score / 10) * 2 + (math/10). So a 1470 would be anywhere from a 218-223 (710 verbal + 760 math == SI of 218) to a (760 verbal + 710 math == 223)

A 1500 minimum SI would be 224 which guarantees you to be a semi finalist, even in CA

  1. Yes, if you’re scoring in the mid 1400’s you can expect to be commended.

As the formula shows, working on your Reading and Writing score is most important since it is weighted twice that of the math score.

Highly recommend Art Sawyer’s awesome articles on the PSAT NMSQT: PSAT National Merit FAQ - Compass Education Group

Deleting my post as @603dad has it all covered

FYI to class of 2023: If your school uses Naviance, your PSAT scores may already be posted there. My son’s came up today (223 selection index, should be a NMSF in Illinois).


My daughter has 223 in Virginia. Should we get our hopes up? I am not familiar with this process. What is our next step, if so?

Hey Oglebee, Virginia usually comes in at 221-222. Art Sawyer believes it to be 222 again this year. You have a 1 point plus.

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Mine failed to improve on her 1510 from last year. She came in at a 1510 again with a 227 SSI, good enough in every state. (16 and 3 months but a JR.) Time to celebrate. :grin:


So we have to wait until next September to know for sure? I need a checklist or something to make sure we hit whatever deadlines are needed. Guidance counselor will not be a help for us.

Unless it has been waived again, she now needs a qualifying score on the ACT or SAT. She then also needs to be recommended by her school. She would also need a decent GPA which I always assume one has with that score of hers. Then it is a long wait until fall when they are announced.

Thank you! She took the SAT on Saturday. Her GPA is excellent. When does she reach out about getting a school recommendation?

Have her take the December ACT or SAT. Most schools want the notoriety of having a National Merit Scholar. Notify the school Principal she is in the NM competition and she has a qualifying score. Ask the Principal who is going to fill out the paperwork there. If she has a school recommendation, the SSI score, a qualifying score and the GPA, she is a shoo-in for NM Scholar.

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I would wait until her SAT comes back from Saturday. Some schools aren’t aware of NMF because they never have them, believe it or not. You may have to school the principal on filling out the application once you have the Q score.

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Wait till late Aug/Sept once schools get notified about NMSF. They will have to do their part of the NMSF, including the recommendation. I would suggest looking up the last year essay prompt ahead of time and writing a Common App essay that can be used for both NMF application and Common App. Have your daughter write the essay over the summer, so she is ready once the application opens up.

I suggest reading through the previous year thread or the one for those graduating in 2020 to see how the process works. It can be very confusing.

The good thing is that 223 is pretty much certain to qualify her for NMSF, and most NMSF become NMF.

In the meantime, you may also do a little bit of research on schools that give big NMF scholarships and see if any of them would be a good fit for your daughter.

Good luck and congratulations on a great score!



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If a student just received their PSAT score as a Junior, the semi-finalist status, application, need for a school recommendation, etc., does not happen until next September. There’s really no need to contact a school’s principal at this time.

A supporting ACT/SAT can be earned any time from Sophomore year through December of Senior Year. It need to have an index equal to that year’s Commended student cutoff, so rarely a problem

Exactly, but there are some schools in the USA who aren’t aware of the NM Corp. So if they haven’t made the student aware it may be a good idea to let them know what your student is up to. My S 2017 had to tell a NM scholar, he was orientating the 1st week her freshmen year, 2018 that she had a Full Cost Of Attendance at UF, (where she was attending.) Her HS never told her anything about it. She just applied and was accepted. He showed her on her college cell app. that she had a full ride. She then called home and told her parents. They had no idea.

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Hi - will be keeping an eye on this thread as DS23 is likely NMSF (and one of his friends had a perfect score!)

We were one of those families that had no idea about National Merit with our 2020 grad until her name was published in the paper. (The high school has had very few NMSF.) Now we know, and have been able to share what I’ve learned here with others.

Keeping fingers crossed that there will still be some good auto merit options for class of 2023.

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Congratulations to your kids! Did your oldest attend a school where she received a NM scholarship?