National Merit First Choice College?

I recently became a national merit semifinalist. On the NMSC Application, they ask for your first choice college, I’m assuming for college sponsored scholarships. My first choice and early action college is Harvard University. However, Harvard does not have any national merit scholarships so I’m not sure what I would have to gain by indicating Harvard.

Out of the colleges I am applying to that offer national merit scholarships, the University of Southern California offers the most at half tuition.

My question is, should I indicate Harvard or USC as my first choice college on the application. Additionally, am I allowed to change my choice after I submit my application and when would this changing period end?


My daughter did not even end up applying to the schools she listed on her NMF application, and she was offered merit scholarships at several schools. I really don’t think it matters.

You don’t even need to decide yet. You can be undecided. Or you can put down USC. It’s not as if H would know that…they won’t.

You don’t have to decide until May 1st. And you can change your mind many times before that.

My D is a national merit semifinalist and very likely to become NMF. She likes Boston Univ. a lot but we can’t afford the total cost of $70. If she can stack some merit scholarships from BU and NMF scholarship, we may be able to consider but BU notification date is really late and I don’t want to lose the chance to apply NMF scholarship to other more practical schools like Univ of South Carolina/ Auburn(she was accepted into both). What should we do? Take the risk with BU or be conservative with Univ of South Carolina/ Auburn? Thank you for any suggestions you may provide!

You don’t need to do worry…apply to all. The deadline to name a #1 isn’t for awhile.

Apply to the nmf schools NOW…like South Carolina, auburn, alabama, etc…and they’ll automatically offer their nmf award with the agreement that you name them by may 1st. On their scholarship app, they likely ask if the student is a nmsf.

As for BU…do you know what merit you’d get there? I don’t think they will allow stacking on top of the nmf…do they?. As for the $20k per year nmf scholarship that your child would get, you just have to name BU #1 by march 1st. And if she changes her mind, name one of the others by may 1