nmsqt -- crushed

<p>After a visit to my rising-senior d's guidance counselor I learned that the psat she took as a sophomore does NOT qualify her for a Nat. Merit Scholarship. The point either was never made or never got through to either of us that the PSAT needed to be taken as a junior in order to qualify. I am kicking myself, my daughter is kicking herself and her GC is kicking herself.</p>

<p>I've calmed down enough to now ask: what have we lost? In other words, how much $? o ahead, I can handle the truth.</p>

<p>Let it go----move on and don't dwell on something that can't be changed. It's hard to let go of the "what ifs", but necessary to maintain sanity. :)</p>

<p>National Merit scholarships are usually not all that generous unless the student qualifies for a corporate-sponsored scholarship. The most selective NM scholarships are one-time awards of $2500 (or were a few years ago, anyway - my knowledge may not be current). At some schools, there's a set annual amount of National Merit money: $5K per year at Vanderbilt, for instance, unless the student receives other merit aid, in which case the NM amount is 2K annually. That's not small potatoes, but not megabucks either.</p>

<p>So sorry to hear that your d fell through a rather gaping hole in the GC's knowledge. :( If you read the CC Financial Aid board and search the Parents Forum, you'll see that National Merit is not the only game in town for students who perform well on standardized tests - there are other options available to your d. Good luck.</p>

<p>While generally I agree that we should not cry over spilled milk, in this case the ignorance of GC is appalling !</p>

<p>If it really is the GC's fault for not knowing this, I think it might not be a bad thing to send a letter to that effect to whatever-powers-that-be expressing disappointment that X kids might be missing out on $X of scholarships because it's not widely known here at ABC School that the PSAT blah blah blah, and end with "What can I do to help ensure that this is communicated to all sophomores and juniors?"</p>

<p>
[quote]
National Merit scholarships are usually not all that generous unless the student qualifies for a corporate-sponsored scholarship. The most selective NM scholarships are one-time awards of $2500 (or were a few years ago, anyway - my knowledge may not be current). At some schools, there's a set annual amount of National Merit money: $5K per year at Vanderbilt, for instance, unless the student receives other merit aid, in which case the NM amount is 2K annually. That's not small potatoes, but not megabucks either.

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<p>WHAT??? There is an entire thread devoted to schools that offer full tuition, room, and board to National Merit Finalists. Maybe you were just trying to make the OP feel better, but there is HUGE money to be had from the NMSQT. For my son, it's $80,000 over four years, which I think of as megabucks.</p>

<p>The GC screwed up and should be held accountable. Everyone in the country knows that National Merit is a great source of financial aid for kids who perform well on the test and are willing to consider the colleges that offer full rides, or near-full rides, based on the results. Any GC who doesn't know that or "forgets" is negligent.</p>

<p>I hope that GC is kicking herself right out the door and into a different job where young people's futures don't depend on her competence.</p>

<p>edited to delete.</p>

<p>It's not clear to me whose fault this is. GC could have sent out the usual info and then just not followed up to be sure that kids who should take the PSAT junior year do. And both daughter and parent should have read the PSAT handout which makes all the rules quite clear.
Anyway, what's done is done. NM money varies a lot - and it is true that the non-ultra-elite schools often offer a good bit. But it's not the end of the world. Let go and move on - and realize that the GC is not in charge - you are.</p>

<p>I would think that if your D scored high enough on PSAT to qualify for NM, then she will also have stats good enough for other generous merit aid. At many schools, it is one or the other - NM scholarship or other merit aid. My D did not take PSAT but received very generous aid on stats (only slightly less than NMF at her school).</p>

<p>
[quote]
WHAT??? There is an entire thread devoted to schools that offer full tuition, room, and board to National Merit Finalists.

[/quote]
Sorry, mantori - my first thought was of the scholarships bestowed by the National Merit Corporation - I should have made that clear. No offense intended.`</p>

<p>It is a disappointing mistake, no doubt about it. While the vengeful part of me says you should make a stink about it, I also realize that you may need a letter from this GC in a year, and if you create an enemy, that might not go well.</p>

<p>It is too bad, what is done is done. At the very top tier schools, being NMF doesn't bring much. There are schools that are trying to increase their stature by buying NMFs, and the packages they offer can be substantial.</p>

<p>But shift your focus now to SAT and ACT tests. Don't trust what your GC says about them.</p>

<p>I'm confused...did your child not take the PSAT as a junior? In our state, juniors in both the public and private sector are required to take the PSAT as juniors. Schools set aside one morning in October for everyone to take it. Did your D not take it as a junior, or did she simply score higher as a sophomore?</p>

<p>At our kids' high school...ALL juniors are given the info about registering for the PSAT as juniors. BUT it's given to the students. Some get it home and others don't. And it is the KID's responsibility to register. The GC doesn't do that for them...although they DO send in the registrations for those who bring them (and the check) back to the GC on time.</p>

<p>If your daughter did well on the PSAT as a sophomore, hopefully she did or will do well on the SAT as well. There are also some generous awards for students with very high SAT scores.</p>

<p>laffter - So sorry, that is an unfortunate situation. There is a lot of money available to NMF, but per the CC threads students of that caliber often choose not to attend the schools that offer money. But your kid will likely qualify for good money at those schools through other paths if there is a great GPA and SAT scores.</p>

<p>What training do GC have? I suspect in many public schools it is very little in the area of college admissions-- they know what it takes to get into the states schools and that is about it.</p>

<p>We knew about taking the PSAT as a junior, but I'm not sure how we learned it (possibly from College Confidential). DD1 qualified, but we didn't learn that from the Guidance Counselor. The GC didn't seem very aware of requirements and deadlines for finalist status, but we got it done. The GC also did not inform our daughter of finalist status until we asked-- thought they would just present it at graduation.</p>

<p>What your daughter lost depends on what schools on what schools she was interested in. A few schools offer automatic or near-automatic full rides to NMF (Oklahoma, Arizona State e.g.). They are rare. Nothing or very little is far more common. For us it could have been $7500/year at St. Olaf, but DD1 chose a school that doesn't give merit aid.</p>

<p>laffter,</p>

<p>Nothing you can do about it now, so don't dwell on it...
Many top schools do not give any money to NMFs, so there is a good chance you have not lost much (if anything).</p>

<p>Did your daughter take the SAT? (There is some way to qualify by SAT score for kids who did not take PAST as juniors, but it is less straight-forward. You can look it up on Nat Merit Corp web site, or call them and ask)</p>

<p>I am not sure about this, so you'll have to check, but I believe that, back in my day, you could use a first set of SAT scores as an alternate route of qualification for the National Merit. May no longer be true, but look into it. Also, I would be all over the rest of this process as looks like the guidance department at your daughter's school is a little lacking.</p>

<p>Unfortunately, our GC was terrible. She actually said it was not her job to help the kids with college admissions & scholarships.....when indeed that is one thing her job description did explain in detail.</p>

<p>She wanted to send off scholarship info with the transcripsts herself, but sent some of ours without the transcripts, so they were incomplete. There were other errors too.</p>

<p>She is no longer with our school. In fact, after a crude remark directly to the seniors in a meeting regarding all the uproar, she was offered to go home immediately or shape up. She knew well in advance they were not renewing her contract.</p>

<p>The kids here do not take the psat or sat. They take the ACT. That info is not sent home (GC refused to do so) , but is posted in the announcements. You can check the ACT website also.</p>

<p>Try not to worry. Can't go back. Maybe there will be other nice sholarships available also in it's place since her scores were so high. Think positive. :)</p>

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What training do GC have? I suspect in many public schools it is very little in the area of college admissions-- they know what it takes to get into the states schools and that is about it.

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<p>Here, their training seems to be more social-work related -- which is great, and needed, but that's a very different thing. At our kids' hs, there is a lot of variability in terms of the knowledge individual GCs have of schools beyond the state flagship / directional state u's where most kids go. And most of their focus is on scholarship aid / help. </p>

<p>And in fairness, if only 5% (number made up) of their students are interested in going beyond our very good state flagship and finances aren't an issue, why should a GC become an expert on small northeastern LAC's, women's colleges, etc.? Heck, I wouldn't if I were her.</p>

<p>In defense of GCs, I was very surprised to see how well informed our GCs kept us during the whole college application period. Our school is predominantly minority with a huge number of first generation college bound kids (who can enroll in AVID program). Communication began junior year in English and Spanish with several seminars for parents and kids on application process, financial aid, etc. Also, weekly emails of scholarship opportunities. We didn't need very much help (5 degrees between the 2 parents) but were impressed with the system. Also, transcripts were sent immediately when requested. So, good counseling can happen, even in low income schools.</p>