PSAT - first cut for National Merit Scholarship

<p>My d received notification today that she made the first cut for NMS.</p>

<p>The letter indicates that she can have her PSAT scores sent to two schools.</p>

<p>Will sending her scores to schools she has already visited buy her anything?</p>

<p>Her top schools thus far are Mount Holyoke and Wesleyan.</p>

<p>Congratulations to your d! :) I think the initial "expression of interest" or whatever it's called nowadays tips a school off to the fact that the high-scoring student is seriously looking at it. A student can visit scores of schools, but can only notify two of interest via NM. I'd suggest sending the notification to the two schools on the list that appear (or are thought) to weight interest most heavily. You can check the common data set for whether the school considers interest as an admission criterion.</p>

<p>Even if a school is your d's current favorite, if it doesn't consider interest, there's no point in sending these scores there. By the time apps are in, every school on her list will see that your d is commended or a semi-finalist.</p>

<p>At this point, naming the two schools really doesn't mean much as it will probably just get her on the schools' mailing lists. Neither Mt. Holyoke nor Wesleyan offer National Merit scholarships so it's not likely to "buy her anything" at those specific schools, unless they are schools that track a student's interest and consider that interest during the admissions decision..</p>

<p>So how do we determine which schools consider "expression of interest"?</p>

<p>Is this one of the categories shown for schools at the Common App web site?</p>

<p>worried_mom: that's what I thought, but my d wants to send the scores to those two schools because she likes them best!</p>

<p>Does the collegeboard web site include "interest" in its factors considered area for schools?</p>

<p>Check each school's Common Data Set. Under "relative importance of each of the following academic or non-academic factors," you'll see the weight each school assigns to factors such as GPA, curriculum, talent, interest, etc. As an example, here's the most recent W & M CDS:
<a href="http://web.wm.edu/ir/CDS/cds_0910_part_c.pdf%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://web.wm.edu/ir/CDS/cds_0910_part_c.pdf&lt;/a> (Look at page 2, question C7.)</p>

<p>You can also get an idea of what schools track interest by reading each school's CC forum, or asking on the Parent's Forum. Your high school's GC may know about some schools, and adcoms often will mention how their college views interest during an info session.</p>

<p>Ask the colleges if they give goodies (you can do this anonymously!). Rice gives free apps for many reasons, one of which is sending one of your first-cut scores to them.</p>

<p>for what it's worth, when I qualified for National Merit a few years ago, Wesleyan (where I attend) was one of the two schools I "notified." I got a letter from the Dean of Admission a few weeks later thanking me for my interest in Wesleyan and encouraging me to visit campus. can't hurt to send the scores to Wesleyan...</p>

<p>Hmm, very interesting smartalic.</p>

<p>I checked Wesleyan's Common Data Set and they do not consider level of interest, but perhaps sending the scores is counted in a different way.</p>

<p>Mount Holyoke does consider level of interest, but does not consider it important.</p>

<p>S2 got a 203 so he will not make the semi finalist cut off. He is worried that if he sends his scores to his top 2 choices they will look unfavorably at his low score. So many decisions......</p>

<p>Kajon, that is what I am wondering too - won't they just look at the SAT scores and not really care one way or the other if they receive the PSAT?</p>

<p>I'm not sure they see the actual score. can anyone confirm this?</p>

<p>The letter says</p>

<p>
[quote]
CPRS [College Plans Reporting Service] will provide your name, home address, high school name and address, 2009 PSAT/NMSQT scores and tentative college major and career choice to the two colleges you name.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>thank you. I don't see how a lower score on the PSAT could adversely affect anything, though.</p>

<p>I don't think which schools you send to makes much of a difference but of course doesn't hurt; there are other ways to indicate interest (and I am sure MHC and Wesleyan appreciate interest to matter what the CDS indicates). In any case, all schools your D applies to will know that she is at least a Commended Scholar or Semifinalist, Finalist, or whatever, which is of course a nice distinction to be able to put on one's application.</p>

<p>We are in the same boat as Kajon - son got the letter yesterday, but score is not high enough to be a semifinalist. I am sure he will be commended and not NMF.</p>

<p>I was also wondering last night if it would make a difference where we sent the scores. Should we send it to someplace he is already visited and is interested in (like Vanderbilt)? Or should he send it to some place like USC where he is interested, but will not be able to visit (and they give out a lot of scholarships)?</p>

<p>Personally I would send it to a school which is most likely to award a scholarship based on some kind of NM status.</p>

<p>^^^ That's what I was thinking too. But I don't think there are scholarships for Commeneded. But I know that USC gives out a fair amount of scholarships, even to non NMF as well as many to NMF. Would your advice still apply in this case?</p>

<p>Well, of course I don't actually have any experience with this, which is why I started the thread. :)</p>

<p>But it seems reporting scores to schools that give scholarships for good test scores is more likely to have benefit than sending scores to schools that don't generally give merit scholarships (or, if they do, where scores don't play much of a role).</p>

<p>fendrock, does the letter come via mail to your house, or did they give it to him at school?</p>