Really Nervous about Colleges and not getting National Merit

<p>I've been searching CC for a couple years now for references and such about college, but this is the first time I've registered because my Parents have been on my case for the past couple months and have put me in a really tough spot. I'm a Junior, I have pretty good grades at an East Coast Prep school outside of Philly (3.9/4.3), and I got a pretty goot score on my SAT the first time (2240), but I'm going to superscore it again to try to get above 2300. I have decent E.C's for a junior but I'm set to be head of a couple clubs next year as a senior like debate, model U.N, world affairs, my own investment and money management club that I started up, and the stock market club. I thought I was in a really good position, but then my PSAT scores came in and I got well below any commendation for National Merit and that's when my parents flipped. I didn't think National Merit was that important, but apparently according to my parents it is. I couldn't find that much on it, but my sister (who went to Princeton and does interviews for them), says that she's supposed to ask every applicant if they were recognized at all. Is it really that big of a deal? I haven't asked the guidance councelors yet I'm supposed to meet with one of them after Break. </p>

<p>I'm also wondering what were some other E.C's in the realm of economics, business or politics that I could pick up. I've gotten offers to many of those Leadership conferences but theres been a lot of talk on the forums that they're mostly b.s. I've had a job and an internship every summer since going into freshman year and apparently that helps as well. </p>

<p>Mainly I'm concerned whether not getting National merit is going to hurt me when applying to my top schools
Princeton
Stanford
Penn
Northwestern</p>

<p>Whether PSAT scores are going to affect top schools or not, it is debatable. I don't think it is a make or break.</p>

<p>The thing is - you need to look at what you can do now and don't fret about this. Your parents should really push back..you have a great GPA/high scores. You WILL get into a good college..Ivy league is overrated. Once you are in the industry, noone cares where you got your degree. Honestly, it does not matter.</p>

<p>If your sister is in Princeton, she already knows what you need to do. Do something that really interests you over summer..set yourself apart. REmember these colleges get hundreds of valedectorians with NMSF, 2300+ scores and tons of leadership. Go see the admit threads in those colleges. PSAT is a weird one - the curves are harder and your performance on this ONE day isn't going to determine your college.</p>

<p>She went there in 99 I think its a totally different world in the admissions process. I think honestly if anything nm is a tiebreaker not a deciding factor not anything worth fretting about but it would help. I'm just looking for some ecs that would set me apart, I already have a couple awards from student conferences like mock g20 senate and the naimun model un, im just trying to find something big and surprisingly my school doesnt have many resources to help me find something. </p>

<p>Sent from my SCH-I500 using CC App</p>

<p>National Merit is based on the PSAT--it's much less important than your actual SAT scores, your grades, and your accomplishments. It provides some nice scholarships at some schools, but I can't imagine that it's going to make any difference at more selective schools. You can't do anything about it, anyway, except to prep well for the SAT retake.</p>

<p>I would double-check with your GC to see if it's even worthwhile trying to increase your SAT score which is already very good just another 60 points. There could probably be better uses of your time to help set you apart from "the pack," including working on your essay, doing some worthwhile volunteer work (particularly in leadership positions), and others.</p>

<p>I'm already retaking it to try to get above 2300, but I was reading that most of the "selective schools" like to see most of the EC's, work, volunteering etc. to be done in one area or passion, but I've been struggling to find things to match what I already have put time into, I've already volunteered and worked for a political campaign, is that something that is worth continuing in 2012? Can I write that down on my resume or what that be too subjective?</p>

<p>Out of 4 schools listed, only Northwestern recognizes national merit and provides a scholarship. The rest officially don't care other to see it as an honor.</p>

<p>Worry about your SAT scores and subject tests since there is very little you can do at this point about a one time test.</p>

<p>Working in a political campaign is a great activity.</p>

<p>I wouldn't worry about NMS. Really all it means is how well you did on your PSAT. It's a nice honor, but shouldn't be make or break anywhere.</p>