S24 missed NM Commended by 1 index point (206)

My S ('24) is bummed that he missed commended status by just one index point --206. He’s been working on his Comm. App. and we’re wondering if he could still put in the honors section that he scored within the 98th percentile at least? (since he did achieve the “honor” of being among that top 2%). Has anyone listed it on Comm. App. in some way? It’s even more disappointing for his UC application which is “test blind” entirely (Commended status or NMSF is the only way to show them that you have good scores without actually seeing any scores and we are instate CA). Thanks for any advice, even if you tell me that no he shouldn’t put anything in the honors section since he didn’t officially reach commended. I understand, but thought I would ask in case anyone else thought of a way.

I wouldn’t - when he has a test score (SAT/ACT) - it will show. I mean, you either are or you aren’t. One point away isn’t…and frankly, even if he was, it likely wouldn’t matter.

Your son will shine through his grades, his activities, his essay and what others say about him. Assuming his test is similar, he’ll shine then too. But a PSAT score won’t matter.

Since you’re applying to CA schools, then yes, you’ll get nothing from it or other components but unfortunately, it’s not really anything that you can grasp on.

Hopefully the rest of your son’t portfolio matches, though.

Best of luck.


Thanks, that’s what I figured. Yes, he has a good SAT score (1380). He didn’t take the ACT. He was hoping he’d have commended to put in honors section, mostly for the UC App. which will not show any test scores. I appreciate your honesty.

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I’m not an AO but I suspect it wouldn’t matter even if he had it. .

Is he looking at privates or out of state to the point he could use his score at the schools where it would add value ?

He’s applying to 4 Common App. colleges (2 private and 2 public OOS), and 7 UC’s. He really has his heart set on the UC’s, so thats why not reaching commended is more disappointing than it normally would be.

Thank you. You’re right. His essays, EC’s, will help him shine. He has a 4.08 and good rigor. No teacher recs or scores seen with UC App.,


I think the commended wouldn’t matter so best of luck to him in achieving his goal - but there are many fine schools and as long as you have an assured and affordable admit he’d be happy to attend, he’ll be fine.

If he doesn’t get in, it won’t be because of missing commended is my point. So tell him it’s ok !!! He’s not missing anything.


NM commended (207 this year) is top 3-4% nationwide. NMSF in CA (221) is top 1% in CA and top 0.x% nationwide. NMSF in a “weak” PSAT state like West Virginia (207) is top 1% in that state and top 3-4% nationwide. So missing the NM commended cutoff by 1 index point (206) isn’t 98th percentile nationwide nor in CA. That would be approximately 96th nationwide, 85-90th (rough guess) in CA, and 98th in a state like West Virginia.


Let it go. One doesn’t put awards that one “almost” got on a list of awards.


I would say…no. I’m not sure there is any point in doing so. If he is submitting his test scores, the colleges will see where he scored. And for the UCs, they will be looking at all the other parts of his application.

He needs to just let this go.

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UCs did not give test scores as much importance relative to grades even before COVID-19. Now that they do not consider them at all, it is likely that test score based awards are similarly not considered.

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Thank you for everyone’s help. I agree with what you’re all saying. Just to be clear, we were not going to put false information in his applications. According to the PSAT score sheet, his score of 1380 isvin the 98th percentile (nationally, not just for CA).

He is moving on! I will move on too :).


The UCs are test blind. That means that they don’t want to know your test scores. They aren’t looking for ways that a student might sneak in that they are good test takers.

The UCs evaluate 13 criteria. Each UC campus evaluates or weights the criteria differently. Spend time on the admission pages (as well as social media and You Tube channels) of each campus to learn how they evaluate applications.

Focus on providing the UC campuses the information that they are asking for, and that they will evaluate, not on something that they have said that they don’t want to see.


S24 got a 222 index which in our state does not make NMSF. We were spicy about it for a while, now just moved on. None of this info is going to make or break his application (either of our S). But we are allowed to think about it for a few days, ha!

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Yes, he’s my 4th to go through this process. I will take your advice and watch You tubes specific to the UC’s. D22 had ELC (top 9% of hs, which is put in by their hs counselor into their app., not the student) and commended for the UC app. D22 applied to 3 UC campuses and was accepted to 2. I will say that we have lived in CA for 10 years and its gotten more and more difficult to be admitted into a UC. Most of her friends were denied or waitlisted at every UC they applied. I can see the graphs from their hs Naviance and honestly, I understand why a student would want to have ELC or NM anything on their UC app. I am a bit rusty, so I will focus on the 13 criteria and continuing to tell him how GREAT he’s doing. He’s working on the PIQ’s already. Thank you again. I know you all really know your stuff.

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There is no evidence that the UCs will give your app any “points” for this. This does appear to be a priority to them and there are many other things that they explicitly state that they care about more.

And, no, I don’t think this is worth listing anywhere. He did a great job and of course it’s disappointing to get so close but, imo, without the actual official acknowledgement, this is roughly the equivalent of “also played,” especially if he plans to (re)take the SAT/ACT. That will be the score that matters and he will have a chance to show his testing proficiency there.

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Your son likely did better in math than in EBRW to be 98th percentile in total score (1350) and yet “only” 96th percentile in the selection index (206). College Board’s formula decides to give EBRW twice the weight of math (more precisely, it adds up reading score, writing and language score, and math score). Hence the discrepancy. Regardless, like others have said your son is doing excellent and will be very successful in college.


ELC is determined by UC when it recalculates the applicant’s GPA and compared it to the high school’s top 9% benchmark (UC recalculated) GPA from a recent previous class.

The high school counselor should be able to tell the student what the benchmark GPA is, and then the student can do the UC GPA recalculation to compare.


Yes, this designation (if you get it) is automatic when you complete the application. The counselor does not need to add anything to the UC app. The portal calculates this based on the courses and grades you enter and will tell you if you receive the designation when you hit the submit button. It will thus be noted on your UC app when the AOs review it. You do not need to do anything special to add it.

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My personal opinion is that the PIQs are really key for several of the UCs (especially the most competitive ones). This is where you can connect the dots to tell your story and where you can set yourself apart from all the other “average excellent” applicants with the same classes and the same grades.

Oh, I didn’t realize that. So, the spring before senior year she brought home a form from the hs counselor saying she was in the top 9% of hs. I had to sign it for them to release the info. to the UC’s, and it mentioned ELC. I am now wondering if there is the top 9% for hs and then the top 9% of the state (?). Yes, once she submitted her application, the top 9% showed up in her page where you find the application status.

Anyway, this is why I am confused and why I assumed the counselor had something to do with the ELC with App.