Will I become a National Merit Finalist with a C on transcript?

As said in the title, I have 5 B’s 1 C and the rest A’s on my transcript. My gpa is 4.38 (weighted) and 3.7 unweighted. Will I make finalist? Thanks

National Merit Semifinals are determined by your PSAT score not your GPA. National Honor Society does use your GPA.

Program Recognition

Of the 1.5 million entrants, some 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores (calculated by doubling the sum of the Reading, Writing and Language, and Math Test scores) qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program. In September, these high scorers are notified through their schools that they have qualified as either Commended Students or Semifinalists.

Commended Students

In late September, more than two-thirds (about 34,000) of the approximately 50,000 high scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. Commended Students are named based on a nationally applied Selection Index score that may vary from year to year and is typically below the level required for participants to be named Semifinalists in their respective states. Although Commended Students do not continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships, some of these students do become candidates for Special Scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.


In early September, about 16,000 students, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, are notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists. To ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, Semifinalists are designated on a state-representational basis. Semifinalists are the highest scoring entrants in each state. Qualifying scores vary from state to state and from year to year, but the scores of all Semifinalists are extremely high. NMSC provides scholarship application materials to Semifinalists through their high schools. To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists must advance to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and all other requirements explained in the information provided to each Semifinalist. View the Requirements and Instructions for Semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program for more information about what Semifinalists must do. (Adobe Acrobat Reader is required.)


In February, some 15,000 Semifinalists are notified that they have advanced to Finalist standing. High school principals are also notified and provided with a Certificate of Merit to present to each Finalist.

1 Like

I don’t think you will have a problem making NMF with a 3.7UW GPA and only one C. I know a student in this last cycle who made NMF with a lower unweighted GPA (about 3.4) although I am not sure that they had any C’s. Anyway, I can’t imagine a single C will stop you. Good luck!

One of my kids had a C and still got NMF. I think you will be fine.

1 Like

Hello, what state was your child in? Also what type of class was the C in , AP/ Dual enrollement or regular? Also, was the C in a quarter, timester, semester or yearlong term? Thank you

It was an AP course for the semester. The state doesn’t matter.

How well did you score in your PSAT? See vpa2019’s detailed response above.

my index is 221 in NC, so I think I’m safe to make semifinalist. I am just unsure of my chances to make finalist

1 Like

~90% of NMSF make Finalist. Mostly it seems like those that are not in the top quarter, have SAT scores that aren’t close to the PSAT or character issues.


Same answer as when you asked on Reddit….

1 Like