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How much does National Merit Finalist really help?

KinoscorpiaKinoscorpia Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
Does anyone know of the actual statistics regarding this award? How much does it help your application? Obviously I'm not slacking off in the general academics and relying solely on NMF (3.8 / 4.0 weighted, 35 ACT), but how much cushion does NMF actually give?

Thanks for any input

Replies to: How much does National Merit Finalist really help?

  • madbeanmadbean Registered User Posts: 3,236 Senior Member
    I don't believe NMF is actually considered. Certainly, for the early-notified candidates for the top merit awards, USC won't have any NM standings yet (Some note that they are puzzled to be invited to interview for Presidential when they are also NMF), and for all admissions, NMF is only self-reported at best. What will matter are the other stats you list, which will put you in a competitive position as they are excellent! But there is no cushion. Each year highly gifted applicants are miffed to not be admitted, and some whose stats are a bit lower get in. The admissions at USC take into account many things, not just gpa and tests. Best of luck.
  • droppeditdroppedit Registered User Posts: 933 Member
    @madbean -- it does seem strange for an NMF to be interviewed for a scholarship that they will get automatically ... and, by having that scholarship, it seems like USC *wants* NMF kids to attend. I assume they can get the PSAT scores from CB so they would have a good idea of an applicant's NMSF status. My D18 will probably be NMF and wants to go to USC but I can see us sitting in limbo-land this time next year -- not accepted early yet eligible for the scholarship if accepted RD.
  • madbeanmadbean Registered User Posts: 3,236 Senior Member
    edited March 2017
    We've been told that USC admissions does not check PSAT scores independently--and that seems to make sense since it would only be an indicator of who might received NMF (differs by state). And SATs or ACTs show more about how a student tests when more seasoned. (Most NMFs do even better on SATs, etc.) The fact that USC rewards NMF so highly ($), I believe, may have more to do with boosting their rankings if # of NMFs is one of the assessment points for USNWR. I'm not sure about that. But I understand how curious, anxious and powerless so many top students with NMF status must feel at this situation. I'm sure you notice the CC boards for all the ivies and excellent FA schools have similar gnashing of teeth: waiting is so hard. Hopefully, students have many good choices on their lists, from more reasonably priced state universities--some with honors colleges--to well-endowed schools who may provide meaningful FA grants to middle class households. Once all the waiting is over, people are generally happy where they land. But it's hard to be a mid-income parent at this time. It is impossible for many of us to pay $250K per private college student, and so our aggravation on waiting for answers from USC (with their tempting NMF scholarship on the line) grows. Wishing all good news in 3 weeks.
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