Tag Archives: National Merit Semifinalist

Money Makes the World Go ‘Round – A Brief History of the PSAT/NMSQT

Money

The PSAT/NMSQT is no ordinary standardized test. As the qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship, the PSAT/NMSQT is the Cerberus that guards the gates to a $2500 scholarship prize and a slew of other desirable benefits — a leg up in the admissions process, the prestige of being a National Merit Scholar, and sometimes even full scholarships to certain universities. When money is involved, the rules are different; when money is involved, everyone wants a slice of the pie. Unlike the SAT, whose changes have historically been content-driven, the PSAT/NMSQT, for better or for worse, has evolved around financial … Continue reading

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Be a National Merit Scholar! Part I – Qualifications and Overview

PSAT

Every year approximately 1.5 million students participate in the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT), otherwise known as the Preliminary SAT or PSAT. Of these 1.5 million students, approximately fifty five thousand students will score high enough to be recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program. Needless to say, qualifying is extremely competitive and a very big deal. Whether you qualify as a Finalist, Semifinalist, or even as a Commended Student, a high enough score on the PSAT will give you access to otherwise inaccessible opportunities. This is especially true in the context of scholarship and financial aid. Practically every … Continue reading

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What PSAT Scores Make the Cut for National Merit?

MapofUS

Now that PSAT scores have been received, the question that most people want answered revolves around the cutoff scores for National Merit Semifinalist standing. In other words: What is the minimum score that will qualify me to be a National Merit Semifinalist? This is certainly an immensely significant cutoff, mainly due to the benefits and scholarships that come with being a National Merit Scholar. As mentioned before here, the 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists from the class of 2014 will be notified sometime in August/September. As you eagerly await this announcement, here is some context for determining how close your score … Continue reading

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What does it really take to get into the Ivy League? Part II: PSAT, SAT, and ACT

This is the foliage of destiny.

Last time, we discussed the number one, most important part of your application: grades. In this post, we will turn to the next most important, and easy to measure, part of your application: standardized test scores. Should I take the SAT or the ACT? Do I need a perfect score? Do I have to be a National Merit Finalist? All these questions and more will be addressed in this post. First of all, let’s discuss the two most common exams requested by almost all colleges: the SAT and the ACT. Elite, Ivy League-type colleges accept both the SAT and the … Continue reading

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What is National Merit Commended Scholar 2011?

NM

So you take the PSAT and then what happens? What’s all the big fuss? Earning a National Merit Scholarship, that’s what! Let us explain. If you are a Junior in high school, you are eligible to qualify for National Merit Scholarships by receiving a high score on the PSAT which is taken in October. Your PSAT results are mailed by December. Now, in order to qualify as a Junior, first, you need to be a U.S. citizen. Second, you need a high selectivity index score that lies within the 99th percentile range. Being awarded as a National Merit Scholar can … Continue reading

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How Do I Become a National Merit Semifinalist?

honor award

The National Merit Scholarship is an honor awarded to 2500 high school students every year to recognize their academic excellence. Bill Gates, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos all count themselves as members of this elite group. Most people know that the first step to becoming a National Merit Scholar is to take the PSAT, which is also known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT), but after that, the process is unclear. You’re simply told to wait for the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) to contact you. How exactly does one become a National … Continue reading

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