There’s only one way to get a shot at a prestigious National Merit Scholarship. That’s taking the PSAT in October of your junior year. The National Merit Scholarship Program is an 18-month-long competition for academic recognition and college scholarships. Here’s how it works.
The National Merit Scholastic Awards Program
Every year, high school students enter the National Merit Scholarship Program. In the coming months, these students are expected to take the PSAT/NMSQT and the SAT, or a competing test, to see if they are eligible to compete.
On July 1, a committee will review these test scores and select about 2,500 juniors and seniors to compete for a chance to win an annual $2,500 scholarship. Of these, about 8,000 juniors will be offered an opportunity to win one of around 1,000 National Merit Scholarships. What’s on the Winning Scholarships List?
The 1,000 scholarships that will be awarded to the highest scoring candidates will be a combination of cash and merit-based scholarships. There are two types of scholarships that will be awarded to National Merit scholarship winners.
What are the Benefits of Being a National Merit Scholar?
The scholarship program provides recognition and financial assistance to high school students who have excelled in the classroom. They get awards of up to $500 and trips to national competitions.
These students go on to compete for colleges and scholarships, as well as jobs and internships. You can see a complete list of this year’s finalists here. You can find the official rules here.
To make sure you’re eligible to apply for one of these scholarships, you’ll need to have a good GPA and scores in the upper half of the qualifying SAT test for your grade level. You’ll also need to complete all of the application requirements. If you think you qualify, go ahead and apply! National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced on January 15, 2019.
How to Qualify for the National Merit Scholarship
Take the PSAT. Also, apply to two organizations associated with the competition: the NMSC and SCORE (which provides volunteer advice and mentoring in math and science).
How Much Does the Merit Scholarship Can Buy? A guaranteed spot in college, depending on scholarship criteria and where you want to go.
That’s great. But there are a few other benefits that can come with earning a National Merit Scholarship: Perks like helping pay for books Insurance benefits Financial support for summer classes Local chapter/network All good things.
Check Your Score for Free How do you know if you’ll qualify? Take the PSAT or NMSQT and look up your score. If your score is good, you’re already well on your way to the National Merit Scholarship! You can also check your score yourself.
What is the Value of a National Merit Scholarship?
The average National Merit Scholarship is worth about $31,000, which will give the winner a significant financial boost, and is more than the amount some colleges require to offer a full scholarship.
How Many Scholarships Do Students Get? About 24,000 students nationwide receive National Merit Scholarships each year.
The top scorers in the 2018 graduating class will be announced in October 2018, and about 2,500 will be selected for a total of 16,000 prizes. Which Is the Scoring System? The competition consists of two parts. In the first phase, each student must earn scores of just 590 to 1600 on the PSAT. Those scores are submitted online to the National Merit Scholarship Program.
If you are a young student who was recently accepted to college, congratulations. It’s always a big step. But don’t forget to stay focused on getting good grades and staying on top of your class. That’s something you can control, no matter where you go to college. Good luck.