The National Merit Scholarship Program, which began in 1955, is an academic competition for recognition and awards. Every year, almost 1.5 million high school students enroll in the program.
The selection index scores for PSAT/NMSQT are determined by the multiplication of the sum of the test scores from writing, reading, language, and math scores. The NMS platform acknowledges the top 50,000 students with the highest scores. The category to which these top students qualify (Commended students or Semifinalists) will be communicated to them by their schools.
What is a National Merit Scholarship?
Every year, corporations and business organizations give Special Scholarships to about 1,000 National Merit Program participants who are exceptional but not Finalists. Students are expected to meet all the standards and requirements set by the sponsors and the NMS program before they can be considered for the Special Scholarship. It is also necessary that they fill out and submit an entry form to the organization that is sponsoring the program. They must also fill out an entry form and submit it to the sponsoring organization. Following that, NMSC contacts a pool of high-scoring individuals via their high schools.
These students, along with representatives from their schools, submit complete scholarship applications. The expert staff at NMSC reviews information about candidates’ abilities, skills, and accomplishments before selecting Special Scholarship awardees. The scholarship could be direct or renewed for a period of four years for undergraduate study. A compilation of corporate entities that facilitate the NMS and/or Special Scholarships are in the PSAT/NMSQT Student Guide.
Categories of National Merit Scholarships for 2022
Merit Scholarships are funded by more than 400 individual sponsors as well as NMSC’s own money. Corporations and firms, company foundations, professional groups, and colleges and universities are all examples of sponsoring organizations.
NMSC sends out a notification to a total of 7,500 students who qualify for the Merit Scholarship award.
There are three categories of merit scholarship awards:
- National Merit $2500 Scholarships: Every Finalist competes for these one-time-payment scholarships, which are provided on the basis of state representation. A group of college admission officers and high school counselors chooses the winners without taking into account the family’s financial situation, college choice, or major and career ambitions.
- Corporate Merit Scholarships: Corporate sponsors can select their awards for children of their workers or members, residents of a community where a firm has operations, or Finalists with career ambitions that the sponsor wants to support.
- College-funded Merit Scholarship awards: Students who qualify for admission and have told the NMSC in due time the sponsor university or college which they chose as first choice will get selected by officials from the sponsor colleges. The scholarship runs for a period of up to four years for undergraduate study.
Every student is required to meet the following criteria to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship:
- The student is expected to take the PSAT/NMSQT in the same year of the program.
- The student should be registered as a high school student advancing towards graduation with plans to gain admission to a college before the fall season after the completion of high school.
Students who do not attend high school in the United States could also qualify for the NMS program, but they are expected to be lawful citizens, residents, or intend to be united state citizen at the quickest possible time permitted by law.
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National Merit Scholarship Application
Students who qualify for the official program entry and meet participation requirement criteria will enter the NMS program by first sitting for the PSAT/NMASQT during their junior year in high school. The PSAT/NMSQT is the standard test for qualification into the competition.
Individual students do not register for the test; instead, high schools do. Students who plan to take the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall should meet with their counselor at the start of the school year to discuss their options.
National merit scholarship qualifying test
To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, you must take the PSAT/NMSQT. Students are required to sit for PSAT/NMSQT before they can qualify for the National Merit Scholarship.
Students with plans to attend high school for four years before starting college full-time should sit for the PSAT/NMSQT during their third year. They will partake in a competition that will take place in the spring of their fourth high school year, the same year they are expected to graduate and start college. Even though some schools urge sophomores to take the PSAT/NMSQT for clarification, if they plan to study for four years, they must retake the test as juniors to be qualified for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Students who plan to leave high school a year earlier than their graduation to attend university could take the PSAT/NMSQT before completion, and they could likely qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program, which allows them to leave high school a year early and attend college full-time. In this case, students must take the PSAT/NMSQT in either their year before the final or during the final year of high school.
Psat for National Merit Scholarship
- Those who take the PSAT/NMSQT in their junior year of high school will be entered into a competition for awards that will be given out once they conclude their senior year.
- Those who take the PSAT/NMSQT in their senior year of high school will be eligible to compete for rewards when they begin their freshman year of college.
- Dual-enrolled students must take the PSAT/NMSQT in their third year of high school (grade 11, junior year) to be considered for the National Merit Scholarship Program. The high school assesses whether a student is dual enrolled and verifies that the student is enrolled in high school.
- Students who take the PSAT/NMSQT in their junior year of high school should be registered in a competition for rewards that will be presented after their senior year is completed.
- Those students who take the PSAT/NMSQT in their last year of high school will be qualified to compete for prizes when they start college the following year.
- To be considered for the NMS program, dual-enrolled students are required to take the PSAT/NMSQT in the third year of their high school tenure. The high school determines whether or not a student is dual-enrolled and confirms that the student is in high school.
- If a student plans to spend five years before entering college full time, they can enroll in the NMS Program by taking the PSAT/NMSQT in their third year of high school and again in their fourth year. Unless NMSC authorizes a formal request for competition admission, the students’ selection Index results will not be eligible for the program.
- The year in which a student takes the PSAT/NMSQT to join the competition and be considered for a scholarship is significant since a student can only enter the competition and be considered for a scholarship once. The student should contact NMSC if they have any doubts about whether they can participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program if his or her educational plans do not match any of the categories or for any other reason.
National Merit Scholarship Deadline (Closing Date)
On or before January 31, 2022, you must submit your letter of reference and all necessary documents to NMSC.
Letter of Recommendation
A letter from both the school and those closest to the student should be submitted, and the letter should include the student’s name, high school name, and location, the year the student entered high school, the year the student will finish high school, and a brief description of the student’s educational pattern.
National Merit Scholarship Winner Selection
Merit Scholarship award recipients are chosen from among the finalists based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments, regardless of gender, color, ethnicity, or religious preference. The Finalists’ academic credentials, PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index score, details about the school’s curriculum and grading system, a letter of recommendation from a high school official, information about the student’s activities and leadership, and the Finalist’s own essay are all factors that are considered by the NMSC.
Semifinalists are chosen on a state-by-state basis to ensure that academically outstanding young people from all sections of the country are represented in this talent pool. Semifinalists are the state’s highest-scoring entrants. The qualifying scores differ from state to state and year to year; however, all Semifinalists have extraordinarily high scores. Semifinalists receive scholarship application materials from NMSC through their high schools.
To be recognized for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists must advance to Finalist status in the competition by fulfilling high academic qualifications and all other conditions specified in the information sent to each Semifinalist.
Commended Students are chosen based on a nationally applicable Selection Index score that varies from year to year and is often lower than the minimum required to be designated Semifinalists in their particular states. Even though Commended Students are not qualified to compete for National Merit Scholarships, they may be eligible for Special Scholarships offered by businesses and organizations.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
What if a student misses the PSAT/NMSQT?
A student who is unable to take the PSAT/NMSQT due to illness, an emergency, or another extenuating reason but meets all other NMSC program requirements may still be eligible to compete. The student or a school authority must write to NMSC as soon as possible following the PSAT/NMSQT administration to obtain information on processes for alternate entrance to the National Merit Scholarship Program.
The student’s name and address, the person making the request’s contact information, the student’s high school’s name and address, and a brief explanation of why the student missed the PSAT/NMSQT should all be included in the alternate entry request.
The earlier the written request is received by NMSC, the better the student’s chances of meeting alternate entry standards. After receiving and processing the request, NMSC will provide alternate entry materials, including program entry instructions and a document that requires the signature of a school administrator.
Is the National Merit Scholarship Grant Taxable
No, the NMSC award is not subject to tax.