The National Merit Scholarship is a scholarship competition for students enrolled at high schools. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation organizes the competition test. Applicants can appear in preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. A total of 35 Million dollars worth scholarship is awarded to over 8000 selected candidates. Test is conducted 2 years before the allotment of the scholarship. National Merit Scholarship offers over 8000 scholarships to the high school seniors for pursuing college degree programs.
The scholarship competition takes about 18 months. The registration process starts in Fall and ends in Spring after the next years. So those who applied in 2022 will receive the scholarship award in 2024. Every Year almost 4 million students apply and around 1.5 million meet the eligibility requirements to enter the program.
Entry Requirements for National Merit Scholarship
To enter the 2024 National Merit Program, a student needs to meet all of the following requirements.
- Enrolled as a high school student (traditional or homeschooled) expecting to complete the high school by 2024
- Those planning to start college from Fall 2024
- Enrolled in a high school in the United States, Columbia district or US commonwealth and territories
- Take the 2022 PSAT/NMSQT in the specified year of the high school program and no later than the third year in grades 9 through 12, regardless of grade classification or educational pattern
When to Take the Test for National Merit Scholarships
Students must appear in PSAT/NMSQT in the specified year of high school. For usual four year school students, they can take the exam in the third year of high school or more specifically in grade 11.
National Merit Scholarships Timeline and Decision Dates
50,000 High Scorers
In April 2023, NMSC will confirm the eligibility of students with school principals whose scores will qualify them for recognition in the fall of 2023.
34,000 Commended Students.
In late September 2023, more than two-thirds of the 50,000 high scorers will receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. Although Commended Students will not continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships, some may be candidates for Special Scholarships provided by corporate and business sponsors
In early September 2023, about one-third of the 50,000 high scorers will be notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists—the highest-scoring entrants in each state. NMSC will notify them through their schools and provide scholarship application materials explaining requirements to advance in the competition for National Merit Scholarships to be offered in 2024.
In February 2024, Semifinalists who meet academic and other requirements will be notified that they have advanced to Finalist standing and will receive Certificates of Merit attesting to their recognition in the program. All National Merit Scholarship winners (Merit Scholar® awardees) will be chosen from this group of Finalists based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments.
800 Special Scholarship recipients
Beginning in March 2024, NMSC will notify winners of Special Scholarships provided by corporate sponsors. Scholarship recipients will be chosen from candidates who will be sent scholarship application materials through their high schools in November 2023. Although not Finalists, scholarship recipients will be outstanding students who meet their sponsors’ eligibility criteria. Sponsors will handle public announcement of their Special Scholarship winners.
7,250 Merit Scholarship winners
Beginning in March 2024, NMSC will notify winners of the three types of National Merit Scholarships:
- National Merit $2500 Scholarships
- Corporate-sponsored scholarships
- College-sponsored scholarships In April, May, June, and July, NMSC will release names of Merit Scholar designees to news media for public announcement.
Minimum PSAT Scores Needed to qualify for National Merit Scholarship
If you are wondering how much score is needed to qualify for National Merit scholarship, we are providing here the cut-off score of each state last year. From this list, you can easily calculate your chances of getting the scholarship. The cut off score vary by state, so you need to find out the least cut off national merit scholarship score of your state. However, the average cut off score was 218.
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