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How to Qualify for the National Merit Scholarship

What is the National Merit Scholarship Program?

This program is a national competition between high school juniors who are taking the

PSAT/NMSQT to gain recognition and possibly be awarded a scholarship due to high PSAT


How to win a National Merit Scholarship?

Students may qualify for the program by receiving a high PSAT score in their junior year of high school. After having become a semifinalist or a commended student they must apply to become a finalist. This does not give students the chance to earn the National Merit Scholarship but they may also be exposed to more scholarship opportunities.

What are the eligibility requirements?

● Students must take the exam during the fall semester of their junior year.

● Must be a full-time high school student, have a good academic standpoint, and plan to

attend college the fall semester after having graduated.

● Must attend high school in either the United States, the District of Columbia, or be a U.S.

citizen, or have a permanent residence in the United States while studying abroad.

What does it mean to be a commended student?

If you are a commended student you have scored in the top 3-4%. These students may not

apply for the official Merit Scholarship, but they may be a candidate for other scholarships

offered by businesses and corporations.

What does it mean to be a semifinalist?

If you are a semifinalist you have scored at the top of your state. This is a great achievement to put on your resume/college applications. Once you have received this news you must apply to become a finalist, giving students the option to apply for other scholarships as well. To apply as a finalist, the student must submit their high school transcripts, letter of recommendation, a personal essay, and SAT or ACT score.

What does it mean to be a finalist?

As a finalist, you will be notified in February of your senior year and will be sent a certificate of


What Merit scholarships may be awarded:

1. National Merit $2500 Scholarships. All finalists are evaluated in order to receive this

award. This is done by both college admissions officers and high school counselors.

2. Corporate Sponsored Merit Scholarships. This award is directed towards children of

their employers or members or those who the company may want to encourage in terms

of career plans.

3. College Sponsored Merit Scholarships. Officials may select finalists who have listed

their institute to be their top choice and have already been admitted to that college. This

scholarship may be renewed throughout all four years.

What other scholarships are available?

Other scholarships are offered through corporates and businesses, but the student must fit their criteria to apply and be awarded. These scholarships may range from a one-time award to those that are renewable.

Find out more information about college admissions, our programs, or on our student-exclusive scholarship program by visiting our website:

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