National Merit Scholarship Boosts College Credentials
Every October of each year, about 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools enter the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which serves as an initial screen of program entrants. The National Merit Scholarship Competition (NMSC) uses Selection Index Scores calculated by doubling the sum of the Math, Reading, Writing and Language scores to determine 50,000 high scoring participants who qualify for program recognition. This year, the NMSC announced that the cut off score for the class of 2018 is 211.
NMSC Commended Students
Out of 1.5 million entrants, only 50,000 are considered high scorers, from which only 34,000 are commended and receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of outstanding academic promise but they will not continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarship. However, Commended Students are qualified candidates for Special Scholarships, offered by businesses and corporations.
Out of the 34,000 Commended Students, about 16,000 students, representing less than 1% of the nations high school graduating seniors, will qualify as Semifinalists. Last year, the Selection Index (SI) for Virginia was 221, and 219 for New York. It is predicted that the SI will increase up by approximately 2 points this year.
A Semifinalist must fulfill several additional requirements and advance to the Finalist level of the competition before being considered for a National Merit Scholarship. Approximately 90% (about 15,000) of the Semifinalists are expected to become Finalists and receive a Certificate of Merit attesting to their distinguished performance in the competition.
From Commendation to Finalists, these are all great credentials when you apply for top colleges and universities. Plan ahead and be strategic.
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By Krishna Belino Cart