National Merit Scholarship 2020/2021 Check Application Guide

Filed in Scholarships Update by on August 25, 2020

National Merit Scholarship 2020/2021 Check Application Guide.

National Merit Scholarship: Talking about the National Merit Scholarship Program I am referring to the United States academic scholarship competition for recognition and university scholarships.

It is administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a privately funded, not-for-profit organization based in Evanston, Illinois. The program began in the year 1955. More details below;

National Merit Scholarship

It is a Scholarship that is officially given out by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). National Merit Scholarship Corporation conducts an annual competition for recognition and scholarships.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is open to all students who meet entry requirements. In the year 2015, it also ran the National Achievement Scholarship Program which was reserved for African-American students.

If you are a high school junior student or the parent of a high school junior student, it is a very good idea to familiarize yourself with the National Merit Scholarship qualifications.

In this article, I will be discussing the National Merit Scholarship.

Facts About the National Merit Scholarship

There are three different types of National Merit Scholarships based on the sponsoring organization.

  1. The National Merit Scholarship Corp. sponsors 2,500 scholarships worth $2,500. These are one-time awards.
  2. Corporations sponsor around another 1,000 scholarships. These can be one-time awards up to $5,000 or renewable awards ranging from $500 to $10,000 a year.

Most corporate scholarships are awarded to children whose parents are associated with the corporation or live in the establishment’s community.

  1. Sponsored Scholarships. This is the largest of the three types, around 4,000 in 2015. These are renewable and are also worth up to $2,000 a year.

Mostly, less than a third of the scholarships, sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation itself, come with no strings attached. And they are only one-time awards.

National Merit Scholarship Qualifications

In order to be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program, a student must meet the following qualifications.

  • The student must take the PSAT/NMSQT during his or her 3rd year (junior year) of high school 2. The student must be in high school and also plan to enroll in college full time by the fall after his or her high school graduation and the student must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. resident with the intention of becoming a U.S. citizen.
  • If a student meets these requirements, he or she will automatically be eligible to participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP).
  • Of the about 1.5 million juniors who take the PSAT/NMSQT each year, approximately 50,000 juniors with the highest PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index scores (or total PSAT scores) who meet the eligibility requirements described above qualify for NMSP recognition.
  • That is, roughly the top 3% of 11th-grade testers will qualify. Note that the Selection Index qualifying scores vary from year to year and state to state, as students are selected for NMSP recognition from each of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
  • During the April following the PSAT/NMSQT administration, these 50,000 students are invited to select two colleges to which the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) will provide a reference.
  • During the September following the PSAT/NMSQT administration, approximately 2/3 of those 50,000 students will receive Letters of Commendation recognizing their academic abilities and potential.
  • Commended students are not qualified for National Merit scholarships. The remaining 1/3 of the 50,000 students qualify as National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists.
  • To view a list of the most recent qualifying scores by state, visit the National Merit Scores page.
  • Once a student qualifies as a Semifinalist, he or she must complete the Merit Scholarship Application and submit it to the NMSC in order to move on to the next round of qualifications (Finalist) and to be considered for a National Merit Scholarship.
  • Scholarships are awarded based on skills, abilities, and accomplishments as exhibited through a student’s application materials.

Commended Students, Semifinalists & Finalists

Let us take a moment to discuss the differences between Commended Students, Semifinalists, & Finalists.

Commended Students

The difference between commended students and semifinalists is straightforward enough:

Commended students are recognized on their academic performance, but do not advance in the formal competition for Merit Scholarships. That is scholarships officially given out by the Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

Semifinalist Students

Semifinalists, on the other hand, constitute a smaller group than Commended Students (about 15,000 Students instead of 35,000), resulting in the highest-scoring test-takers in each state.

These Semifinalist Students are then qualified to become Finalists by completing their application to the NMSC by showing that they meet all academic standards required by the organization.

This required information is provided by the Scholarship Corporation at the same time students are notified of their Semifinalist status.

Most of it is fairly straightforward; a full, completed application, an extremely solid academic record, a letter of recommendation, an essay, and taking SAT with a similarly strong score thus confirming PSAT performance.

Finalist Students

Typically, about 95% of students who are Merit Semifinalists go on to become Finalists, so making that Semifinalist list is really the biggest achievement that very often predicts Finalist success. While Commended and Semifinalist Students may still receive “Special Scholarships” sponsored by external businesses and organizations, only Finalists receive official NMSC scholarships.

Staying motivated and committing yourself to all these goals will put you in the best position toward becoming a National Merit Finalist.

Don’t forget, only 15,000 students (< 1%) are chosen as Finalists, and of those, only about 7,500 students receive scholarships.

On a percentage basis, it is even more competitive than getting into the Ivy League, so even with all your hard work, you’ll still need a certain amount of luck!

NSMC notifies students if they have become finalists in February of their senior year. Scholarship notifications go out in March. By that time, most of your college applications will be done and submitted.

Benefits for National Merit Scholars

There are many benefits to being a National Merit Scholar

Enrollment & Advising

Merit Scholars are able to participate in one-on-one academic advising and are granted early enrollment privileges.

Study Abroad

Students are able to use their Merit Scholarship to study abroad in one of our numerous partner universities worldwide.

If you are able to complete all the steps mentioned above, you can be confident that you have done all you can, now hopefully the Scholarship Corporation will recognize all your hard work.

CSN Team.

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