National Merit Scholarship Program
Deadline: October 1 – passed
Phone: (847) 866-5100
Maximum Award: varies
To be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program, a student must:
- Take the PSAT/NMSQTｮ 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
- Be enrolled full time as a high school student, progressing normally toward graduation or completion of high school, and planning to enroll full time in college no later than the fall following completion of high school.
- Be a citizen of the United States; or be a permanent U.S. resident (or have applied for permanent residency, the application for which has not been denied) and intend to become a U.S. citizen at the earliest opportunity allowed by law.
Registration for the test is by high school rather than individual student. Interested students should see their counselor at the beginning of the school year to make arrangements to take the PSAT/NMSQT at the school in the fall. Note: For the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program, the PSAT/NMSQT will be administered in October 2020 and January 2021.
The student's responses to items on the PSAT/NMSQT student Answer Sheet Instructions that are specific to NMSC program entry determine whether the individual meets requirements to participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program and qualifies as a commended student or a semifinalist. In September, high scorers are notified through their schools that they have qualified as either a Commended Student or Semifinalist.
To be considered for a National Merit® Scholarship, Semifinalists must advance to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and other requirements. Semifinalist must submit the completed application to their high school official as soon as possible using NMSC’s Online Scholarship Application (OSA). The school official will complete the school’s sections of the application for final transmittal to NMSC.
See web page for detailed information about authorized SAT administrations and score reporting.
In February, Semifinalists are notified by mail at their home addresses if they have advanced to Finalist standing. High school principals are notified and provided with a certificate to present to each Finalist.
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