National Merit Scholarship

Thousands, perhaps even millions of high school students, that’s who! Each year, Juniors in high school take the PSAT, hoping to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship. However, becoming a National Merit Scholar is not an easy process. After taking the PSAT in the fall, students have to wait usually a few months until the results are announced and the letters are mailed out. A student initially will know his score, but assuming that the scores are high, will have to wait on the results. Some students who score well will be commended scholars, but not advance. A few fortunate students will qualify for the National Merit Semifinals.

Who Wants to Win a National Merit Scholarship?

A few of those students will advance to the Finals, where they will compose an essay and that essay along with a recommendations from teachers or other educators will be the deciding factor on whether or not these students become National Merit Scholarship recipients. Beginning in March, the students will be informed as to whether they have been awarded the scholarship. The scholarships are funded from a variety of sources, ranging form independent donors to colleges and universities as well as corporations.

National Merit Scholarship

The scholarships are $2,500 which seems like a small amount when compared to the work it takes to achieve this award. However, in addition to the scholarship amount, many colleges will be willing to award large scholarships in order to attract National Merit Scholars. Even being a commended scholar, a semifinalist or a finalist looks impressive when applying to college.

So, even if a student has not achieved the high honor of being a National Merit Scholar, he can still be assured of a high scholarship from a good college of university. One of the best ways to increase one’s chances of being recognized for a National Merit Scholarship is preparation. Students today recognize the importance of achieving such honors and have planned accordingly. PSAT preparatory classes are offered at most schools and some students will even hire tutors in order to raise their scores.

The PSAT may even be taken sophomore year or earlier just for practice, and for a student who is not accustomed to standardized testing, the practice is beneficial even though the scores will not count until the junior year of high school. So, once again, who wants to win a National Merit Scholarship? You do, of course!

What the National Merit Scholarship does for our country

It seems that in this day and age there is so much attention paid towards those organizations which are doing things wrong and not enough focus on those such as the National Merit Scholarship which are making a positive difference. The national Merit Scholarship was started in 1955 and awards over 10,000 scholarships each year. This program rewards excellence in high school academics by making the dream of going to a good school a reality.

Over 1.5 million students apply each year.

Over 8000 of the applicants are given the Merit Scholarship award. Each 2500 additional $2500 scholarships are given out to finalists. Many corporations and colleges are also partnered to make sure that those with potential to either serve academia or become industry leaders are not left behind due to lack of funding.

Corporate sponsors have created awards for applicants who intend to pursue particular college majors or careers which may be of particular interest or benefit to them. The National Merit Scholarship is one of the very few institutions that directly rewards excellence and hard work in academics. Programs such as this contribute to our youth becoming the leaders we so desperately need for our future.

There is now a tangible benefit which can be achieved with a solid PSAT/NMSQT score. The competition is fierce but the reward is worthwhile. Winners are chosen based on their abilities, accomplishments, skills, and of course test scores. Applicants are able to list two schools which they would like to attend and their information will be forwarded directly to those schools.

Dreams really do come true, although a proper education is necessary to achieve. With quality support from parents and teachers and programs such as this the possibilities are endless. The National Merit Scholarship is a key player in making the dreams and aspirations of our youth into a reality.


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