TPT: The Insider’s Scoop on the National Merit Scholarship

October 10, 2017

You have probably heard the term “National Merit Scholar” somewhere, and wondered about its merits and achievability. In this week’s Test Prep Tuesday, Top Tier Learning would like to address any concerns and confusion regarding this award.

So first off, what exactly is the National Merit Scholarship? Well, there are actually three scholarships that the National Merit Scholarship Corporation offers. The flagship scholarship in their repository scholarship funds is the “National Merit Scholarship.” This is a single payment scholarship worth $2500. The second type is the “Corporate-Sponsored Scholarship.” This is a scholarship provided by a corporation that has partnered with the NMRC, typically given to children of employees. The final one is the “College-Sponsored Merit Scholarship.” These scholarships are provided to students that have been granted admission at a college, and is renewable for up to four years.

While these scholarships are not extravagant amounts of money, they can still help reduce costs of tuition for the university of your choice. Additionally, and more importantly, a lot of colleges offer some sort of tuition waver or even full tuition if you qualify as a National Merit Scholar. Click here to see how National Merit Scholars are sought after from numerous universities.

Great, so now that you understand the benefits of becoming a National Merit Scholar, it is crucial to understand the process for it. Here’s a quick rundown:

1. Qualify

   a)  To qualify, you must meet these certain requirements:

2. Score in the top 1% of the PSAT

   a)  This is taken during your junior year in high school.

   b)  Click here to see past qualifying scores.

   c)  Congrats! You are now a National Merit Semifinalist (don’t forget to put this on your resume).

3. Submit the application for finalist status

   a)  Complete NMSC application by fall of senior year (not in order of importance):

        i.  SAT score

       ii.  Extracurriculars/Community Service

      iii.  Recommendation Letters

      iv.  Academic Record

       v.  Personal Essay

   b)  15,000 of the 16,000 Semifinalists will move on to Finalist.

4. Collect the aforementioned National Merit Scholarship awards

   a)  Also put down National Merit Finalist on your resume when applying to colleges


Derek Cheung