With an initial screening of almost 1.6 million entrants each year, the National Merit Scholarship Program recognizes and honors 7500 students who portray excellent skills, and rewards them for higher education. While earning this can be extremely tough, it is not impossible. Read further to find out how you can win a National Merit Scholarship and other queries related to it.

List of student entry requirements:

For the application of the National Merit List program fee waiver scholarship, you need to fulfill the following criteria.

  • It is compulsory for you to take PSAT or NMSQT in your junior year.
  • You need to plan on enrolling in college in the fall after high school graduation.
  • You should have been enrolled as a high school student in either a traditional or a homeschool setting.
  • You either have to hold U.S. citizenship if you are attending a high school in a foreign university or, you must attend high school in the U.S., District of Columbia, or U.S. commonwealth or territory.
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The benefits of the National Merit Scholarship:

Besides the monetary assistance brought by the National Merit Scholarship, it provides a boost in the resume and is an impressive credential for your application process for different colleges. The National Merit Scholarship is well reputed and so prestigious that colleges highlight the total number of admissions or first-year students who have earned this Scholarship as a part of their promotional strategy. In fact, Scholarship students are more likely to get admitted to their desired colleges than the others. Although a single award cannot qualify you for admission, it acts as a feather on your cap.

Tips to help you win the National Merit Scholarship:

While there is no sure shot route to winning the Scholarship and it is always better to take help from your mentors for customized planning, here are a few tricks to help you in the meanwhile:

Step one- Scoring better in PSAT:

While the other requirements are mandatory to fulfill, getting a good score and staying in the top one percentile will help you qualify for the Scholarship. The cutoffs for the years keep changing over time. It is advisable that you keep track of the cutoff scores of last year and the year preceding that to understand the possible fluctuation. The scores are looked at on a state-by-state basis by the organization. Scores play an essential role in qualification of the rounds; 16000 students, that is, less than one percent of the students are top scorers qualifying as semi-finalists. Hence, better scores mean a better chance of winning the Scholarship. For details regarding the last year's scores, you could also contact the NMSC helpline number for your state.

Step two- Creating an outstanding application and resume:

PSAT scores are out within two months, but you might have to wait for almost a full year ahead for you to take further steps. The process is similar to that of any college, including actions like submitting your academic mark sheets, an essay, and or a recommendation letter. Creating a thoughtful application improvises on your chances of selection. An outstanding and stellar performance throughout is always difficult to ignore.

Step three: Scoring good in SAT:

Taking the SAT and sending the scores to the scholarship organization is an inevitable step. Keep a note about the deadlines and take the SAT in a way that fits in your time table. There is no specific requirement for a great score while submitting to the scholarship organization, but it always helps if you are amongst the top scorers.

Step four: Reviewing your sponsor list for corporate and college scholarships:

While the National Merit Scholarship considers all the qualifying students for the award, certain extra steps help when it is a corporate or school-sponsored scholarship. It is advisable that you check the criteria carefully before applying. Most of the corporate-sponsored scholarships consider children of certain employees, of a particular nationality, or an eligible community. Similarly, college-sponsored scholarships mostly prefer the students who inform NMSC of their first choice of school and tell them about their enrollment plans. It would be a great idea to make a list of participating corporate sponsors and colleges noting their eligibility criteria side by side to align your preferences and opportunities likewise.

Step five: Consider other scholarships too:

National Merit Scholarship is an honorable scholarship to achieve and win. Nevertheless, many other scholarships can help you monetarily to pay your fees. These scholarships come as a great help considering the amount of competition in the National Merit Scholarship. It could be rewarding to consider other scholarships and not to put all your eggs in the same basket.

The final step of the National Merit Scholarship includes waiting for the notification from NMSC. About 15000 students get notified in February for a finalist standing, and 7500 students are rewarded in March with a $2500 Merit-based scholarship. The waiting period seems to be quite long, but the result, equally rewarding.

Some Key Takeaways

While scholarships can greatly support your application and admission process for America's most selective universities and colleges, simultaneously, applying for scholarships is not the only essential thing. Grit and persistent practice for SAT examination, and building a thoughtful and impressive application play a critical role. While winning the Scholarship can be part of the dream, getting admitted to the college or schools of choice is a broader aspect altogether.

Connect with us at Miles Smart Tutoring to learn more about the college application process while preparing, and let us help you by carving out smoother roads of success for you.

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