National Merit Scholarship Program for the year 2022/2023 Academic Session – Around 1.5 million students from high schools participate in the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) program every year. It’s a United States academic scholarship competition to recognize and award university scholarships and It’s a privately funded non-profit corporation based in Evanston, Illinois.
National Merit Scholarship Eligibility
High School students who meet published program entry and participation requirements enter the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) at the specified time in the high school program, usually as juniors. Each year’s PSAT/NMSQT is the qualifying test designated for entry to a particular year’s competition. For example, the 2020 PSAT/NMSQT is the qualifying test for entry to the competition for scholarships to be awarded in 2022.
Registration for the test is by high school rather than individual students. 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. How To Write An Award-Winning Scholarship Essay 2022/2023
National Merit Scholarship Requirements
On test day, students are asked some questions to determine entry to the National Merit Scholarship Program. To participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program, a student must:
- take the PSAT/NMSQT 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 as a high school student (traditional or homeschooled), progressing normally toward graduation or completion of high school, and planning to accept admission to college no later than the fall following completion of high school; and
- attend high school in the United States, the District of Columbia, or U.S. commonwealth and territory; or meet the citizenship requirements for students attending high school outside the United States (see below).
Students attending high school outside the U.S.: To be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship Program, a student attending high school outside the United States must be a citizen of the United States; or be a U.S. lawful resident (or have applied for permanent residence, the application for which has not been denied) and intend to become a U.S. citizen at the earliest opportunity allowed by law.
When to Take the National Merit Scholarship PSAT/NMSQT
- Students who plan to spend the usual four years in high school (grades 9 through 12) before entering college full time must take the PSAT/NMSQT in their third year (grade 11, junior year). They will be entering the competition that ends when awards are offered in the spring of their fourth high school year (grade 12, senior year), the same year they will leave high school and enter college.Although some schools encourage their sophomores to take the PSAT/NMSQT for guidance purposes, these students must take the test again when they are juniors to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program if they are spending the usual four years of study in grades 9 through 12.
- Students who plan to leave high school a year (or more) early to enroll in college full time usually can participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program if they take the PSAT/NMSQT before they finish high school. Such students must take the PSAT/NMSQT in either the next-to-last year or the last year they are enrolled in high school.
- Those who take the PSAT/NMSQT in the next-to-last year of high school will be entering the competition for awards to be offered as they are finishing their final high school year.
- Those who take the PSAT/NMSQT in their last year of high school will be entering the competition for awards to be offered as they are completing their first year of college.
- Students who are dual enrolled in both high school and college must take the PSAT/NMSQT in their third year of high school (grade 11, junior year) to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program. The high school determines whether a student is dual enrolled and confirms the student’s status as a high school student.
- Students who plan to spend five years in grades 9 through 12 before entering college full time can participate in the National Merit Scholarship Program if they take the PSAT/NMSQT in the third year of high school and again in the fourth year. These students’ Selection Index scores will not be eligible for the program until a written request for entry to the competition is approved by NMSC®. The request should include the student’s name, high school name and location, year the student began high school, year the student will complete high school, and a brief explanation of the student’s educational pattern.NMSC will use the student’s Selection Index score from the PSAT/NMSQT taken in the student’s third year of grades 9 through 12 to determine the expected level of recognition. In order to be recognized in the fifth (final) year of high school, the student must take the PSAT/NMSQT again in the fourth year and earn a qualifying Selection Index score at or above the level achieved on the third year test. The level of recognition a student receives cannot exceed the level earned on the qualifying test taken during the student’s third year in grades 9 through 12, the year in which all other competitors are considered.
If a Student Misses the National Merit Scholarship PSAT/NMSQT Administration
A student who does not take the PSAT/NMSQT because of illness, an emergency, or other extenuating circumstance, but meets all other requirements for NMSC program participation, may still be able to enter the competition. The student or a school official must write to NMSC as soon as possible after the PSAT/NMSQT administration to request information about procedures for alternate entry to the National Merit Scholarship Program. To be considered, a request must be postmarked no later than April 1 following the PSAT/NMSQT administration that was missed. The alternate entry request should include the name and address of the student; the contact information of the person making the request; the name and address of the student’s high school; and a brief explanation of why the student missed the PSAT/NMSQT.
The earlier NMSC receives the written request, the greater the student’s opportunities for meeting alternate entry requirements. Upon receiving and processing the request, NMSC will provide alternate entry materials, including instructions for program entry and a form that requires the signature of a school official.
National Merit Scholarship Additional Information
More information about the PSAT/NMSQT® and National Merit Scholarship Corporation can be found in the PSAT/NMSQT® Student Guide sent to high schools for distribution to students before the test. The NMSC section gives requirements for entry to the National Merit Scholarship Program, explains steps in the competition, and describes groups of students honored and scholarships offered.