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  1. #1
    Senior Member lowtech redneck's Avatar
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    Default National Merit Scholarship

    So, apparently, this program doesn't give scholarships to otherwise qualified applicants if they haven't taken the PSAT, even if they've already taken their SATs. And now my eldest niece, whose High School councilors failed to inform her of this requirement, is ineligible.

    I don't know which group I'm more angry with right now, I'm pretty sure I would violate forum rules if I tried to express it.

    Anyway, just in case anyone on this forum knows someone whom this type of information may help, be sure to inform them they need to take the PSATs, even though its an otherwise pointless waste of time.

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Yeah, taking the PSAT is how you qualify to be a National Merit Scholar.
    National Merit Scholarship Corporation - National Merit(R) Scholarship Program

    Meanwhile, to get into college, you take the SAT.

    But yeah, this is the kind of thing school counselors should consciously know and be telling the students.
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    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    we all HAD to take the PSAT... it was a requirement at my school

    otherwise I'd have never taken them because I'd already taken the SAT

    but yeah, the national merit scholarship is exclusively done through the PSAT... if you score high enough then you have to submit an essay and some recommendations from teachers and things like that for the whole process so that they can weed out everyone until they get the right number
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    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    So, apparently, this program doesn't give scholarships to otherwise qualified applicants if they haven't taken the PSAT, even if they've already taken their SATs. And now my eldest niece, whose High School councilors failed to inform her of this requirement, is ineligible.

    I don't know which group I'm more angry with right now, I'm pretty sure I would violate forum rules if I tried to express it.

    Anyway, just in case anyone on this forum knows someone whom this type of information may help, be sure to inform them they need to take the PSATs, even though its an otherwise pointless waste of time.
    At the risk of being discouraging, it probably wouldn't have made any difference. It is hard to become a "national merit finalist", we had 2 in my class of 510 in a well-performing suburban HS, but only a small fraction of those actually get any money from it. Assuming your niece is a good enough student even for this, most universities will deduct the value of any external scholarships from their own financial aid package, so if she would be eligible for any need-based aid, it wouldn't impact her net costs.

    PSAT not only serves as the first wicket for National Merit, but also introduces prospective students to the higher ed community. Based on your performance and expressed interests, you will then get mail (often LOTS of it) from schools who think you would be a good fit. Two of us in the aforementioned class of ~510 received invitations to apply to West Point - both of us female. A Jewish classmate was contacted by the local Catholic Seminary. Fortunately he found it humorous rather than insulting.
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    Senior Member Ursa's Avatar
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    Does your niece's high school have a career center? If so, I urge her to frequent it. The career center at my high school had loads of information both on computers and in print on all sorts of scholarships. There were more scholarship opportunities than I could shake a stick at. Some of them simply required writing a really excellent essay on a prescribed topic. Not qualifying for the National Merit Scholarship is not really that terrible; there are so many other ways to acquire scholarship money.

    If she's looking for something great to put on her application forms, then extra-curricular activities are the way to go. Volunteer for the needy, start or join a club, etc. Don't worry; your niece still has lots of options to help her move forward.
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    Administrator highlander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    So, apparently, this program doesn't give scholarships to otherwise qualified applicants if they haven't taken the PSAT, even if they've already taken their SATs. And now my eldest niece, whose High School councilors failed to inform her of this requirement, is ineligible.

    I don't know which group I'm more angry with right now, I'm pretty sure I would violate forum rules if I tried to express it.

    Anyway, just in case anyone on this forum knows someone whom this type of information may help, be sure to inform them they need to take the PSATs, even though its an otherwise pointless waste of time.
    There was this guy and myself who got the highest scores on the PSAT in our high school. It meant something but I don't remember exactly what. All I remember is we got called into the counselor's office and I never told my mom, which she seemed offended about. I was supposed to take the SAT later but overslept.

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    breaking out of my cocoon SearchingforPeace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander View Post
    There was this guy and myself who got the highest scores on the PSAT in our high school. It meant something but I don't remember exactly what. All I remember is we got called into the counselor's office and I never told my mom, which she seemed offended about. I was supposed to take the SAT later but overslept.
    I almost missed the ACT. I arrived seconds before it would have been too late.... I might have done that for another of these tests as well....
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    Senior Member ceecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    At the risk of being discouraging, it probably wouldn't have made any difference. It is hard to become a "national merit finalist", we had 2 in my class of 510 in a well-performing suburban HS, but only a small fraction of those actually get any money from it. Assuming your niece is a good enough student even for this, most universities will deduct the value of any external scholarships from their own financial aid package, so if she would be eligible for any need-based aid, it wouldn't impact her net costs.
    Yep. We went through all this with our daughter. She had three finalist universities with the program she wanted and they all told us the same thing. She never would have seen any money as a merit finalist and I think there was 1 in her graduating class (she was third in her class). She ended up with a very decent scholarship. Not to sound cold about the OP but as a parent, it's on you to find out what's required, not them to inform you.
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    Marshmallow Heart thepink-cloakedninja's Avatar
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    My sister got to take the SAT twice, instead. :/ but it was a weird situation because she was home schooled.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Ursa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceecee View Post
    Not to sound cold about the OP but as a parent, it's on you to find out what's required, not them to inform you.
    Or maybe on the student as well. It's a good life lesson about personal responsibility.

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