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National Merit Scholarship Program

The National Merit Scholarship Program or the NMSP is a program that was started in 1955. It is a program that encourages competition in academics by college bound students. There are certain steps that must be adhered to for consideration for the scholarship. 


This program can help students with college tuition. There are over one million students across the US each year that compete for a scholarship through the program but only 8,300 are awarded.


How It Works

Any college bound student knows what the SAT is. It is the student aptitude test and is typically taken in the junior year of high school or the senior year of high school. The SAT measures what the student has learned in the time they spent in school. Most universities require SAT scores to be admitted to the school. Some universities require that the student receive a set minimum score for admittance.

Some students may be familiar with the PSAT. The PSAT is the preliminary SAT and national merit scholarship qualification. The PSAT must be taken within the first three years of high school no matter what the classification of level is.

There are three main requirements that must be met to qualify for entry. You must be a US citizen, you must be enrolled in high school progressing normally toward graduation. You must take the PSAT on time. The people that take the PSAT in the 2011/2012 school year are competing scholarships for the 2013 college year.

Students that plan on spending the entire four years allotted to complete high school should take their PSAT no later than the third year of high school (junior year). Students that plan on leaving high school sooner than four years can take the PSAT in the next to last or the last year they plan on attending to qualify.

Get Some Guidance

Any high school guidance counselor will be able to advise students on what must be done for them to be considered for the scholarship. Typical grants are $2500.  The competition will be fierce with over 1.5 million entrants which will be weeded down to the 50,000 highest scores. Eventually the 50,000 will be whittled down to the top 15,000 scores and finally the 8,300 winners will be selected. For those students that make it to the semi finals (15000 group) there may still be some scholarship opportunities coming their way through corporate sponsors.

The National Merit Scholarship Program can help ease some of the financial burdens that college puts on students and families a like.