December 3, 2020

A Final Chance for National Merit!


Say What??? NMSQT??? The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is very important for high school juniors to take.

Freshmen and Sophomores in high school can take the PSAT/NMSQT to prep for the SAT although ONLY juniors can qualify to enter the National Merit Scholarship Competition. Out of the 1.5 million-or-so students who participate in the program every year, about 7,600 are selected for a Merit Scholarship award. Awards include cash payments, one-time designations, and renewable college scholarships.

PROBLEM: COVID-19 has hugely impacted the scores and tests taken this year; the PSAT/NMSQT is included. Typically, the PSAT is taken in October, but due to cancellations, a new test date has been added in January 2021. Although, we don’t know if it will be safe to take in January. While disappointing, fear not: Students can still qualify for the competition, only now through an alternative route. Here’s how:


Juniors may qualify without PSAT scores by taking the alternative route. Since the SAT is still happening from now until the spring, students may take the SAT and submit those scores in place of official PSAT scores. While not unique to this year, this measure is especially important this year.

So, Juniors: If you get to take the PSAT in January, you’re automatically enrolled in the competition. But, if you’re venturing down the alternative route, you need to fill out this application by April 1, 2021, and take the SAT sometime before July 2021. Request that the College Board SAT Program send a report of your SAT scores to NMSC (code 0085). The SAT program will not report your scores unless you request it.


Yeah, not exactly. From taking the (P)SAT to being named a Merit Scholar— it’s a journey, and our Class 101 college planners in Carmel, IN will equip students and families with the necessary resources needed to qualify for the alternative entry option, as well as guide you through all of the new requirements for 2021 and beyond.

Ready to make test day the best day? Email [email protected] to register for our SAT Prep Course or request more information. Just remember — it’s not too late for the National Merit.

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