Your child’s junior-year PSAT is not only an excellent opportunity to practice for the SAT—it also allows your child the chance to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship. Students will take the PSAT in October of their junior year. The following April, approximately 50,000 juniors with the highest PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index scores (or total PSAT scores)—roughly the top 3% of junior testers—are notified that they qualify for NMSP recognition. The Selection Index qualifying scores vary from year to year and state to state. Each state’s qualifying score varies based on that state’s percentage of the national total of high school graduating seniors. Students are selected for NMSP recognition from each of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
If your child took the PSAT/NMSQT in October of 2014 and received a very high score, he or she may be entered in the 2016 competition for National Merit Scholarships. In late September 2015, 34,000 members of the class of 2016 received Letters of Commendation in recognition of their high 2014 PSAT scores. These students will not continue in the competition and will not be eligible for scholarships.
In September 2015, 16,000 of the highest scoring members of the class of 2016 qualified as semifinalists. These students represent approximately the top 1% of testers in each state. In February 2016, those semifinalists who meet academic and other requirements will advance to Finalist standing. In April of 2016, scholarship winners will be notified.
To see how your child’s score ranks in your state, you can compare his or her scores to the qualifying scores for the current graduating class.
National Merit Scores:
Qualifying Scores by State for the Class of 2016
For the graduating class of 2016, students who scored above a 202 but below the qualifying score for their state received Letters of Commendation, but did not continue on in the scholarship competition.
- For more information on National Merit Scholarship Qualifications, visit our National Merit Scholarship Qualifications page
- Want to learn more about the PSAT? Visit our PSAT Test page for information about the test format, question types and scoring.
- Curious as to how PSAT scoring works? Visit our PSAT Scores page to learn more.
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