March 3, 2024
National Merit Scholarship

Every year, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) awards over $25 million to academically talented students in the United States. The National Merit Scholarship is one of the most prestigious scholarships available and is highly sought after by high school students across the country. 

In this blog post, we will look at the eligibility requirements, selection process, and award benefits of the National Merit Scholarship, as well as provide tips and advice on how to maximize your chances of success.

Who Is Eligible?

The National Merit Scholarship is a highly prestigious academic award that recognizes and rewards outstanding academic achievement. To be eligible for this scholarship, you must meet certain requirements. 

Firstly, you must be a high school student who is currently enrolled in the 11th grade. Additionally, you must have taken either the PSAT/NMSQT or the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in the same year as when you are applying for the scholarship.

Your academic performance will also play an important role in determining your eligibility for this scholarship. You must have achieved an excellent academic record throughout your high school career and must have obtained outstanding scores on the PSAT/NMSQT. 

In addition to meeting the basic requirements for eligibility, you must also demonstrate strong leadership skills and extracurricular activities. Your involvement in any school, community, or volunteer activities should reflect your commitment to excellence. 

Finally, you must also demonstrate financial need. The National Merit Scholarship is primarily intended for students whose families may not be able to afford college tuition without assistance.

How To Apply

The application process for the National Merit Scholarship (NMS) begins when students take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). This test is typically taken in the fall of a student’s 11th-grade year, but it can be taken as early as their sophomore year. 

When a student’s scores from the PSAT/NMSQT are released, those who score within a certain range may qualify for the NMS. Those students will then be notified by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) and asked to complete an online application. 

The application will ask students to answer questions about their academic achievements, extracurricular activities, community service, and educational plans. Students will also need to write an essay and provide recommendations from a teacher and a guidance counselor.

In addition, students will need to submit an official copy of their SAT scores. If you have not yet taken the SAT, you must take the test before the NMSC deadline. The NMSC will also require proof of U.S. citizenship or legal permanent resident status. 

Students who qualify and complete all parts of the application will then be evaluated and considered for the NMS. A list of semifinalists will be announced each year, and from there, finalists will be chosen. The finalists will then be asked to submit additional information that is used to determine which students will receive the scholarship.

The Benefits

The National Merit Scholarship program is an incredible opportunity for high school students to receive recognition and financial assistance for their academic achievements. Receiving this scholarship can have a profoundly positive impact on both one’s college and career goals. 

The monetary award that comes with being a National Merit Scholar is certainly one of the most significant benefits. Depending on the student’s college or university, they could receive up to $2,500 each year they are enrolled. This money can be used to pay for tuition, room and board, and other college-related expenses. 

Being a National Merit Scholar also has non-financial advantages. For example, many colleges and universities give preference to students who have earned this award during the admissions process. Additionally, employers often take notice of candidates who have achieved such distinction, which may lead to better job opportunities. 

Finally, recipients of the National Merit Scholarship benefit from receiving recognition for their hard work and dedication to their studies. Being recognized by this organization is a prestigious honor, one that not many high school students can claim. It is a sign of excellence and accomplishment that will surely stand out on any college or job application.


  1. What is the National Merit Scholarship Program? 

The National Merit Scholarship Program is a program run by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) to recognize high-achieving students and provide scholarship opportunities. It is open to students from all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

  1. Who is Eligible to Apply For The National Merit Scholarship Program?

High school juniors who take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) are eligible to apply for the program. Students must meet certain criteria, such as achieving a qualifying score on the PSAT/NMSQT and being enrolled in an approved high school curriculum. 

  1. What Benefits are Available Through the National Merit Scholarship Program?

The NMSC awards more than $30 million in scholarships annually. Scholarships range from $500 to $2,500 per year for up to four years of college. Additionally, some students may qualify for a National Merit Scholarship, which can be worth up to $2,500 per year for up to four years of college. 

  1. How can I Apply for the National Merit Scholarship Program?

To apply for the program, you must first take the PSAT/NMSQT exam during your junior year of high school. Your school will then submit your scores to the NMSC. If you qualify, you will be notified via email and asked to complete an application and submit additional documents. 

  1. Is There an Application Deadline for the National Merit Scholarship Program?

Yes, the application deadline for the National Merit Scholarship Program is typically in late February or early March of your senior year. You should check with your school counselor for specific details about deadlines and requirements.


The National Merit Scholarship program is a great opportunity for students who demonstrate high academic achievement and potential. It can provide financial support to help make college more affordable, as well as recognition that can open doors to future opportunities.

While the process of applying for the National Merit Scholarship can be competitive, there are resources available to help you succeed. Make sure to carefully review the eligibility requirements and follow the application instructions before submitting your application. Good luck!