69th National Merit Scholarship Program Cut-Off 2024
The National Merit Scholarship Program is a prestigious academic competition that recognizes outstanding high school students across the United States. Since 1955, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) has awarded scholarships to high-achieving students through a process that begins with the PSAT exam taken by high school juniors.
Becoming a National Merit Semifinalist or Finalist is a highly selective honour that can open doors to top universities and lucrative scholarships. And the final scholarship program will happen in February 2024. Selected finalists and semifinalists who are looking for their desired colleges can go through it.
Is it Hard to get a National Merit Scholarship?
In 2024, over 1.3 million students entered the competition by taking the preliminary SAT exam. Only 16,000, or approximately 1% of participants, will advance to Semifinalist standing. These academically exceptional students now have the chance to continue in the competition and become Finalists, of which about 7,140 will ultimately earn the prestigious honour of being named a National Merit Scholar.
Competition is especially intense in populous states like California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois. California leads the nation with over 2,300 Semifinalists, while Wyoming had only 10 students reach this level. Other states with large numbers of Semifinalists include Texas with 1,860, Florida with 1,744, New York with 1,700, and Illinois with 1,500. This year, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (Alexandria, VA) has the top school by number of 2024 semifinalists.
The road to becoming a National Merit winner is difficult. Semifinalists must maintain outstanding grades throughout high school and receive endorsement from their school to become Finalists. Finalists are chosen based on skills, accomplishments, and future academic potential. Those selected as Merit Scholars gain esteem in the eyes of college admissions officers, often leading to acceptance at top universities. They also receive a monetary scholarship reward sponsored by NMSC or outside corporations and universities.
Earning the title of National Merit Scholar is a career-launching achievement. The competition recognizes academic excellence at a critical juncture, providing benefits that winners can leverage for lifelong success. Many Merit Scholars go on to earn other prestigious scholarships like the Master Mind Scholarships in USA or adoptee scholarships for those who have been adopted. The financial assistance and resume boost these awards provide can make all the difference when pursuing higher education and jumpstarting a career. The competition highlights exceptional students across America, connecting top talent with opportunities to excel.
What is the National Merit Scholarship worth?
Every year, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) awards approximately 7500 finalists. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) awards are divided into three categories:
- National Merit $2500 Scholarships
- Corporate-sponsored scholarships
- College-sponsored scholarships.
(a) National Merit $2500 Scholarships:
The National Merit Scholarship Program awards around 2,500 of these scholarships each year. It is a single-payment, non-renewable scholarship of $2500. Every National Merit Finalist is considered for a National Merit Scholarship. Winners are chosen based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments—without consideration of family financial circumstances, college choice, or major and career plans. A committee of college admissions officers and high school counsellors makes the selection.
(b) Corporate-sponsored Scholarships:
These scholarships are provided by corporate sponsors, and there are around 1,000 awarded each year. Sponsors can designate their scholarships for children of their employees, for residents of a community where a company has operations, or for Finalists with career plans the sponsor wishes to encourage. These scholarships may either be renewable for four years of undergraduate study or one-time awards, and they may be awarded from $1,000-$10,000 per year.
(c) College-sponsored Scholarships:
Approximately 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 Merit Scholarship awards to Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution. These are typically renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study. The college that the Finalist plans to attend must sponsor this type of scholarship.
How Do You Get a Chance for a National Scholarship?
In the national scholarship program of the USA, high school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills etc are measured in this PSAT test. And, from this test score, about 50,000 high scorers are notified that they have qualified as either a Commended Student or Semifinalist.
From here, some 16,000 advance to the Finalist level, and the scholarship winners are selected from this group. The reported sponsor college as a first choice by the finalist will start from March 1, 2024. Those selected candidates’ names will be published in different nationwide news which will come at the public level at the beginning of April and final conclusion of the scholarship of about $228 million will come in July.
|1||September 13||NMSC introduced 16000 Semifinalists in the news media|
|2||October 7||Administration date of SAT|
|3||October 11||Schools transmit completed by using the NMSC of OSA|
|4||October 28||Administration date of ACT|
|5||November 4||Administration date of SAT|
|6||December 2||Semifinalists last date to take the SAT|
|7||December 9||Semifinalists last date to take the ACT|
|8||December 31||National Merit $2500 Scholarship will not be received by those semifinalists whose SAT or ACT scores have not been received by this given date.|
|10||January 21||Merit Scholarship winners will be announced by the selection committee|
|11||January 31||Letter and Document (Outside of USA)|
|12||February 5||Notified high school principals of Semifinalist status, providing Certificates of Merit to eligible Finalists|
|13||February 12||Finalists receive notification of their status by mail and on their OSA dashboard.|
|15||March 13||NMSC awards corporate-sponsored merit scholarship|
|16||March 21||The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) awards $2500 scholarships to its high-achieving students.|
|17||May 1||NMSC awards corporate-sponsored merit scholarship|
|18||Mid May||Merit Scholarship finalists who have not yet been selected will receive notification at their home addresses.|
|19||May 31||Deadline for determining the final group of candidates for college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.|
|20||April 24||Merit Scholarship recipients supported by different corporate|
|21||May 8||National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners|
|22||June 5 and July 15||Merit Scholarship recipients supported by different college|
State-by-State Semifinalists Cut Off Breakdown (2019-2024) | PSAT/NMSQT Cutoffs by State
|District of Columbia||223||223||224||222||223||223|
Top Schools Producing Semifinalists 2024
|Rank||School||State||Number of Semifinalists|
|1||Greenwich High School||Connecticut||20|
|2||Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology||Virginia||19|
|3||University High School||Illinois||19|
|4||Whitney M. Young Magnet High School||Illinois||18|
|5||Stuyvesant High School||New York||17|
|6||Bronx High School of Science||New York||17|
|7||Montgomery Blair High School||Maryland||16|
|8||Walt Whitman High School (Maryland)||Maryland||16|
|9||New Trier High School||Illinois||16|
|10||Thomas B. Doherty High School||Colorado||16|
|11||University Liggett School||Michigan||16|
|12||Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy||Illinois||15|
|13||Stevenson High School||Illinois||15|
|14||Glenbrook North High School||Illinois||15|
|15||Hinsdale Central High School||Illinois||14|
|16||Yorktown High School||Virginia||14|
|17||Georgetown Preparatory School||Maryland||14|
|18||Lake Forest High School||Illinois||13|
|19||Maine East High School||Illinois||13|
|20||Edina High School||Minnesota||13|
|21||College Park Academy||Maryland||13|
The National Scholarship program is one of the most prestigious scholarship programs in the USA. It encourages students to be ready for it and also to achieve additional benefits. It also further opens special scholarships for students at the undergraduate level.