What is a National Merit Scholarship Finalist?

Bishop Butler

September 23, 2022

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The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announces its finalists each March or early May. Students selected as The National Merit Scholarship Corporation Scholars will have their application materials, standardized test scores, and other criteria assessed by a committee of high school counselors and college admissions officers. About 1,100 Merit Scholarships are awarded each year.

NMSC sends rosters of Finalists to sponsor colleges in early May

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) sends rosters of Finalists and non-Finalists to sponsor colleges and universities in early May. Scholarship recipients must submit a detailed scholarship application.

NMSC awards scholarships to students based on academic achievement. Students can earn up to $2,500 to attend the college of their choice. The program awards roughly 50,000 scholarships each year. There are approximately 1.5 million program entrants.

NMSC distributes Semifinalists by state, district, and territory. This contrasts with Mississippi, which produces only 0.8% of all high school graduates. It is worth noting that the number of Semifinalists a state produces does not correspond to its population or the number of PSAT students. Approximately half of the Finalists become National Merit Scholars. The other half receive scholarship awards from sponsoring colleges.

NMSC sends rosters to colleges in March

The NMSC sends rosters to colleges in March, and students must apply early. It is common for colleges to have a limited number of awards and may give priority to the first roster received from the NMSC. The NMSC awards about $2,500 scholarships to its 2,500 Finalists each year.

NMSC selects Finalists based on employment, intended major, and career plans

Students pursuing a college degree can apply for many merit-based scholarships. To apply for these scholarships, students must meet specific criteria for that sponsor. These scholarships can be one-time or renewable for up to four years.

A well-written application is essential for consideration. It must demonstrate a high GPA, include a letter of recommendation from a high school principal, and include a personal essay. The essay should highlight extracurricular activities, leadership, or community service experiences. The essay must be free of errors and demonstrate reflective writing skills.

 The award criteria vary between corporate and college-sponsored scholarships. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) chooses 7,500 National Merit Scholarship Finalists each year. The organization awards Merit Scholarships to 1.6 million high school juniors.