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First Choice College for NMSQT

** Lisa had some questions about the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT)***

Dear Lisa,

Congratulations about being National Merit Scholarship Qualifiers! Wow, that's a big deal! Both of my boys were commended students, so we didn't actually go through the scholarship selection process. Even commendation was a big deal for college merit aid - so good job!

You have probably seen already that the National Merit is a difficult and complex scholarship to apply for, and that the PSAT is just a starting point. If you complete the process, and if you win the scholarship, then the price money is about $2500 per year (I haven't looked at the exact figure this year, that's why I say "about.") Although $2500 sounds huge, it really isn't huge when you compare it to $25,000 or more for a year of college tuition. HOWEVER! (Big however!) When you win the National Merit Scholarship, some colleges themselves will ALSO give you scholarship money. Some colleges want to list "we have this many National Merit Scholars" on their brochure. Those college may even offer full scholarships to students that win the National Merit, just so they can have more of them attend their college.

The choice of colleges that you list in the competition can be significant, actually. If you list them as first choice then sometimes they will give you extra scholarships. The colleges named first have to be reported, and from a business perspective, having students name a college their "number one" is a big deal.

If finances are not a MAJOR concern, then it may not matter. Usually finances ARE a major concern when you are talking about college. I can suggest that you call each of those colleges you listed right away, and ask them about their policy. Find out if they give better scholarships for a first choice pick. Tell them your student's SAT scores, and find out what merit aid is available for students with those scores. After that, ask them if additional aid is provided if your student lists them as first or second. In other words, try to find out how MUCH money it represents. Ivy League schools have been increasing financial aid for everyone, so listing Notre Dame as your first choice may not increase the actual monetary award you are given. Weigh that information again how much your child wants to go there, and see what you can make of it.

Congratulations again! Stellar results, Mom and Dad!

Learn all about the standard high school tests on The HomeScholar audio course, "High School Testing." It includes over an hour of information on the SAT, ACT, PSAT/NMSQT, PLAN, SAT II, AP and CLEP.

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Wednesday, 23 September 2020

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