Every year, students who take the PSAT and SAT are eligible to be considered for scholarships. Last year, the College Board reported that they will begin offering Scholarships to students earlier in high school. The awards were always available to students who took the PSAT during their junior year in high school, however this new move aims to help students understand their college options and inform their college choice. These new scholarships are expected to especially benefit minority and low-income students. Additional information about these awards can be found here.
Prior to this expansion, the College Board has partnered with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation to offer one of the most competitive and sought after grant opportunities in the nation. This program offers two main scholarships, which are known as the National Achievement Scholarship Program and the National Merit Scholarship Program. Students who are interested in learning more about this awards can read more information below or check out the website.
National Merit Scholarship Program: In order to be considered for this scholarship, students must first meet a variety of different entry requirements. First, the applicant must be attending a high school on a full-time basis and must intend to enroll in college on a full-time basis immediately after their high school graduation. Furthermore, all applicants are required to be permanent residents or citizens of the United States. Lastly, the applicant must take the PSAT/NMSQT exam before during or before their junior year in high school.
Out of all of the high school students who take this exam nationwide, the top 50,000 applicants are chosen for recognition as a National Merit Scholar. Out of these 50,000 students, 16,000 students will move onto the Semifinalist round. There are Semifinalists from all fifty states. These Semifinalists will be notified by their high school and will be required to complete additional application materials. The finalists will receive a $2,500 scholarship. Runner-ups will be given a commendation or a special scholarship.
National Achievement Scholarship Program: This program is very similar to the National Merit Scholarship Program, except that is aims to enhance the educational opportunities that are available to high school students from African American backgrounds. The program is in a period of transition, as it has developed a new partnership with UNCF. Students who have been awarded the scholarship through the 2015 period will receive 4-years of scholarship funding. New applicants are eligible for the new program. Additional details about this scholarship will be available at this website.
These awards are given out based on academic merit. As such, students who are interested in obtaining one of these competitive awards, are strongly encouraged to prepare early for the PSAT. This can by done by studying on your own, taking advanced courses, signing up for a test prep course, or asking your school guidance counselor how to best prepare. It can be helpful to take some practice tests prior to attempting to take a PSAT that will have an impact on your future career and school goals.