For information about the National Merit Scholarship Program, please visit their website by clicking here. Information will also become available from the College Board in the Official Student Guide to the PSAT/NMSQT. If you are in the Class of 2017, the October 2015 Official Guide is the correct version for you.
Over 1.6 million juniors entered the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2015 PSAT/NMSQT which serves as the initial screening for program entrants. On September 14th, 2016, approximately 16,000 Semifinalists were announced representing less than 1% of all U.S. high school seniors. Becuase the number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors, the Selection Index Score needed to qualify varies from state to state. For 2016, the score for Texas was 220 for National Merit Semifinalists.
Students who are National Merit Semifinalists do have additional steps to take along the path to becoming a National Merit Finalist. Some of those requirements include:
- continuing to meet all program entry requirements
- being enrolled in the last year of high school and planning to enroll full time in college the following fall (or if grades 9-12 were completed in three years or less, be enrolled in the first year of college)
- completing the National Merit Scholarship Application with all the infomation requested, which includes writing an essay
- having a record of very high academic performance in all of grades 9-12 and in any college coursework taken
- being fully endorsed for Finalist standing and recommended for a National Merit Scholarship by the high school principal
- taking the SAT and earn scores that confirm the PSAT/NMSQT performance that resulted in Semifinalist standing
- providing any other documentation and information that NMSC requests.
According to the PSAT/NMSQT Official Student Guide, approximately 15,000 of the Semifinalists are expected to become Finalists.