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National Merit Scholarships Explained

As February rolls around, so does recognition from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). If your child has excelled during the PSAT selection process and submitted a stellar application, he might receive a letter this month naming him a Finalist. Beginning in March, the NMSC narrows down the application pool and awards scholarships to the top 7,500 Finalists. Be patient because the NMSC will continue giving out scholarships through June. To learn more about the various types of scholarships, keep reading.

National Merit $2500 Scholarships

Any winner may receive a $2,500 scholarship. Career plans, financial background, and college choice do not factor into this type of award. Rather, the NMSC selects these scholars on a state by state basis. This is a one time pay out, and students don’t have the option to renew the award through their college careers.

Corporate-Sponsored Merit Scholarships

Some companies and corporations work with the NMSC to provide scholarships for about 1,000 Finalists per year. Most of the time, companies reward the children of their employees with these scholarships. Other times, companies give out scholarships to students in the surrounding community or else to those who are pursuing a career the company supports.

The number of scholarships offered by every company varies per year—from 1 to 100. Each company decides how much the scholarship will be and if the scholarship is for one year or renewable for all four. The NMSC is responsible for making final selections for scholarships based on each company’s pre-established criteria.  

College-Sponsored Merit Scholarships

Each year, colleges and universities sponsor NMSC scholarships for about 4,000 students. Finalists must notify the NMSC of their top choice schools by the end of May in order to be considered for a scholarship from that particular school. If a student decides against attending a certain school, he also loses the scholarship.     

These scholarships range from $500 to $2,000, and students can renew them for up to four years. Unlike corporate sponsors, college sponsors are the ones who select the ultimate scholarship winners and decide how large each stipend will be.   

Special Scholarships

Even if your child didn’t make it to the Finalist round, there’s still a chance he could receive a scholarship. Some companies give out Special Scholarships to students who have demonstrated potential but didn’t make it to the final round. These students must meet a company’s criteria and send in an application to be considered for one of these scholarships. About 1,100 students per year walk away with this type of award.   

Don’t go it alone! We’ve been in the education business for years and know the ins and outs of the test prep and college admissions process. From gearing up for college entrance exams to crafting a dynamic personal statement, our Education Specialists will provide you with the best guidance possible. Contact us today to learn more!