National Merit Semi Cut-offs?

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: May 2003 Archive: National Merit Semi Cut-offs?
By Tennisplaya95 (Tennisplaya95) on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 11:49 am: Edit

What are the highest/usual cut-offs for semifinalists in NY, MA, TX, and CA?

By Tennisplaya95 (Tennisplaya95) on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 06:05 pm: Edit


By Nocalguy (Nocalguy) on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 09:31 pm: Edit

It was 215 last year for CA. I got in with 216:) Became a finalist as well.

By Reelcool (Reelcool) on Tuesday, April 15, 2003 - 10:00 pm: Edit

oooh, does anyone know about previous cut-offs in WA??

By Momof2 (Momof2) on Wednesday, April 16, 2003 - 09:16 am: Edit

TX was 215 last year.

By Chen (Chen) on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 01:20 am: Edit

How about CT?
I know it was 218 either last year or the year before that.

MA is higher than CT.

By California (California) on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 09:40 am: Edit

Anyone know what the commended scholar cut off was last year for CA? Anyone know what it is this year? (Maybe some people who have gotten national merit letters so far this year could post their PSAT index and we could figure it out). I got a 215, (the writing killed me), and I'm praying to make the semi final cut. I got 1570 on SATs in Jan, so hopefully I'd be able to move on finalist.

By Curiousone (Curiousone) on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 09:43 am: Edit

California, the commended scholar cutoff is determined nationally and is usually around 200, 201, etc. You might barely make the CA semifinalist cutoff, but you'll definitely be at least a commended scholar...

By Tennisplaya95 (Tennisplaya95) on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 11:20 pm: Edit

what about NY? Will 224 definitely cut it?

By Flashbackfl (Flashbackfl) on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 11:24 pm: Edit

What about Florida with a 231? Semi Finalist?

By Starbyrst (Starbyrst) on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 12:41 am: Edit

what about florida?

By Curiousone (Curiousone) on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 07:38 am: Edit

I heard the highest last year was 222 in Massachusetts. Flashback, you'll definitely be fine, so relax - Tennisplaya you are pretty good too, I think NY was hovering around 216 or 217, but don't quote me.

By Starbyrst (Starbyrst) on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 10:39 am: Edit

does anyone know the cutoff for florida?

By Reelcool (Reelcool) on Sunday, April 20, 2003 - 12:00 am: Edit


By Steffie1212002 (Steffie1212002) on Sunday, April 20, 2003 - 08:14 pm: Edit

What do all these 200s mean?

National Merit Semifinalists are determined by your PSAT scores, right?

I got crap on the PSATS (1370), but i scored in the 97th percentile, does that mean I'll be a semifinalist?

By Curiousone (Curiousone) on Sunday, April 20, 2003 - 08:19 pm: Edit

Steffie, you have to add up your math, verbal and writing scores without the 0's at the end and get your selection index. For instance, my scores were M: 67, V: 70, W: 73, which translates to a 1370 SAT score (don't worry, I got a 1480 on the real thing, hehe), but a 210 selection index = Commended Scholar. I was in 98th percentile.

By Steffie1212002 (Steffie1212002) on Sunday, April 20, 2003 - 08:34 pm: Edit

Thanks -- so I'm guessing 202 is not enough...I totally bombed the writing...

screw commas

By California (California) on Monday, April 21, 2003 - 01:07 am: Edit

"screw commas"


By Jollyapplepie (Jollyapplepie) on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 05:07 pm: Edit

Anyone know the usual cutoff for Maryland?

By Underqualified (Underqualified) on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 07:13 pm: Edit

How about a 215 in Pennsylvania? I saw a chart somewhere on this site before, but I can't find it now...

Also, for National Merit Semi- and Finalist status, do I need to do better than my original score, or can it be the same? What is a reason someone would not advance from Semi to Finalist?

By Jenniferpa (Jenniferpa) on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 07:24 pm: Edit

At 215 in PA you're right on the edge. I think it's ranged from 214-216 recently. Regarding advancing to semi-finalist status, you're either in on the basis of the PSAT score or out, on a state by state basis. What you do have to do is support it with an appropriate SAT score. I think the primary reasons someone doesn't advance is because of disiplinary problems, poor performance, and failing, would you believe it, to submit that SAT score.

My daughter got 214, also in PA, and I'm reasonably certain that it won't be good enough. If she'd done just one practice test before hand... Oh well.

By Tenaciouselle (Tenaciouselle) on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 10:15 pm: Edit

Today I got a letter from my counselor indicating that I was one of the 50,000 students with a top score. It's that National Merit college referral letter- just for students who qualify to be either Commended or Semifinalists. I got a 220 on my PSATs. Anyways, my counselor told me that all students who got 200 or over received this letter. My friend got a 200 on his PSATs, and he got one.

By Jollyapplepie (Jollyapplepie) on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 10:24 pm: Edit

Err, I know I posted before, but anyone know WHERE I can find the cutoffs for Maryland?

By Flashbackfl (Flashbackfl) on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 10:29 pm: Edit

If my daughter already took the SAT in January as a junior, will that score count? How do you send them your score? Is there a place at to do that?

By Ndhawk (Ndhawk) on Tuesday, April 22, 2003 - 10:52 pm: Edit

the psat is the nmsqt not the sat flashback

I got a 214 on the psat, I live in georgia though, last year the cutoff was 214, and I know i'm 99th percentile because it says that on my score report, hopefully i get semifinalist

By Eri (Eri) on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 02:59 am: Edit

damn, i got 211. i think....

*fingers crossed again*

By Jwood (Jwood) on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 06:44 pm: Edit

Does anyone know the usual cutoff for Illinois?

By Flashbackfl (Flashbackfl) on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 06:52 pm: Edit

I think you misunderstood me...She took her SAT for the first time in January and got a 1570 so she doesn't want to retake it. Her PSAT for National Merit was taken in October, at that she got a 231 index - 800 M, 780 W, and 730 V. My question really is if she can use the January SAT (she is a Junior) to send to them when the application for semi-finalist comes in September. I'm confused because I thought I saw somewhere that is said to send in your SAT scores from Senior year, but that would be really crazy in her case. Please advise :) Thanks

By Medusa2003 (Medusa2003) on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 07:40 pm: Edit

You can certainly use junior year scores. Our daughter got a 1570 in October of her junior year and sent the score to National Merit after she was named a semifinalist in September of her senior year. (We confirmed with National Merit that this was acceptable) If she got really good junior year SAT I scores ( 1570 is outstanding) there is no reason to retake and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation will accept scores prior to senior year.

By Medusa2003 (Medusa2003) on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 07:47 pm: Edit

Regarding sending scores to National Merit. You can send them the same way you send scores to colleges. There is a code on for the NMSC under scholarship programs or something like that. You actually can send them now if you like. You might save a few dollars if you send the scores to National Merit at the same time you send scores to colleges.

By Flashbackfl (Flashbackfl) on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 10:44 pm: Edit

Thanks again, you really have been very helpful. One last thing though, can you offer any insight as to the career/major area. Will it help our daughter to list one as far as corporate scholarships go? Or is it better to put undecided as with the college choices?

By Medusa2003 (Medusa2003) on Wednesday, April 23, 2003 - 11:33 pm: Edit

Everyone we know that got a corporate National Merit scholarship was the son or daughter of an employee of a sponsoring company. I have heard that some corporations do give NM scholarships to students living in their service areas or students planning to major in particular fields. We never really investigated corporate NM scholarships since all of the schools our daughter applied to offered college-sponsored NM scholarships. She put genetics as her intended major on the NM forms. She was never contacted by any companies offering to sponsor her. I really don't know if students need to seek out corporate NM scholarships or if corporations will sometimes get in contact with students. I would recommend calling the National Merit Scholarship Corporation at 847-866-5100 for information on corporate National Merit scholarships. Maybe someone else on this board has had experience with corporate NM scholarships and could shed some light on the process for students whose parents don't work for a sponsoring company.

By Flashbackfl (Flashbackfl) on Thursday, April 24, 2003 - 03:21 pm: Edit

Where can we get a list of the colleges that offer NM scholarships? According to the paper NM sent, there are 3 different types of scholarships that someone can win. Which is best? It seems that the most likely is the schools NM scholarship, but I heard some schools like HYP don't have NM scholarships.

By Quink (Quink) on Friday, April 25, 2003 - 08:39 am: Edit

Cutoffs for Maryland - I was told by the guidance counselor that last year it was 222. Probably you should go to the NM site and email them if it is not posted.

By Lateralus (Lateralus) on Friday, April 25, 2003 - 11:42 pm: Edit

what is the difference between NMSQT semi-finalist and 'commended students'? are only semi-finalists beneficial to college aps? and how do they decide between the semi finalists and commended? is it your raw score they use in determining whether you are a semi-finalist ? or will we have to send in an application or something? thanks!

By Medusa2003 (Medusa2003) on Saturday, April 26, 2003 - 07:45 am: Edit

A cut-off score for the October PSAT that you took in your junior year is used in each state each year to determine which students are named Semi-Finalists for National Merit Scholarships. Semi-finalists are roughly 1/2 of 1% of the seniors in a state. ( I believe there is a separate cut-off for students who attend boarding schools ) "High scorers" who do not achieve semi-finalist status are given a letter of commendation and do not continue further in consideration for NM scholarships. It is solely your composite PSAT score from your junior year ( Math, Verbal, and Writing) that determine whether you will be a semi-finalist. In September of your senior year "high scorers" will be told by their high school if they scored high enough to be selected as semi-finalists. Those that don't will receive a letter of commendation and will not continue in the competition. Semi-finalists will be required to submit an application that will be completed by the student and the school that includes grades for all courses taken in high school, a list of extracurricular activities and work experience, a
written recommendation from your school, and a short essay about yourself. Semi-finalists also will need to submit SAT scores to the NMSC. Over 90% of semifinalists become finalists. The
primary reasons for not moving to finalist status are mediocre grades, a poor recommendation from your school, or low SAT scores ( although we know students that scored 1300 on the SAT that made finalist status). You will be notified in February of your senior year if you achieved finalist status.

I would recommend putting commended student on a college application but most colleges that do not give scholarships based on commended status. Many ( not including the Ivies ) will give some type of scholarship to NM finalists ranging from full ride to $500 a year.

By Mouse (Mouse) on Saturday, April 26, 2003 - 09:22 am: Edit

Help, on my PSAT results, my last name ends with an a but it should end in an i (stray pencil mark?). I scored a 226 but I am worried this screw up in my name is huge. How can I fix this?

By Lateralus (Lateralus) on Saturday, April 26, 2003 - 12:54 pm: Edit

thanks, if whether you get to be a semi-finalist is solely from the PSAT score in october, then why can't they announce the semi-finalists now?

By Flashbackfl (Flashbackfl) on Saturday, April 26, 2003 - 06:05 pm: Edit

Good question! Yes, why? Does anyone know?

By Texas137 (Texas137) on Saturday, April 26, 2003 - 06:24 pm: Edit

Very good question! I've wondered this too. It's like they intentionally withold it so it can't easily be listed on your college applications.

By Medusa2003 (Medusa2003) on Saturday, April 26, 2003 - 07:06 pm: Edit

Since you will know whether you are a NM semi-finalist in early September of your senior year I would assume that you will be able to list it on your application. ( How many students send applications in August??? ) But almost 11 months does seem a rather long time to wait. Why does it take so long???

By Mew246 (Mew246) on Saturday, April 26, 2003 - 08:39 pm: Edit

MA last year was either 221 or 222 i think, thats wat i heard from other boards

By Reelcool (Reelcool) on Sunday, April 27, 2003 - 03:11 am: Edit

Does anyone know about previous cutoffs in washington? I posted this question up above but I think it got over looked in all the sat confusion of a few weeks back...If anyone can help that would be great because I really have no idea what it could be...

By Useatoothbrush (Useatoothbrush) on Monday, April 28, 2003 - 09:18 pm: Edit

Reelcool: the cutoff last year for WA was either 214 or 215. I'd say if you have a 216 or above you probably are in the clear.

By Ginnyvere (Ginnyvere) on Saturday, May 03, 2003 - 06:14 pm: Edit

Some people have mentioned that they sent their SAT scores in order to be named National Merit Semi-finalists, why do we have to send them and how much of a part do they play in determining who makes the cut? Also, do they take a composite score or the highest single test? I have high SAT scores (extremely high for my school), but they aren't the 1570 that has been mentioned on this forum. Does anyone know what the North Carolina cutoff was last year? Will a 225 be enough?

By Starbyrst (Starbyrst) on Saturday, May 03, 2003 - 09:53 pm: Edit

so the only way you can make it from commended scholar to semi-finalist is by being in 99 percentile?

By Glshbeljbv (Glshbeljbv) on Wednesday, April 28, 2004 - 09:12 am: Edit

Anyone know what was the cutoff for semi- finalist last year in Michigan?

I got 212 and received a letter but not sure if I'll be qualified as a semi-finalist.

Some plz post an answer~~~ :)

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