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TranquilMind

Question about PSAT Scoring- can anyone verify?

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My daughter just missed the PSAT National Merit Scholarship cutoff score for my state (most recent one I found, that is). I thought that was it, and she was out of it for that purpose. However, I just read somewhere that if the "Your Selection Index" score box does NOT have an asterisk next to it, that your child might still be in the running for at least a commendation?

 

Is this true? And there are essays or something you have to do? Can someone fill me in on this? I had not pursued it at all because I thought she missed the cutoff, and that was it. How do we find out this year's cutoff scores.

 

 

It was a shame, because she was so close! It would be great to know there still might be some chance there, but I'm just not sure how it all works. She changed high schools after sophomore year, so not sure how all that works either.

 

Can anyone enlighten me, especially if you have been through this situation?

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DId she take the test last October and she's currently a junior? If so, it is too early to know. This is a long process. Here's an overview. http://www.nationalmerit.org/steps_nmsp.pdf

 

The cut off scores vary some from year to year. So, if she just missed the cutoff for last year by a point, she may still be in the running and you won't know unitl fall if she makes semifinalist and gets to proceed to the next step.

 

If you have any questions about the process, don't hesitate to call National Merit. They are helpful.

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DId she take the test last October and she's currently a junior? If so, it is too early to know. This is a long process. Here's an overview. http://www.nationalm.../steps_nmsp.pdf

 

The cut off scores vary some from year to year. So, if she just missed the cutoff for last year by a point, she may still be in the running and you won't know unitl fall if she makes semifinalist and gets to proceed to the next step.

 

If you have any questions about the process, don't hesitate to call National Merit. They are helpful.

 

Yes, currently a junior. Thanks for the info! It would be great to have another thing to add to the college application!

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Just in case you don't know, I'll mention that some colleges and universities tie bigger scholarships to National Merit. Here's an article from my site about National Merit Scholarships.

 

Even if she doesn't make the cutoff for semi-finalist, it sounds like she's likely to receive National Merit Commended and that's a nice thing to add to the awards section of her applications. The fact that she's in the territory of potentially making the National Merit cutoff is also a good sign that she may do well on the SAT or ACT and that can help with merit scholarships too. If she's not already planning to take either the SAT or the ACT more than once that might be something to think about as that might be a good way to increase her odds of a high score.

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However, I just read somewhere that if the "Your Selection Index" score box does NOT have an asterisk next to it, that your child might still be in the running for at least a commendation?

 

My oldest has taken the PSAT for practice the last couple of years, and he will take it for "real" next year. While he has obtained the cutoff score both years, he has had an asterisk by his score box because he has not been a junior. It is my understanding that the asterisk in the "Your Selection Index" simply means that the student is not eligible to participate in the contest, regardless of the score obtained because the student is not a junior or doesn't meet some other entry requirement.

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There is a question that homeschoolers sometimes answer wrong - it asks if the student attends high school full time (or something like that). If that's what happened the National Merit office can likely help you with that. So, I would check now and make sure there wasn't an error.

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My oldest has taken the PSAT for practice the last couple of years, and he will take it for "real" next year. While he has obtained the cutoff score both years, he has had an asterisk by his score box because he has not been a junior. It is my understanding that the asterisk in the "Your Selection Index" simply means that the student is not eligible to participate in the contest, regardless of the score obtained because the student is not a junior or doesn't meet some other entry requirement.

 

Well, it says right on the back of the form that is returned with the score:

 

An asterisk (*) next to your Selection Index score means you do not meet requirements to enter NMSC competitions for awards to be offered in 2014.

 

So, If you DO have an asterisk, you are not eligible. Right?

 

She does not.

 

I also see that a mom on College Confidential says:

 

NO the cutoffs are not released until September of senior year So lots of time to be in suspense if your score is near the cutoff. The state data helps us try to guess what the cutoff will be, but nothing is guaranteed until people start getting notified senior year. (Even then, they don't actually publish the cutoffs, but folks here will assemble a list based on data points of people saying their score and whether they are finalists or not.)

 

Confused!

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There is a question that homeschoolers sometimes answer wrong - it asks if the student attends high school full time (or something like that). If that's what happened the National Merit office can likely help you with that. So, I would check now and make sure there wasn't an error.

 

That child was in school full time.

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Just in case you don't know, I'll mention that some colleges and universities tie bigger scholarships to National Merit. Here's an article from my site about National Merit Scholarships.

 

Even if she doesn't make the cutoff for semi-finalist, it sounds like she's likely to receive National Merit Commended and that's a nice thing to add to the awards section of her applications. The fact that she's in the territory of potentially making the National Merit cutoff is also a good sign that she may do well on the SAT or ACT and that can help with merit scholarships too. If she's not already planning to take either the SAT or the ACT more than once that might be something to think about as that might be a good way to increase her odds of a high score.

 

Thanks, Barbara. Yes, she is taking both of those shortly and next fall.

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TM, this week the NMSC sent out notifications to current juniors (Class of 2014) via their schools if they made the cut for the Commended + Semifinalist group. The Selection Index cutoff for this group is 203 this year (according to postings on college confidential).

 

The dividing line between Commended & Semifinalist is state-dependent, & won't be announced till next September.

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My Junior will be Commended according to recent reports but is highly unlikely to meet Semifinalist status for our state. As far as I know we don't have to do anything just yet but if your dd gets Semifinalist status then she will have to write an essay to compete for Finalist status. Good luck!

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TM, this week the NMSC sent out notifications to current juniors (Class of 2014) via their schools if they made the cut for the Commended + Semifinalist group. The Selection Index cutoff for this group is 203 this year (according to postings on college confidential).

 

The dividing line between Commended & Semifinalist is state-dependent, & won't be announced till next September.

 

Is that 203 the national cutoff?

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TranquilMind,

 

If your dd is a junior and has No asterisk next to her selection index, that means she is eligible for the NM competition. The NMSC sent out letters this week to the principals of all qualified kids (juniors w/no asterisk) who scored 203 or above. These 50,000 students nationwide will either be Commended or Semi-Finalists. In September, the Semi-Finalists (about 16,000 of these) will be announced, and these students will have to fill out an application to apply to advance to Finalist. The other 34,000 students will be designated Commended, and they are out of further contention, so no further application is necessary for them.

 

The specific score to make semi-finalist varies depending upon which state you live in. So, if your qualified student scored a 203 or above, then he/she will be at least Commended. If his/her score was 202 or lower, then they are out of contention now and will not be either Commended or NMSF.

 

HTH,

Brenda

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Is that 203 the national cutoff?

 

Yes, the commended cutoff is national while the semifinalist cutoffs vary by state.

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TranquilMind,

 

If your dd is a junior and has No asterisk next to her selection index, that means she is eligible for the NM competition. The NMSC sent out letters this week to the principals of all qualified kids (juniors w/no asterisk) who scored 203 or above. These 50,000 students nationwide will either be Commended or Semi-Finalists. In September, the Semi-Finalists (about 16,000 of these) will be announced, and these students will have to fill out an application to apply to advance to Finalist. The other 34,000 students will be designated Commended, and they are out of further contention, so no further application is necessary for them.

 

The specific score to make semi-finalist varies depending upon which state you live in. So, if your qualified student scored a 203 or above, then he/she will be at least Commended. If his/her score was 202 or lower, then they are out of contention now and will not be either Commended or NMSF.

 

HTH,

Brenda

 

 

Awesome. I guess we just haven't heard yet then, if 203 is the national cutoff.

 

Of the 50,000, the top 16,000 scorers will all be Semi-finalists, I'm guessing? Or are they judged on something else too?

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Yes. 203 is the nationwide cutoff for Commended & above.

 

Brenda

 

 

Great, thanks. I found such conflicting information that I was not sure. Glad I came here to ask!

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Awesome. I guess we just haven't heard yet then, if 203 is the national cutoff.

 

Of the 50,000, the top 16,000 scorers will all be Semi-finalists, I'm guessing? Or are they judged on something else too?

 

 

From what I've read, about 15,000 of them make finalist, so it's most of them. Making Finalist requires an SAT score that "verifies" your PSAT, the essay some were talking about, and a review of your high school record. I remember reading a discussion a while back about why roughly 1000 of the kids don't make the cut. For some, it was that they didn't bother to complete the application, for most of them it was that their high school grades weren't very good.

 

Too bad about your dd, Tranquil. My son is in the same boat, a great score, and he'd be NMSF in probably 40 states, but alas, not in ours....

 

HTH,

Brenda

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My son, who is a sophomore, has an asterisk by his score. I figured it was there to let us know that even though his score qualified he was not eligible for NMSQT because of his grade level.

 

I hope you hear good news about your DD.

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My son, who is a sophomore, has an asterisk by his score. I figured it was there to let us know that even though his score qualified he was not eligible for NMSQT because of his grade level.

 

I hope you hear good news about your DD.

 

 

Thanks! I guess we will see.

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From what I've read, about 15,000 of them make finalist, so it's most of them. Making Finalist requires an SAT score that "verifies" your PSAT, the essay some were talking about, and a review of your high school record. I remember reading a discussion a while back about why roughly 1000 of the kids don't make the cut. For some, it was that they didn't bother to complete the application, for most of them it was that their high school grades weren't very good.

 

Too bad about your dd, Tranquil. My son is in the same boat, a great score, and he'd be NMSF in probably 40 states, but alas, not in ours....

 

HTH,

Brenda

 

 

 

Thanks, Brenda. It's a bummer to be close! I'm sorry!

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