One of the nation’s most prestigious high school academic honors, The National Merit Scholarship Program dates back to 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT) which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.6 million entrants each year. Of the 1.6 million entrants, about 50,000 with the highest PSAT scores qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
To compete to become a Merit Finalist, Semifinalists must demonstrate high standards, which include not only their performance on the SAT but also on the rigor and record of their academic program, their activities and school leadership, and on an essay. Notification of those awarded National Merit Scholarships typically begins in March.