How to Enroll in the National Merit Scholarship in 2024

The National Merit Scholarship Program is a contest in the United States that gives recognition and university scholarships.

It’s managed by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a non-profit group in Evanston, Illinois. This program started in 1955.


If you’re in 11th grade or a parent of someone in 11th grade, then this opportunity might just be for you.

This article is about how to enroll in the National Merit Scholarship in 2024.



How to Enroll in the National Merit Scholarship in 2024

The 2023 PSAT/NMSQT is how you join the 2025 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Around 3.5 million students took the PSAT/NMSQT in 2023, and about 1.3 million met the entry rules.



National Merit Scholarship Entry Rules

Getting In – Entry Rules

To join in 2025, you must:

  • Be in high school and plan to finish by 2025, whether you go to a regular school or are homeschooled. You should also plan to start college by the fall of 2025.
  • Go to a high school in the United States, the District of Columbia, or U.S. territories, or meet the rules if you’re studying outside the U.S.
  • Take the 2023 PSAT/NMSQT during high school, by the time you finish 11th grade.


Digital Check Questions

During a digital check, you may be asked the following questions:

  • Are you in high school?
    • Yes
    • No
  • When will you finish high school and start college?
    • 2024
    • 2025
    • 2026
    • After 2026
    • Not going to college
  • How many years are you in grades 9–12?
    • 1 year
    • 2 years
    • 3 years
    • 4 years
    • 5 or more years


For International Students

If you’re outside the U.S., they’ll ask:

  • Are you a U.S. citizen?
    • Yes
    • No
    • No, but I’m a U.S. resident and plan to become a citizen soon.


How to Check If You’re Eligible

Look at your PSAT/NMSQT Score Report. Make sure your answers to the entry questions are right. If they’re wrong or have changed, contact NMSC.

Students that Gets Honored

About 50,000 students get recognized each year.

Over 16,000 of the top scorers become Semifinalists, and they’re told through their schools in early September.

The rest get Letters of Commendation for their excellent academic promise.

Are Semi-Finalists Notified?

Yes, they are.

They find out through their schools in early September. Homeschooled Semifinalists are notified at home.

Becoming a Finalist

Semifinalists need to complete an application, have a high academic record, write an essay, get endorsed by a school official, and take the SAT® or ACT®.

They’ll find out if they become Finalists in early February.


Students can report or change a college choice through their Online Scholarship Application accounts.

Don’t forget to check the National Merit Scholarship website, main dates are provided for college-sponsored award consideration.


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