NMSQT provides scholarship opportunities

Juniors take National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test and attempt to score in the 99th percentile

Rachel Bayler, Reporter

On Wednesday, Oct. 25, juniors filed into their respective test-taking rooms, mentally preparing to take the PSAT/NMSQT. The National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT), also known as the PSAT, is a standardized test taken by juniors that can allow them to earn scholarships by scoring in the 99th percentile of their state.

The NMSQT gives students the chance to earn merit-based scholarships based on their scores and where they fall nationally.

“They can actually get a large scholarship, and the chance to go to school for free,” guidance counselor Lamont Rascoe said. “It’s a very prestigious recommendation or recognition. It’s a very competitive and rigorous test to get the National Merit, but (for) the students that have received that, it really puts them in a very different limelight.”

On top of being SAT prep, students’ scores on the NMSQT can also be used in the college application process. According to Rascoe, schools use it to compare students’ academic abilities and test-taking skills.

“(The NMSQT is) one of the primary admission requirements, one that schools generally look at. It is heavily looked at from universities,” Rascoe said.

English teacher Dawn Fowerbaugh encouraged her students to take the test, saying it can really benefit them.

“They can qualify for free tuition from college,” Fowerbaugh said. “Only so many kids qualify each year. It benefits them in college because many colleges not only give you free tuition, (but) they’ll give you (a) free room and board. It (could be) a completely full ride.”

As taking the test junior year is optional, SHS guidance counselors encourage students to take the test a second time in order to better prepare themselves for the SAT and to attempt to win the National Merit Scholarship.

“We, as counselors, strongly recommend that all students retake the PSAT their junior year,” said Rascoe. “(It can help with) preparing them for the actual SAT and the ACT at the end of their junior year.”