Students May Look For Academic Performance-Based Scholarships

Published: November 9, 2022

Not all performance-based scholarships are through sports or music. Some are academic based and are usually based on standardized testing and/or academic achievements. The ACT, SAT and PSAT are the most widely recognized standardized test scores colleges accept for scholarships. 

The PSAT is a great test to take for students who are looking to get scholarships. It’s available to sophomores and juniors and is mainly to prepare students for the SAT. But, if juniors receive a high enough score, they can qualify for certain scholarships, including the Nation Merit Scholarship. FHN College and Career Counselor Brooke Prestige has worked with students who have qualified for the National Merit Scholarship before and recommends juniors take the PSAT before they take the SAT.

“If you’re a junior and you take the PSAT, that score is used for the National Merit Scholarship Organization which [has] huge scholarships,” Prestige said. “[It is very] competitive, usually you have to be [in the] top one percentile of scores to be eligible for it.”

When it comes to studying for the PSAT, prep books are the way to go. PSAT prep books are the ideal prep solutions for anyone who wants to succeed on PSAT and qualify for the National Merit

 Scholarship. But for the National Merit Scholarship semifinalist Manisha Muthukaruppan, the PSAT prep book wasn’t what got her in the top one percentile for last year’s PSAT scores. Muthukaruppan actually used the SAT prep book for the PSAT test, and recommends future testers do the same. 

“Definitely look at SAT prep books,” Muthukaruppan said. “Because if you prepare for something harder, then it’ll make the other test really easier than it would be.”

The National Merit Corporation expects semi-finalists to have scores of 1400 or higher on the PSAT. This score may be daunting, as the average PSAT score for high schoolers is 1000. However, students do not have to be in the top one percent of scores in order to receive money for college. Select colleges, corporations and organizations will recognize students’ great performance on the PSAT. So, even if testers don’t make it as a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship, qualifying alone will get students recognized by colleges and sponsors. 

“Even as a semifinalist,” Prestige said. “They usually offer some really big, sometimes full tuition scholarships and more at colleges.”

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