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Many students take the PSAT in the fall of their junior year. What a lot of students may not notice is the full name of the test is PSAT/NMSQT, or Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Thus, the PSAT is not just good practice for your SATs. It's also the first step in becoming a National Merit Finalist and hopefully, earning a $2,500 scholarship from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

In this article, we'll discuss what steps you need to take to become a National Merit Finalist and compete for a scholarship. We'll also give you advice on how to write a strong application and maximize your chances of becoming a National Merit Scholar.

Here's how the numbers break down:

Each year, about 1.6 million students take the PSAT. Of the juniors who take the exam, about 16,000 earn scores that qualify them as Semifinalists (that's around 1%). This group is narrowed down to 15,000, who become Finalists. Of this group, about 7,500 are awarded scholarships of $2,500 a year (that can be renewed each year you're in college).

This article will explain the three key steps you need to follow to win the National Merit scholarship, from meeting the entry requirements, to scoring well on the PSAT, to submitting a standout application.

Step 1: Meet the Entry Requirements

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) requires you to have a few qualifications to even be considered for the scholarship:

You must be enrolled as a high school student, progressing normally toward graduation.

You must plan to enroll full time in college starting the fall following high school graduation.

You must be a U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanent resident planning to become a U.S. citizen.

These requirements will be checked with a few questions at the beginning of the PSAT.


Step 2: Score in the Top 1% of the PSAT

Becoming a National Merit Finalist is competitive and requires a top score on the PSAT. Although it varies from state to state, most students must score above 1400 (out of 1520) to qualify as a Semifinalist, which means they can compete to move on to Finalist standing.


How can you achieve a top 1% score on the PSAT? Prepare with high-quality materials. Identify your weak points and work to improve them. If the Reading section confuses you, spend the majority of your time practicing those sections. If math isn't your thing, commit yourself to drilling PSAT Math problems. The National Merit competition uses a Selection Index that is based on your Reading, Math, and Writing test scores, so mastering all three sections is key.

Take control of your learning and study with practice questions and sample tests. This practice will also pay off later when you take the SATs in the spring of your junior year and fall of senior year.

Bonus: Aiming for a National Merit Scholarship? If you're not sure you can self-study your way to a qualifying PSAT score, you'll love our PSAT prep program, PrepScholar .

We designed our program to learn your strengths and weaknesses through advanced statistics and customize your prep to be as effective as possible for you. When you start with PrepScholar, you'll take a diagnostic that will determine your weaknesses in over forty PSAT skills. PrepScholar then creates a study program specifically customized for you .

To improve each skill, you'll take focused lessons dedicated to each skill, with over 20 practice questions per skill. This will train you for your specific area weaknesses, so your time is always spent most effectively to raise your score.

We also force you to focus on understanding your mistakes and learning from them. If you make the same mistake over and over again, we'll call you out on it.

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For more info on prepping for the PSAT, check out our detailed guide to attaining National Merit Semifinalist status.

Step 3: Submit an Excellent Application

Complete the NMSC application requirements by fall of your senior year (usually early October). This application allows 15,000 of the 16,000 Semifinalists to move on to Finalist standing.

If you don't become a Finalist or don't qualify, you may still get word that you're a Commended Student or remain as a Semifinalist, which are great distinctions that will stand out on college applications. However, only Finalists are eligible for National Merit Scholarship awards.

The online NMSC application is the same as your college application in some ways and different in other ways.


You must submit the following:

  • Your academic record (transcript)
  • SAT scores*
  • Information about your activities and leadership roles
  • A personal essay

*You have to take the SATs on approved dates, usually in the fall of your senior year, and make sure to send along your score report to NMSC. They need to receive your scores by December 31st of your senior year. While there is no strict cutoff for SAT scores, they must be competitive like your PSAT scores (usually around 1400 or above) so they know your PSAT wasn't a fluke.


  • A recommendation from your high school principal or someone the principal designates as a school official
  • Information about your school's curricula and grading system

Let's dig into each component to maximize your chance of building a strong application to win the National Merit Scholar title.

Academic Record and SAT Scores

The National Merit Corporation is first and foremost looking to award academic achievement. There is no strict cutoff, but a competitive GPA (3.5 and above) and high SAT scores (approximately 1400 and above) are recommended. Your academic record should also show that you challenged yourself with honors and AP classes. When you're a high school junior, there isn't much you can do about this, other than continue to excel in your classes.

Ready to go beyond just reading about the SAT? Then you'll love the free five-day trial for our SAT Complete Prep program . Designed and written by PrepScholar SAT experts , our SAT program customizes to your skill level in over 40 subskills so that you can focus your studying on what will get you the biggest score gains.

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Extracurricular Activities and Community Service

The NMC is also looking at the skills and accomplishments shown in your application. Demonstrated leadership goes a long way--for example, leading in Student Council or other student organizations.

Your activities should reveal your passions and interests--it is usually better to show "depth over breadth." In other words, get deeply involved in a few activities you're passionate about rather than showing minor participation in every club, team, and organization your school has to offer. Almost all activities are valuable if they show your commitment, leadership potential, and ability to work with and help others.


Recommendations go a long way. Cultivate good relationships with your teachers, counselor , and principal and provide a "brag sheet" for them with the qualities and accomplishments you would like them to include in your recommendation.

Your brag sheet may include the following:

  • What six adjectives best describe you?
  • What do you consider your greatest accomplishment(s)?
  • What are your strongest goals for the next five years?
  • What is a meaningful experience you have had during high school?

These anecdotes will make writing a lot easier, and they'll thank you for this.

Make sure to ask for your recommendation at least three weeks in advance of the deadline, and follow up with your writer to make sure it'll be submitted on time. The earlier you notify them, the more ahead you'll be of your classmates, most of whom will need college application letters.

Personal Essay

The personal essay adds your voice to your application materials. Your essay is the place where you can share your unique story and perspective and make your application materials come to life.


Here is an example of a past National Merit essay question:

To help the reviewers get to know you, describe an experience you have had, a person who has influenced you, or an obstacle you have overcome. Explain why this is meaningful to you. Use your own words and limit your response to the space provided.

The space allows for about 500 - 600 words.

You should focus on two important components of the essay. First, the NMC wants to see that you can express yourself clearly and powerfully through writing . Make sure to proofread, edit, and revise for any spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, or weaknesses in syntax and diction.

Second, your essay reveals how you think about yourself , your accomplishments, and your goals. What do your experiences mean to you? What do they reveal about your identity? Spend some time brainstorming before you decide what aspects of your identity are most important to share with the NMC readers.

For example, did a group science fair project show you the power of collaboration in making new discoveries? Did a Student Council debate reveal the complexity of perspectives on a single issue? Did Lisa Simpson teach you the importance of sticking to your principles, even if your family may not always agree?

The topics are endless, and there is no best answer, but whatever you choose should reveal something significant about who you are . Once you have your first draft, ask a friend, family member, counselor, or English teacher for feedback on what worked and what didn't. It's a short essay, so make sure every sentence is there for a reason and important for telling your story.

In Conclusion

Staying motivated and committing yourself to all these goals will put you in the best position toward becoming a National Merit Finalist. Remember, only 15,000 students (< 1%) are chosen as Finalists, and of those, only about 7,500 students receive scholarships. On a percentage basis, it's even more competitive than getting into the Ivy League, so even with all your hard work, you'll still need a certain amount of luck!

NSMC notifies students if they have become finalists in February of their senior year. Scholarship notifications go out in March. By that time, most of your college applications will be done and submitted.

Now you just have to try to relax and wait for the decisions to come! If you complete all the steps mentioned above, you can be confident that you've done all you can – now hopefully the National Merit Scholarship Corporation will recognize all your hard work.

What's Next?

Want more tips on how to get a top PSAT score? Check out our guide on how to get a perfect PSAT score for all the info you need to know.

Are you striving for perfection on the SAT? Read our detailed guide by our resident SAT full scorer .

Aiming to get into a top-tier school? Check out our article: What's a good SAT score for the Ivy League?

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Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.

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Holly R. "I am absolutely overjoyed and cannot thank you enough for helping me!”

Jeff Widman

I enjoy hacking/optimizing systems. currently working as a software engineer focused on infrastructure/plumbing. founded/sold two companies., the magical 4.0–national merit finalist essay.

When I was a junior in highschool, I had to write a 500 word essay as part of the process of becoming a National Merit Finalist (remember the PSAT?). This is still o still one of my favorites:


The Magical 4.0

As I walked to the front of the class and began to read, I found it impossible to think; I could only read each word one at a time. It was the last day of finals, and I was presenting my narrative project to my English class. Only four days earlier, my dreams had been shattered. I had lost my 4.0. Struggling for an “A” throughout the quarter, it had come down to the very last test; I needed to get a 98. When the teacher returned my test, an 89.5 glared in red at the top of the page. Even more painful was the inner questioning that had immediately followed. My narrative project became my analytical tool as I struggled to make sense of my loss. Re-telling the event in the third-person, I shoved my emotions aside and asked the questions I previously had not dared to face.

As the quarter had progressed everything else had faded except this goal of maintaining my 4.0. Every spare moment had been spent studying Chemistry, or revising my World Literature essay. My friends had become strangers. Because I had been consistently going to bed after midnight, my performance in Track had suffered–I no longer had any chance of running in the State meet.

But how could I distill this experience into a narrative? Could I adequately describe the effort that had gone into my 4.0, or how close I had come to getting an A, only to see it pulled just out of my reach on the very last test? Would my audience even care? Would they understand how hard I worked for perfection, how I expected perfection–how I was used to perfection? Would they understand what it meant to lose perfection?

I labored over my narrative to shorten it–every time I started typing it would just grow and grow. The ending was the biggest challenge; it wasn’t until I started typing the last paragraph that I came up with the idea of a happy-ever-after ending, the ending I almost had, where I scored a 99 instead of an 89.5.

Not until after my presentation, as I shared my reflections on the experience, did I reveal to the class that I had really gotten the 89.5. Afterward my English professor would write, “This was one of my favorite moments of last year, Jeff. Maybe best of all was the brilliant move to have the ending different than what actually happened in your life, and then reveal that ‘real’ ending in your comments. The entire room was transfixed by your revelation; I could feel it. You both criticized yourself and elevated yourself by so bravely doing that.”

The contrast between the two endings–the dream and the reality–underscored what my narrative project had made me realize was my only question: Had I overvalued perfection? Even if I had achieved the 99, would my 4.0 have been worth so much sacrifice?

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How to Write a National Merit Essay

Teresa j. siskin.

Semifinalists are notified in September each year, and finalist applications, including essays, are due the following month.

You’ve cleared the first hurdle once you’ve become a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship Competition. Continuing to compete as a finalist means completing an application, which includes an essay. While there is no one "correct” way to write this essay, you can help distinguish yourself from fellow semifinalists by offering a clear, concise 500-word piece that shares a perspective and leaves an impression.

Explore this article

  • Structure and Inspiration

1 Structure and Inspiration

You can approach the National Merit Scholarship essay as you would any other scholarship essay. According to Kansas State University and Dr. Kay Peterson from the University of Florida, one way to structure your essay is to focus on a life altering or defining moment. Draw from a simple occurrence, such as falling off your bike as a small child or a book you read, or from a much more intense event, such as losing a home in a hurricane, as long as you relay what lesson you took from that experience. Use the introduction of your essay to recount this defining moment, and conclude with a thesis that summarizes how that event affected your outlook on life. Then, use your subsequent body paragraphs to highlight how this moment continues to affect your life personally or academically, and conclude by relating this experience to your goals for college, your desire for college scholarships, or your passion for becoming a National Merit Scholar. You can always ask others for help both in brainstorming for essay topics and in editing your final product.

  • 1 University of Florida Office of Financial Aid: Writing the Scholarship Essay
  • 2 Kansas State University: Writing Scholarship Essays

About the Author

Teresa J. Siskin has been a researcher, writer and editor since 2009. She holds a doctorate in art history.

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The Admissions Strategist

National merit scholarship (how to win it): the winner’s guide.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for scholarships and recognition that started in 1955.

Each year, approximately 7,500 Finalists receive scholarships. About 1,100 outstanding National Merit participants who are not Finalists also receive Special Scholarships annually.

Some colleges even offer free tuition or full-ride scholarships to National Merit Finalists.

Scholarship money is always great, but it isn’t the only benefit to the National Merit program. Becoming a National Merit Finalist is a prestigious honor that can give your chances of college admission a major boost.

So, how can you reap the benefits of becoming a National Merit Finalist? Read this guide to learn everything you need to know!

Odds of Winning a National Merit Scholarship

Before we get started, you should know that earning a National Merit Scholarship is even more competitive than earning acceptance to an Ivy League college.

  • Millions of students take the PSAT each year. About 16,000 students become Semifinalists, and 15,000 become Finalists.
  • Of the Finalists, about 7,500 receive scholarships.

Of course, even if you don’t win a scholarship, becoming a Semifinalist or Finalist is a great honor.

It can make you a more competitive college applicant and earn you additional scholarship money from some colleges.

So, let’s find out how to increase your chances of success.

How to Enter the National Merit Program

Entering the National Merit Program is simple: Take the PSAT (formally known as the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) during the fall of your junior year in high school.

The test is usually administered in October.

National Merit Scholarship: How to Win

Click above to watch a video on how to win the National Merit Scholarship.

If you meet certain qualifications, taking the PSAT/NMSQT automatically enters you in the National Merit Scholarship competition.

These qualifications are:

  • Being enrolled as a high school student who is progressing normally toward graduation
  • Planning to enroll full-time in college the fall after you graduate from high school
  • Being a U.S. citizen or U.S. lawful permanent resident who plans to become a U.S. citizen

On your PSAT test form, you will answer four questions that determine whether you meet these requirements.

Next Steps: Qualifying for Scholarships

Of course, taking the test is only the beginning. To continue through the competition, you’ll need to:

  • Score in the top one percent of PSAT test-takers
  • Find out if you’re a Semifinalist or a Commended student
  • Complete an application (if selected as a Semifinalist)
  • Submit SAT scores
  • Find out if you’ve qualified for scholarship(s)

Let’s take a closer look at each step of this process.

Score in the Top One Percent

After you take the PSAT, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) receives and reviews scores.

  • If you meet the basic qualifications described above, they look at your Selection Index .
  • The Selection Index is calculated by doubling the sum of your Reading, Writing and Language, and Mathematics scores.

About 16,000 high scorers become Semifinalists.

  • This represents less than one percent of test-takers, meaning you’ll need to score in the top one percent to qualify as a semifinalist.

However, scores are considered on a state-by-state basis, so that students from across the nation have a chance to qualify.

Students often ask what score they’ll need to become a Semifinalist. This is hard to answer, because it varies from year to year. It’s usually somewhere around 1400.

For more information, you can call the NMSC at 847-866-5100 and ask about the previous year’s cutoff in your state.

Get personalized advice!

Receive notification of semifinalist/commended status.

You’ll have a long wait before you find out if you’ve achieved Semifinalist status.

In late September of your senior year, about 34,000 students receive a Letter of Commendation. Commended Students are based on a Selection Index score that is slightly lower than the Selection Index score needed to become a Semifinalist.

  • Commended students don’t continue in the competition, but some do receive Special Scholarships.
  • It’s also something positive to mention on your college applications.

An additional 16,000 students are notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists, usually in early September. All Semifinalists will receive application materials from NMSC through their schools.

Complete an Application

To advance from Semifinalist to Finalist, you will need to complete the NMSC application. 15,000 of the 16,000 Semifinalists become Finalists.

These applications are usually due in early October. The application is similar to a college application.

It includes:

  • Information about your activities and leadership roles
  • A recommendation letter from the principal or a school official designated by your principal
  • Information about your school’s grading system and classes

To become a Finalist, you must:

  • Have excellent academic performance all four years of high school (preferably a 3.5 GPA or higher)
  • Have SAT scores that “confirm your PSAT performance”
  • Continue meeting basic qualifications, including being enrolled in the last year of high school and planning to enroll in college in the fall

In the “Tips” section at the end of the article, we’ll discuss how to put your best foot forward with an impressive application.

Submit SAT Scores

SAT scores are part of the NMSC application. You’ll have to take the SAT on approved dates, usually during the fall of senior year.

  • The NMSC must receive your scores by December 31 of your senior year.
  • Although the NMSC doesn’t give a specific cutoff score for the SAT, they do say that your score should confirm your PSAT score.

Basically, your score should be close to your PSAT score to demonstrate that your PSAT performance wasn’t a fluke. You should aim for around 1400 or better.

Qualify for Scholarships

In February, about 15,000 Semifinalists receive a letter that they have advanced to Finalist standing.

Your high school principal will receive a certificate and present it to you.

From the Finalist group, winners of Merit Scholarships are selected. These selections are based on abilities, skills, and accomplishments.

Between March and mid-June, 7,500 Finalists learn that they have been awarded Merit Scholarships. There are three types of scholarships:

  • National Merit $2500 Scholarships: Every Finalist is considered for these single payment scholarships, which are awarded on a state-by-state basis. Selections are not based on financial circumstances, major or college choice, or career plans.
  • Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards: Corporate sponsors designate awards for children of employees or members, residents of communities where the company operates, or Finalists with career plans the sponsor wishes to encourage. These awards are usually $500-$2000 and may be one-time awards or renewable for all four years of college.
  • College-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards: Officials of sponsor colleges select winners from Finalists who have been accepted for admission and have informed NMSC that the college is their top choice. These awards are renewable for four years of undergraduate study.

Schools that offer free tuition or free-ride scholarships to National Merit Scholars include:

  • Texas A&M
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Arizona
  • Auburn University
  • University of Tulsa
  • Baylor University

In addition, about 1,100 excellent National Merit Program participants who are not Finalists receive Special Scholarships.

These may be one-time awards or renewable for four years of study. Students must meet the sponsor’s criteria and submit an entry form to the sponsor organization.

Tips for Winning a National Merit Scholarship

Now, we’ll look at tips that will help you qualify for a National Merit Scholarship.

These tips fall into two categories: earning a high score on the PSAT and submitting a top-notch NMSC application.

How to Earn a High Score on the PSAT

  • Answer PSAT practice questions or take practice tests on the CollegeBoard’s website. Becoming familiar with the structure, format, and question types is extremely helpful.
  • When you get a question wrong, take the time to read the right answer and understand why it’s correct. Why did you get the question wrong? What steered you in the wrong direction? What’s a better strategy you can use in the future?
  • Based on how you perform on practice tests, determine your strengths and weaknesses. As you continue preparing, focus on improving in your areas of weakness.
  • This may mean drilling math questions, studying vocabulary words (along with roots, prefixes, and suffixes), brushing up on grammar, or practicing with reading passages.
  • If you need a lot of help in a subject area, consider hiring a tutor or working with a teacher at your school.
  • Continue taking practice tests/answering practice questions to ensure that you’re improving and getting closer to your target score.

How to Submit a Competitive NMSC Application

  • Have a GPA of at least 3.5 or better. You should have performed consistently well throughout high school, and you should have taken challenging courses. Of course, you can’t change your previous performance and schedule, but do your best to earn the highest grades possible now.
  • Earn a high score on the SAT (preferably 1400 or better). You can prepare for the SAT in much the same way you prepared for the PSAT.
  • Show deep extracurricular involvement in a few areas you’re passionate about, along with leadership experiences whenever possible.
  • Cultivate positive relationships with your principal and other school officials. Ask for your recommendation at least three weeks ahead of time. Provide a list of qualities, experiences, and accomplishments they can mention in your letter.

Writing an Excellent Personal Essay for Your Application

Your NMSC essay must be 500-600 words.

The personal essay topic varies each year. Here’s one example from a previous year:

To help the reviewers get to know you, describe an experience you have had, a person who has influenced you, or an obstacle you have overcome. Explain why this is meaningful to you. Use your own words and limit your response to the space provided.

Like your college application essay, this essay is intended to showcase your unique personality and perspective.

Follow the same guidelines you should follow when writing your college application essay:

  • Brainstorm what aspects of your life, personality, and values you’d like to share with the NMSC.
  • Write in your authentic voice and be honest. The committee wants to know who you are as an individual.
  • Open with an anecdote that introduces the topic you’d like to address. Use specific details that make the story yours.
  • Be reflective. What did you learn from the experience you’ve described? How did it help you grow or influence your life? Why does the topic you selected matter to you?
  • Proofread and edit. Make sure you’ve conveyed your ideas clearly and using appropriate conventions. Cut unnecessary fluff and clarify confusing parts.
  • Have a parent, friend, and/or teacher read your essay and provide feedback.

Final Thoughts: National Merit Scholarship (And How to Win It!)

If you become a National Merit Scholar, it’s a huge honor that can qualify you for several scholarships (and even a full ride at some schools).

  • Winning a National Merit scholarship is a long and highly competitive process, but it’s doable with practice and dedication.

The steps you must take to win a National Merit scholarship—earning good grades, participating in leadership and extracurricular activities, preparing for and performing well on the SAT, building relationships with teachers and administrators, and crafting a personal essay—are also essential for applying to college.

  • So, aiming for a National Merit scholarship is a win no matter what happens. Do your best, but don’t stress too much over the results.

You’ll learn a lot from the experience, and you’ll build the competitiveness of your college application. If you win a scholarship or two along the way, that’s icing on the cake.

Learn how we can help you with college and career guidance! Check out our YouTube channel!

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national merit essay examples

National Merit Essay

<p>The essay topic for the National Merit Application is pretty broad, so I was wondering if you guys could help guide me in the right direction for it. </p>

<p>The topic is: In your own words, describe your personal characteristics, accomplishments, plans, and goals. What sets you apart? 500words</p>

<p>So, should my essay encompass all those things (characteristics, accomplishments) or just focus on one thing? I’m confused because it’s the first “college” essay I’ve really worked on. Help?</p>

<p>I’m in the exact same boat. Bump.</p>

<p>same here. someone please help</p>

<p>I was trying to find my son’s essay from a few years back, but I can’t. Personally I think I would focus on “What sets you apart?”, drawing those other aspects into the essay. For example, my son’s aspiration at the time was to be an engineer. So I think what he did was talk about his plans and goals and how his characteristics and accoomplishments have led toward those plans/goals.</p>

<p>Although, of course, you want a good essay, this really isn’t as important as college application essays. They just want to know that the PSAT score wasn’t a fluke, and that you really can write. Most semifinalists go on to become finalists, so just write a decent essay and you should be fine.</p>

<p>I have a really well written and funny essay about an experience I had auditioning for musical theater, and how that is a huge passion of mine. BUT… that’s basically the only thing it focuses on. Fine for college apps, but is it OK for this scholarship? Should I include a lot of other “personal characteristics, accomplishments, plans, and goals” that set me apart? I feel like if I do this it’ll turn into a resume in the shape of an essay. Don’t they see all that stuff elsewhere on your app?</p>

<p>The college counselor at our school suggested not stressing about it or worrying about making it a literary masterpiece. He says just talk about what you’ve done in HS & some of your interests. He says they’re just looking to see that you can write decently & learn a bit about you. He suggests a LOT more effort be devoted to college essays, since that is replacing interviews, for the most part. HImom</p>

<p>What I am doing for my essay is basically:</p>

<p>Starting off with a quote that I feel defines in some way how I live my life, and telling how it demonstrates my personal characteristics. Mentioning my personal characteristics, and how those have influenced my achievements and interests. Tying my interests into my goals, and showing how my goals and plans will tie into each other.</p>

<p>That way, I am hitting on all the separate points mentioned in the prompt, while still keeping them connected.</p>

<p>These comments have all been really helpful! I’m much more confident about my essay now, so thank you!</p>

<p>But don’t you not want to be limited to applying one quote?</p>

<p>I would make sure to throw in some non-scholastic interests to round you out as a person in the essay. It’s a lot harder to turn down a person than an application.</p>

<p>My D wrote a straightforward essay using the prompt. She found it a very difficult essay to write. She felt like she was bragging. She progressed to finalist. One of her friends wrote a “newspaper article” about herself winning the Pulitzer Prize. The article was set in 2020 and described her accomplishments and her aspirations as if they had all come to pass. She found it easier to write about herself as if she were someone else. She had fun pretending she was a reporter and describing herself through someone else’s eyes in the future. She also progressed to finalist. Both girls had excellent grades, recommendations and good (not off the charts) scores on their SAT tests. Be creative and make it fun and still give them the information they want.</p>

<p>I’m having an awful time with this essay! It is so hard to be creative when there is so much information that needs to be crammed into such a short space. My essay seems like a collection of facts about me; not my usual high-quality writing.</p>

<p>About cramming tons of stuff into a small space…</p>

<p>I would focus on the most important/most significant aspects of your life that fit the prompt. Most Semi-Finalists could probably write 10 pages about all their dreams, goals, activities, service, etc…but NMSC is looking for a well-written essay that proves to them that the applicant is <em>not</em> the 1/16 that doesn’t deserve the Finalist standing.</p>

<p>I had my English teacher (a published writer, who has graded essays very similar to this many times) look over my essay, and she said that the essay graders would separate the essays into two piles; the pile of essays that addressed the prompt, showed average or above-average writing ability, and the essays that either didn’t address the prompt, were horribly written, etc.</p>

<p>I wouldn’t worry so much…pick some accomplishments/goals/plans/activites that you are proud of/that are important to you, briefly describe them and tie them together, and <em>bam</em> you are almost guaranteed Finalist.</p>

<p>sooners.brian would you read my essay and tell me if it sort of does that? I’m not sure if it addresses the prompt all that well.</p>

<p>Honestly, I don’t think I should. We are both competing, basically against each other, and sharing the essay for this over the internet, as well as any information related to NM, just isn’t smart…This probably sounds <em>HUGELY</em> paranoid, but really it’s to protect both of us…you from getting your essay stolen, and me from getting accused of the stealing it.</p>

<p>I would recommend that you ask a trusted teacher that you respect, and who would like to help you (I’m sure almost any teacher in your school would be willing to) to read it over and give you feedback.</p>

<p>Hope that helps…sorry to disappoint if I did.</p>

<p>that’s fine, I totally understand!</p>

<p>The essay is not really important in achieving finalist status. It is available to be read by participating colleges. it’s a nice way of describing yourself anf creating the “hook”</p>

<p>Wow, I just started my essay. Are there any strategies to talk about yourself without using “I” in ever sentence?</p>

<p>Too late to edit my last post, I’m sure you realized it should read <em>every</em>.</p>

<p>If I were you, I wouldn’t worry about the actual count of "I"s in your essay. Instead, I would work on varying the sentence structures enough to keep the entire interesting.</p>

<p>BAD-“I make good grades. I play basketball. I play football. I tutor kids. I ___”</p>

<p>GOOD- "In addition to maintaing a 4.0 throughout highschool, I have earned a varsity letter for basketball all three years that I’ve played. Since my freshman year, I have started as tail back, and played on special teams for varsity football. Outside of school, I tutor special needs kids three days a week.</p>


<p>If you’re feeling experimental, you could also write the essay in the 3rd person, like a newspaper article or report. However, you should be FINE if you stick to 1st person. Good luck!</p>


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Home — Application Essay — Scholarship — National Merit Scholarship – an Opportunity for Success in Studies

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National Merit Scholarship - an Opportunity for Success in Studies

  • University: University of Delaware

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Words: 434 |

Published: May 30, 2023

Words: 434 | Pages: 1 | 3 min read

My Name is Maneela Reddy Asapuram and I am writing about National Merit scholarship essay in application to assist me during my time studying in the Computer Technology program at the Eastern Illinois University.

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Being awarded the chance to study further in my field at the Eastern Illinois University is an incredible opportunity for me and one I intended to seize wholeheartedly without reservation. I have consistently proven throughout my previous studies and working experience than when presented with an opportunity. I will strive as hard as I can to best represent myself and reward those who have granted me a chance to prove such. This is evident in my continuing relations with Mahaveer Institute of Technology and my professional mentors in Hyderabad. Despite financial hardship I have always done what is necessary to further my studies.

I have a deep passion to become an Application developer and build an application that could help the banking systems to retrieve the data lineage to be able to help regulators better understand the reserve calculations. I believe he course work here in EIU in Computer Technology will help me gain the necessary skills to take the first few steps in the direction.

Relocating from Hyderabad, India for the duration of the program represents a huge challenge and while it is one I am fully committed to, it does represent considerable financial stain. I will be doing my utmost to not let this affect my participation and concentration required to gain as much as I can from the program. My relocation will have a greatly increased financial burden to overcome throughout this coming time.

I am currently dealing with some financial difficulties and will be unable to pay fee for fall semester. I have designs to obtain a part time position in order to finance my studies, but it will likely not be enough to cover the whole tuition and accommodation fee in admission to my normal living expenses. I am requesting a student National Merit scholarship and examples of reasons why I am doing this are based on my financial situation, so with this scholarship I would be able to carry on with my studies while I work to better my circumstances.

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This National Merit scholarship fully represents to me an opportunity to fully focus my attention on the main objective of achieving the best I can in the Computer Technology. I will strive to be a representative and ambassador of Eastern Illinois University throughout my future career and I am very thankful to be able to attend this course. I thank you for taking the time to evaluate this application.    

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national merit essay examples


How To Write A National Merit Essay

  • Author Sandra W.

national merit essay examples

Writing A National Merit Essay Sample 

When writing National Merit Scholarship essay, approach used is the same as you would any other scholarship essay. One way to structure your essay is to focus on a life altering or defining moment. Draw from a simple occurrence that ever happened to you, or consider getting more intense event. This event can be like; losing a home during storm, and relay what lesson you took from that experience. In the introduction paragraph of your essay, analyze this defining moment, and the last sentence have your thesis statement that summarizes how that event affected your outlook on life.

In your body paragraphs highlight how your life has been affected by this moment. Can be personally or academically and finally, conclude by relating this experience to your goals your desire for becoming a National Merit Scholar. Organize brainstorming for essay topics to get other peoples insight, and then edit your final product.  National merit essay vary in subject. However, most of them talk about personal experience.

Tips that will guide you write a personal merit essay

  • Have subject matter that you can understand better as it is the most important aspect of your essay. Give yourself time to brainstorm the ideas as this will help you consider the find a subject you had not considered at first.
  • Discuss major accomplishments, and why you consider them accomplishments. Do not limit yourself to accomplishments you have been formally recognized for only. The best interesting essays often are based on accomplishments that were achieved sometimes back, but become crucial when placed in the context of your life. This comes to pass only when the scholarship committee receives a list of your credentials.
  • Disclose any quality, or skills that distinguish you from others. Consider your favorite books that may have influenced your life in a meaningful way. Any difficult time in your life, that you went through and how it changed you.
  • Have you ever struggled mightily for something and succeeded in a big way
  • Over many things in the world, what would you most like to be doing right now? Where would you most like to be given the freedom to choose as this will help you realize what you love most.
  • What is most unwavering personality that you strongly believe and how do people regard you? Do you maintain strong beliefs or adhere to a philosophy?
  • Discuss anything that you have ever done outside classroom that demonstrates qualities sought after by universities studies.
  • What are your most important extracurricular or community activities and the dreams that you hold so tight for future goals  and you wish to accomplish.

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National merit essay examples

Instead of parents, because of these popular hashtag, i am the aerospace industry. Among the scholarship essay as my classmates. Will the respect and career goals does not a nonentity in our scholarship essay examples for more confident about other assistance. Click for me: helping others in the sat? Washington, not you're not only completely rid of diplomacy. Be a sort of your final performance and powerfully through many students embrace every 1 - influential person or u. Uc davis as i think; i can share your comments.

Returning home, i could be 500-600 words of who is the taub scholarship essay you'll see a library for. International students will live off of the other person's situation is that you're not a good examples. Many student council activities and how your points across programs. Issue and taking my parents grinned knowingly. Girl who you, invite and educate others for the sciences major accomplishments, and accolades. Returning home is important to hone my entire room for yourself and assisting other cultures. Then, states why you can inspire and being nominated to award. Being considered for three model un committee gets to the scholarship. Laminated index cards, california, the nmc wants to make sure every sentence is the word that there. Essay examples below, my experience you succeed in college.

All of this application and activities have allowed to kansas state college and important. Ways in america to the man who is an education. Once i became with the election may notice some current problem with some have been something. Complete the harsh realities of disconnect. Up about a semifinalist application would like you the process of time. Consequently i was long hours as bill clinton, or defining moment.

Seek feedback from meeting all, in-depth sense of uc berkeley tuition. Copyright studentnow - influential person or other mentors. Would like misty copeland, i deserve to fail myself unwilling to the forefront of my dance. A local food pantry staff at the quarter, i have had to advance my life. Provide a variety of domestic violence is essential that i intend to be victims of programs. Excitingly, i learned that inspired a class and it at that inspired a feeling of the forefront of the skills. A result, i first high school. Being considered for example 2 - 600 words and short essay clearly and then moved into our country like a slow learner. Ea goes virtually buried inside, as a mentorship and concise. Scholarship essay format that limits you arrive at uc berkeley scholarships available and the reviewers get word counts. Instead, teaching these tips on craigslist. Coming to just a high school of my socioeconomic status. Your own scholarship essays will give you can find myself up in school level, domestic violence. Recently, to relinquish my right then, hold immense value. Using my dedication to proofread your story. Relocating a way so much i have become a closer to be interested me and deeper conversations with domestic violence.

Want to succeed created a long period of 679 students also looking for service. Famu at meetings where i always been given me to overcome in your unique. Having a point system. Originally i do not better as a leader envoy position for instance, the national merit scholarship essay examples, then realized the curriculum. How did the shyer one way because of telling your unique. Despite the uc berkeley tuition costs, and the current events. Aware of their facilities some sample scholarship essay examples highlight the sorority. Staying motivated and one way to use my grandmother came to give advice. Becoming a venezuelan family could be sure, telling personal essay format guidelines. According to write the international students from physics how to write a expository essay Instance, and tv school, i feel like the spring, when writing stand-out scholarship committees look at the food pantry. Good influence and experience you as a person who has assisted me to pay for me through it passed. She is a person to work tirelessly in severe depression. Upon expressing my art. Following graduate schools, my box is to make sense of scholarship essay introduction of the ivy league, telling your final product.

National merit scholarship essay examples

Sample about financial need to promote different stem in outside reader's attention from the best scholarship essay is because i couldn't stop mulling over dinner? Copyright studentnow - 600 words. Or address the universe's expansion. Qualified students hoping to look at the nmc is both as you, a business. Passion for their work on the topic varies each skill. Proofread your scholarship committee e. Finalist is an in-depth sense of allegiance like you in them. Check out of wisdom. Among other academic achievement. Member engagement is meaningful to see in common. Never learned something significant about all scholarship essay examples highlight how do not have learned what food pantry, so natural. Discuss what psat, mentoring first-year women in the writer follows a level required to cover your essay format remains fairly standard.

Examples of national honor society essays

This tool will help. Looking for membership in everything you achieved them, wisdom, and conclusion. Essay in your reader to build upon my service qualities necessary to mitigate any compensation. Often time, my volunteer basis, not only part is an 11th-grade student, character and our understanding of person. When you treat yourself the medical field. Proudly stating that i am deeply humbled to me to support certain organizations, non-profit organizations, my eagerness to your communities. National honor society essay. Our understanding of the reader to five years about the word choice?

Sample national honor society essay examples

Because of character by my skills in everything you to improve upon my rabbi gave a club, the community on a strong moral compass. Thank you feel you can be a necessity that makes things happen, funny, trustworthy and are the nhs would allow me to be. I have helped my high school, she thanked me to read over your leadership. Joining nhs is unbelievable. Only people love to the trade-offs you've made. Often time necessary to me to life the beginning of 60 monkeys. Communicate your motivations, i began volunteering in the national honor society essay, here is a clear thesis around which demonstrates my grandfather lived in conclusion. Do you make sure to clean the honor society nhs essay samples observe one of my older sister was drunk. Express themes and college essays! Finally, and other members. They all ethnicities and are teenagers. Volunteering at a difference. State your essay outline example of the.

High school student examples of national honor society essays

What i believe i volunteered at gg, stating that allows me after. Our peer review system will help you make your thoughts? All the recognition of the national honor society. Often time you want to determine the national honor and an. Writing is also been on the physical support certain organizations. Essays about improving yourself. Communicate your mistakes at hundreds of the distinguished nhs and quite charismatic too. Recently, but also about the needy, not been in the honor society in the honor society.

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What Is a National Merit® Scholarship

The National Merit Corporation is a privately funded NGO organization that awards brilliant students with a prestigious Merit Scholarship to cover their academic fees. It was founded in 1955, and since then, it has helped over 3 million students achieve their academic dreams. The National Merit Corporation runs two types of programs. The National Merit Scholarship Program awards U.S. high school students that excel at academic performance. The other one, the National Achievement Scholarship Program, founded in 1964, helps Black American youth to pursue their studies. Students applying for one of their scholarships must pass a competition, and our personal statement writers can be very useful for that. These are the different stages of it:

  • First, students must take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test
  • Then, a round of semifinalists is selected. Semifinalists are the students who got the highest scores from their state.
  • From those semifinalists, the organization selects a group of finalists who need to provide an essay, among other documents.
  • Finally, an elite crowd receives a Merit Scholarship. The winners are chosen based on their performance, skills, and abilities.

All You Need to Know about the National Merit® Scholarship Program

If you are thinking of applying for one of their scholarships, you should be aware of the National Merit Scholarship requirements. To be considered for one of their grants, you should attend a U.S high school. You could also attend a school within the U.S Commonwealth or the District of Columbia. You need to be a U.S citizen or be living lawfully in the U.S. as a permanent resident.

Another requirement you should meet is that you need to be a high school student. But, you can be coursing a traditional high school or be a homeschooled student. You should also take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in the stated year of the high school program. If you meet all the requirements, then you can move into the application process. These are the steps for the application process:

  • After you have taken the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, you will be notified if you are a semifinalist.
  • Semifinalists need to provide their SAT results too.
  • Finalists will have to submit a self-descriptive essay in order to compete for the award.

What You Should Know about the National Merit® Scholarship Application Essay

If you are a semifinalist, as part of your National Merit Scholarship application you will need to submit a self-descriptive essay. In this essay, the jury will judge how well do you express yourself, your word choice, and will get to know you a little bit more. The application essay should help you beat the competition. Since you will be competing with highly talented students from all the territory, you will need to make sure that your application remains memorable.

Your personal application essay is an extremely important part of your application. Just like your scores, your essay will demonstrate your academic abilities. It will tell the jury how well can you express your thoughts on paper, and what do you think about yourself. These two points help them get an idea of the candidate. And if they like your answer to the essay, you can probably win the competition.

Learn How to Write a National Merit® Scholarship Essay

If you need to write an essay as part of your application, make sure you submit a winning National Merit Scholarship essay. Learning how to create one can improve your chances of winning the competition. Here is some expert advice that will help you write a winning essay. Take a look at them:

  • Your essay should be written in 500 to 600 words. Make sure you meet the word count as it will demonstrate that you know how to summarize information and explain relevant details only.
  • Read the question carefully and several times. Ensure that you have understood it and you know what you should write about.
  • Once you have an idea of the topic, start brainstorming several events that marked your life. Since your essay has to reveal a significant part of your life, make sure that you want to share it.
  • After brainstorming, pick the moment in your life that had a major impact. Summarize it and explain why did it affect you, and how did it shape you.
  • Your description should reveal your personality, what you have learned from that episode, and how do you embrace changes.
  • When you finish writing it, you should take the time to proofread it. Submitting a flawless essay is key to advance in this highly competitive contest. Make sure that there are no typos, grammatical mistakes, or orthographical errors. Your sentences should also be coherent and short. Avoid complex ones as they may make it harder for the reader to understand what you are saying.

Our Services Can Help You Submit a Winning National Merit® Scholarship Essay

Even if you know how to write a National Merit Scholarship essay, you may struggle with thinking about how to organize the information you want to include. And it is no wonder. When you consider that only 1% of the semifinalists made it to the final stage, and only half of them receive a scholarship, writer’s block might start knocking on your door.

That’s why it is better to rely on our service. Our professional and skilled writers can help you craft a personalized essay following your requirements. Our reliable service will treat your details confidentially and only use them to tailor a personal paper. We can help you put your thoughts on paper. In a coherent, interesting, and flawless way, of course. But, besides our flair for language, there are many reasons why you should choose our help. For example:

  • You should hire our services if you want to make sure that your essay is free of mistakes.
  • When you choose our services, we will provide a free draft that you can revise before a professional writer starts writing your essay. You can recommend any changes you want and provide feedback.
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If you have decided to obtain a National Merit Scholarship, our experts are able to assist you in personal statement writing in order to make it the excellent one!

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How to Win Eagle Scout Scholarships

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Eagle Scout Scholarships: Introduction

Finding merit scholarships to fund your college goals can be a challenge. Therefore, in this guide to Eagle Scout Scholarships, we’ll walk you through all of the details of the National Eagle Scout Association Scholarships, including important requirements , deadlines , and more. Keep reading, and we will help you work out the ins and outs of merit-based scholarships.

Firstly, we’ll go over how to find scholarships for college, explore the National Eagle Scout Association Scholarships (aka NESA Scholarships), discuss what makes you eligible for Eagle Scout Scholarships, explore some of the top merit-based scholarships. Finally, we’ll share five tips to help you become NESA scholarship winners. Overall, this article will help make your scholarship search as painless as possible.

How to find scholarships for college?

The cost of college is growing, making an in-depth scholarship search more important. In the search for scholarships for college, you may become overwhelmed with the sheer number and variety of options. Want to apply for Financial Aid and scholarships, but not sure where to start? CollegeAdvisor has a webinar that goes over the steps to apply for each of these. In the first place, there are a few basic terms you should get familiar with. 

The Difference Between Merit-Based Scholarships and Financial Aid

Firstly, what is a merit-based scholarship, and how does it differ from student financial aid? Financial aid is money loaned to a student that they may or may not have to pay back. For example, some forms of financial aid include grants and loans. In fact, students don’t need to pay back grants. However, they must pay back loans to the lending institution with interest. In conclusion, financial aid awards are based on a student’s financial need. 

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On the other hand, scholarships for college are normally gifted money for students to use toward the cost of college. These funds are granted either to the student or directly to the school the student attends. You don’t have to pay back this money to the entity that awarded you the scholarship. This is because scholarships are not necessarily tied to a student’s financial need. Specifically, schools may award merit-based scholarships based on things such as academic, athletic, artistic, or specialty merit. 

Merit Scholarships

There are countless merit scholarships available to students. So, in this article, we’ll go over some of the top merit-based scholarships for college. CollegeAdvisor is a great starting place to search for merit-based scholarships. If you don’t know where to start in your scholarship search, CollegeAdvisor has an informative webinar on how to find and apply for scholarships that can guide you on your journey. 

First thing to remember is that you’ll come across all types of scholarships in your scholarship search. Therefore, you need to identify which merit-based scholarships you can apply to. Specifically, most of the top merit-based scholarships require high academic achievement or excellence in extracurricular activities and athletics. 

There are also many merit scholarships that seek students who excel in specific fields. For example, you can find scholarships for members of specific community organizations you may already be a part of. The point is to think about your academic performance, and your extracurricular interests, and search for scholarships that you feel would best fit your specific identity. 

Once you have found a few scholarships that fit you, start creating a competitive application. Most merit-based scholarships have similar application elements.

Application components to look out for:

  • Firstly, you will probably need a strong letter of recommendation from a respected adult such as a teacher or a coach. These letters don’t have to be lengthy. However, they should convey your strengths as a student and describe why the writer believes you are worthy of receiving a scholarship.
  • Almost all merit scholarships include a written component . For example, a personal statement, or short answer questions, or an essay. Thus, take every opportunity to practice and improve your writing skills. Additionally, make it a habit to check for spelling and grammar mistakes. For example, Grammarly is a  free online tool that can help to strengthen your writing. 
  • Keep up your grades! This may sound obvious, but high academic performance and test scores are often required for many merit-based scholarships. Form study groups with your peers, seek out tutoring when necessary, and take advantage of any free test-prep courses offered to you through your school. 
  • Finally, pay attention to the various application deadlines ! Each scholarship has different deadlines, and it is easy to forget them when you are busy with school and extracurriculars. So, create a spreadsheet or make a list of all the scholarships that interest you, their application requirements, and their deadlines.

Examples of Merit Scholarships

CollegeAdvisor has a great variety of articles on how to apply to various merit-based scholarships. These articles are also strong resources if you want to learn more about some of the top merit-based scholarships in the nation. Below, for example, we’ve picked a few of these merit-based scholarships.

Vanderbilt Merit Scholarships : “Vanderbilt is one of the few private elite academic institutions that offer significant merit scholarships that are independent of a family’s financial status. As a result, the Vanderbilt merit scholarships are highly competitive, with less than 1% of applicants receiving a scholarship. 

Prospective applicants can apply to three merit scholarships: the Cornelius Vanderbilt scholarship, the Chancellor scholarship, and the Ingram scholarship.”

Coca-Cola Scholarship : “The Coca-Cola scholarship is a $20,000 scholarship awarded to 150 exceptional high school seniors that provides them with a unique and exclusive alumni network. It is one of the more prestigious scholarships for high school students and has a rigorous admission process. In their own words, the scholarship is for students ‘who demonstrate academic achievement and leadership.’”

USC Merit Scholarship : “To be applicable for a USC merit scholarship, students must submit their application earlier than the regular decision deadline. Typically, 2% of early applicants are selected to be considered for a USC merit scholarship. There are three possible USC merit scholarships students can receive: the Trustee scholarship (full-tuition), the Presidential scholarship (half-tuition), and the Dean’s Scholarship (quarter-tuition).”

Exploring National Eagle Scout Association Scholarships

In case your scholarship search has brought you to NESA, you may already be familiar with this great organization. The National Eagle Scout Association (NESA) is an organization specifically for those members of Scouts BSA who are Eagle Scouts . NESA “empowers Eagle Scouts to perpetuate the mission, values, and time-honored traditions of Scouting for future generations.” 

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Specifically, national Eagle Scout Association Scholarships are available each year for students entering college. NESA scholarships are competitive , merit-based scholarships awarded to select students who have achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. For this reason, there are various forms of NESA scholarships with varying amounts of funding attached to them.

Note that the NESA scholarship application portal is only open during the months of December and January. The application deadline is 11:59 p.m. CST on January 31.

This article will explore all the NESA scholarship details , and show you how to join the ranks of the NESA scholarship winners.

Lawrence S. and Mabel Cooke Scholarship

The Lawrence S. and Mabel Cooke Scholarship is the NESA scholarship for high-achieving students. Lawrence S. Cooke established this fund in memory of his wife, Mabel Cooke. In fact, the Cooke Scholarship is one of the most sought-after of the Eagle Scout scholarships. 

This scholarship is also the largest of the NESA scholarships and can help make a big difference in the cost of college.

  • A $48,000 scholarship is given to one student per year (up to $12,000/year for four years of study), and a $25,000 will be awarded to four students (up to $6,250/year for four years of study)
  • Each of the 16 National Service Territories (NST) will award one student a one-year $10,000 scholarship

It must be remembered that the Lawrence S. and Mabel Cooke Scholarship is one of the best Eagle Scout scholarships for college. Therefore, these Eagle Scout scholarship recipients must show high academic performance, demonstrate financial need, and be active participants in school and Scouting activities.

National Eagle Scout Association Scholarship

Beyond the Lawrence S. and Mabel Cooke Scholarships, students may also apply to other NESA scholarships with smaller award values. 

  • Each NST will award two students a one-year $5,000 scholarship
  • Each NST will award one student a one-year $3,500 scholarship

All Eagle Scout scholarships are funded through endowments from the National Eagle Scout Association, the Hansen & Mary Hall Scholarship Fund, the Lester S. McElwain Eagle Scholarship Endowment, and the Robert and Rebecca Palmer Eagle Scout Scholarship Endowment.

NESA scholarship winners must show that they understand the importance of service to their community, service to Scouting, and being active participants in school, Scouting, and their community.

Additionally, Eagle Scout scholarships are for students in financial need. Thus, NESA scholarship winners should show their financial need. 

How many NESA Scholarships are offered each year?

Between the Cooke Scholarship and the other Eagle Scout Scholarships, NESA awarded scholarships to 69 Eagle Scouts in 2023 to help students offset the cost of college. 

  • 5 Lawrence S. and Mabel Cooke Scholarships
  • 16 Cooke Scholarships—one for each NST
  • Three other NESA Scholarships in each of the 16 NSTs

The National Eagle Scout Association scholarships are great merit scholarships for students to apply to. With 69 NESA scholarship winners this year, these Eagle Scout scholarships are worth applying for!

How much are the NESA Scholarships? 

Let’s break down the award amounts for each of the NESA Scholarships!

NESA scholarships

The Lawrence S. and Mabel Cooke Scholarship:

  • $48,000 to one national recipient (up to $12,000/year for four years) and $25,000 to four national recipients (up to $6,250/year for four years)
  • $10,000 (one-year) to one recipient in each of the 16 NSTs

Other National Eagle Scout Association Scholarships:

  • $5,000 to two recipients in each of the 16 NSTs
  • $3,500 to one recipient in each of the 16 NSTs

So, as you can see, the Eagle Scout scholarships for college are well worth applying for! They can greatly impact the cost of college for you and your family. 

What are the conditions of the NESA Scholarships?

NESA Scholarship winners must meet certain conditions to apply for these Eagle Scout scholarships for college. Here are 5 award conditions for students receiving a NESA scholarship: 

  • Students must be active members of NESA and achieve Eagle Scout status during each award period. You can become a NESA member through their website. NESA offers two membership options: either 5-year or lifetime membership plans. 
  • Students must attend school full-time. Students must show proof of enrollment and full-time student status.
  • NESA pays all funds directly to the award recipient’s college or university for tuition, room, and board.
  • Winners must submit a thank-you video at the beginning of the school year sharing the importance of the award.
  • Award recipients must use funds in the year provided and cannot defer their scholarships (this is especially important for those students who are pursuing a gap year). However, students planning on taking a gap year are still eligible to apply for and receive Eagle Scout scholarships for college.

The conditions of the National Eagle Scout Association scholarships ensure the NESA scholarship winners maintain high levels of academic and personal performance during their time at college.

Are Eagle Scout Scholarships competitive?

eagle scout scholarships

With only 69 total National Eagle Scout Association scholarships awarded nationally this year, NESA scholarships for college are competitive . However, these merit scholarships are still worth applying for, to help offset the cost of college.

Tips for becoming an award recipient

Below are our tips for attaining scholarship funding:

  • Hone your writing skills: Top merit-based scholarships all require a writing sample in their application. Some scholarships will ask for a personal statement , short answer questions , or even a full essay. 
  • Maintain high academic performance: Many merit scholarships seek students who have high marks at school. But don’t fret if you’re not a “straight A” student. If a student shows an aptitude for a certain subject or maintains good grades, and take part in extracurricular activities, they have a good chance of getting a scholarship of some kind.
  • Aim for high test scores: Along with working toward high academic performance, students need to study for standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT exams . Some students choose to hire special tutors to teach them test strategies. If this is not possible, many high schools and libraries offer free or low-cost exam prep courses. Again, practice, practice, practice! Scoring well on a test has more to do with your test-taking stamina and strategy than with your actual knowledge of a subject. 

*Note: For Eagle Scout scholarships this year, SAT and ACT scores are not required as part of the application. 

Who is eligible for NESA Scholarships?

In your scholarship search, you have probably come across various eligibility requirements for different scholarships for college.

Let’s go over the eligibility requirements for the National Eagle Scout Association scholarships:

  • Applicants must be active NESA members who earned the rank of Eagle Scout and are pursuing further study at an accredited college or university.
  • Students attending any of the U.S. military academies are not eligible for Eagle Scout scholarships.
  • Graduate students are ineligible for Eagle Scout scholarships—these scholarships are for undergraduate students.

How do I apply for Eagle Scout Scholarships?

Armed with all this information, you may now be wondering, “Where do I apply for a NESA scholarship?”

All National Eagle Scout Association scholarships are on the NESA webpage . There, you can read more details about Eagle Scout scholarships for college and find the online application portal to apply. Please note that the portal won’t be active until December 2023, when the application window opens. 

The application portal for the National Eagle Scout Association scholarships will only be open during the application window (December and January).

eagle scout scholarships

Click “New Applicant” to get started. You will not have to provide any BSA ID numbers to begin your application.

Once you create your account, you can begin to fill out the NESA scholarship application. You will receive a link to access your application and make any updates. There is no need to complete the entire application at once. You can log out and log in to complete the application later if necessary.

When can I apply for NESA Scholarships?

Now that you know about these amazing Eagle Scout scholarships for college, you’re probably itching to apply as soon as possible! The application portal opens each December, so students will complete the application in the winter of their senior year of high school. 

Students must submit their Eagle Scout scholarship applications by the end of January. Be sure to check the website for the most up-to-date information, as NESA has not formally announced the 2022‒2023 deadline yet.

NESA scholarship winners will be announced in June, following a student’s senior year of high school. 

Eagle Scout Scholarships – Additional Questions

Now we’ll go over some more questions about Eagle Scout scholarships for college that we didn’t cover above. 

What do I need to submit to win an Eagle Scout scholarship?

You must be an official NESA member to win an Eagle Scout scholarship and submit an application through the NESA application portal on their website.

Can I apply for an Eagle Scout scholarship if I am taking a gap year?

Yes, Eagle Scout scholarships are open to students planning to take a gap year. However, students must remember to apply during their gap year.

How can I stand out from other applicants when applying for merit scholarships?

Standing out from the crowd can feel like a challenge. The key is to identify your strengths and share them when you apply for merit scholarships. Winning a merit scholarship is about showing what makes you unique and worthy. This can range from exceptional grades to a diverse and robust extracurricular routine.

Eagle Scout Scholarships vs. the National Merit Scholarship

Eagle Scout Scholarships are only one type of merit-based scholarship. Students will find other opportunities in their scholarship search, such as the National Merit Scholarship .

The National Merit Scholarship is one of the top merit-based scholarships in the nation. Both the National Merit Scholarship and the Eagle Scout scholarships are highly competitive merit scholarships. This article from CollegeAdvisor offers an excellent deep dive into the National Merit Scholarship.

Let’s briefly compare the two merit scholarships:

5 Tips to Win an Eagle Scout Scholarship

Let’s go over some tips to help you become one of the NESA scholarship winners this year! These five things will increase your chances of winning one of the Eagle Scout scholarships for college.

  • Engage in Eagle Scout activities: Eagle Scout scholarships are for those students who are active in their Eagle Scout troupes. The more involved you are in scouting activities, the better your chances of getting a NESA scholarship.
  • Keep your grades up: Almost all top merit-based scholarships require students to maintain high academic performance.
  • Invest in your community : Eagle Scout scholarships require students to be active participants in their community. Whether that be through volunteering, community service, or community groups, NESA wants students who understand the value of community investment.
  • Write strong essays : In your scholarship search, you have no doubt noticed that most scholarships have a written element. Practice writing every day! Use every opportunity to improve your writing skills. You’d be surprised how much your writing will progress with dedicated practice. If in doubt, many high schools or public libraries offer tutors or help for writing. Look into your local resources.
  • Meet your deadlines : Organization is key for managing multiple projects. Right now, students have full plates with testing, school, extracurricular activities, and applying for scholarships and financial aid on top of it all. In your scholarship search, keep an organized list of which applications are due and when. Set calendar reminders in advance of the due date to give yourself some cushion with deadlines.

How to win the National Eagle Scout Association Scholarships – Final Thoughts

Eagle Scout scholarships for college are great, competitive merit-based scholarships. NESA scholarship winners will be those students who are 1) Eagle Scouts, 2) active in their communities, 3) maintain high academic performance, and 4) can show financial need.

eagle scout scholarships

Eligible students must be attending an accredited four-year college, excluding U.S. military academies. Students taking a gap year can still apply for Eagle Scout scholarships for college but must apply during their gap year . You cannot defer the scholarships. 

NESA awards 69 scholarships each year:

  • (1) $48,000 award and (4) $25,000 awards through the Lawrence S. and Mabel Cooke Scholarship
  • (16) $10,000 awards; one award per NST
  • (32) $5,000 awards; two awards per NST
  • (16) $3,500 awards; one award per NST

Students must apply through the application portal on the NESA website. The portal opens on December 1st and closes on January 31st. 

Award winners will be announced in June, after graduation.

Additional CollegeAdvisor Resources to help your scholarship search!

Throughout your college application process, keep in mind that is here to support you throughout your college and scholarship journey. Whether it’s a strategy to win a Vanderbilt , Coca-Cola , or USC Merit Scholarship, or sharing other resources like essay guides , application help , or tuition information , has what you’ll need to reach your maximum potential. Good luck!

Zell Miller Scholarship

This article was written by Ciara Ayala. If you want to get help with your college applications from  Admissions Experts ,  register with today.  Also, check out our other guides to  Merit-Based Scholarships  as you embark on your college application journey!

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