Tuesday, August 31, 2010

National Merit Finalist Contest: PSAT Cut Off Scores are in for 2011 Class

Written by Lauren Kahn, Educational Consultant / CEO of Lone Star Ed Consulting, LLC
512-294-6608  Lonestaredconsulting@gmail.com

Updated on January 2011
Before we delve into the "overachiever" scores for the 2009 PSAT (Class of 2011), I want to put things in perspective. If you are a national merit semi finalist for the 2010/2011 school year, you performed exceptionally well on this standardized test and scored in the top 1% of your state. Bravo to you. To see the next steps in the process to cementing your place as a National Merit Finalist and possible scholarship recipient, click here.

According to the College Board, the average Selection Index for students in eleventh grade is about a 141. Note: Only students in eleventh grade are eligible to enter NMSC scholarship programs. This score is equivalent to about a 1000 on the CR and Math combined for the SAT. The PSAT Selection Index, which is used to determine eligibility in National Merit Scholarship Corporation programs (NMSC), is the sum of the three scores in each test section (CR + M + W). The Selection Index ranges from 60 to 240.

Therefore, your chances of getting into Stanford or Harvard are not completely shot if you did not score above a 210 on the PSAT. It is a preliminary SAT and is meant to be a practice test to see how you function on a standardized test in a pressure cooker environment. SAT Prep or ACT Prep can greatly improve your scores. It is possible to game the tests to an extent. Contact me directly if you would like advisement on test prep companies in Texas.

College consultant, Nancy Greisemer says, "Each year, a magic wand gets waived over the total universe of PSAT scores, and a list of merit scholarship finalists appears. These finalists are invited to compete for a host of benefits ranging from scholarship money to automatic college admission. They’re lauded in the press and labeled as among the most distinguished high school students in the nation. What did they do to earn all this fame and fortune—take one test on one day. And if luck would have it, they happened to live in a state where their PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index—a combination of math, critical reading, and writing scores—happened to be above the cut-off."

The methodology for determining who gets the merit scholar nod is loosely described on the NMSQT website. To begin the process, high school students must take the PSAT in October of their junior year. In the spring after the test, 50,000 high scorers are contacted for program recognition as “commended” or “semifinalist” based on a selectivity index generated by the combined PSAT scores. 20011’s class national cutoff for recognition was 201.

High scorers are then notified of their final National Merit status in September of senior year. Students who received a score below the semifinalist cutoff specific to their state will be “commended." Even if you move states after you took the PSAT, you are subject to the score selection index cutoff for the state you were enrolled at for high school during the administering of the PSAT. Those above the cutoff—about 16,000 students—are invited to continue in the competition as semifinalists. Approximately 90% of the semifinalists eventually earn the finalist distinction.

Each state has a different cutoff and these cutoffs vary by year. According to College Simplified, here are the PSAT state cutoffs for the graduating class of 2011 (PSAT administered Fall 2009):

Qualifying Scores for the Class of 2011 National Merit Semifinalists:


Alabama 210
Alaska 214
Arizona 209
Arkansas 203 *Correction from what was previously listed*
California 219
Colorado 212 *Correction from what was previously listed*
Connecticut 219
Delaware 215
District of Columbia 223
Florida 210
Georgia 215
Hawaii 215
Idaho 208
Illinois 214
Indiana 212
Iowa 209
Kansas 211
Kentucky 208
Louisiana 210
Maine 213
Maryland 220
Massachusetts 223
Michigan 209
Minnesota 213 *Correction from what was previously listed*
Mississippi 205
Missouri 210
Montana 208
Nebraska 210
Nevada 208
New Hampshire 214
New Jersey 221
New Mexico 206
New York 217 *Correction from what was previously listed*
North Carolina 214
North Dakota 202
Ohio 212
Oklahoma 206
Oregon 215
Pennsylvania 216
Rhode Island 211
South Carolina 208
South Dakota 205
Tennessee 212
Texas 215
Utah 203
Vermont 212
Virginia 218
Washington 218
West Virginia 202
Wisconsin 209
Wyoming 202
Commended 201
International 223
New England Boarding Schools 223

Qualifying Scores for the Class of 2010 National Merit Semifinalists:


Below is a chart listing selectivity indexes for 2010 (PSAT Administered 2008):
Rank

State

2010

Rank

State

2010

1

DC

221

25

Indiana

211

1

Maryland

221

25

Kansas

211

1

Massachusetts

221

25

Missouri

211

1

New Jersey

221

25

Ohio

211

5

Delaware

219

25

South Carolina

211

6

California

218

32

Arizona

210

6

Connecticut

218

33

Idaho

209

6

New York

218

33

Iowa

209

6

Virginia

218

33

Kentucky

209

10

Rhode Island

217

33

Michigan

209

10

Washington

217

37

Alabama

208

12

Texas

216

37

New Mexico

208

13

Colorado

215

39

Louisiana

207

13

Minnesota

215

39

Nebraska

207

15

Georgia

214

39

Oklahoma

207

15

Hawaii

214

39

Wisconsin

207

15

Illinois

214

43

Utah

206

15

North Carolina

214

44

South Dakota

205

15

Pennsylvania

214

45

Montana

204

20

Maine

213

46

Arkansas

203

20

New Hampshire

213

46

Mississippi

203

20

Oregon

213

46

West Virginia

203

20

Tennessee

213

49

Nevada

202

20

Vermont

213

49

North Dakota

202

25

Alaska

211

50

Wyoming

201

25

Florida

211




* State Chart created by: Nancy Greisemer of College Explorations

Because scholarship money, prestige, and college admissions are at stake, the NMQSC is a huge deal and knowing the cutoff for your state can give you some guidance as to whether or not you qualify as a National Merit Semi-Finalist. These scores above will tell you if you are close to the cut off score for your state. Although you will not the precise cutoff score for national merit for the 2011 graduating class until September of 2010.

Imagine living in California and scoring a 215—an outstanding score that would earn semifinalist status in most of the country, and definitely in all of your neighboring states, but because of your address, you will only be commendedDo you think they should nationalize the scores or leave them as determined by state index? Congratulations Louisianna on increasing the quality of your student's test taking skills. See below.
                                                          
Local PSAT/NMSQT cutoffs:
Year Students will Graduate
2011
(Actual)
2010

2009

2008
Texas
215
216
215
215
Oklahoma
206
207
208
207
Louisiana
210
207
208
206

As of August 31, 2010, the below national merit semi-finalist cut off scores were posted on Talk Confidential for 2011 NMSQT. (Not all states have been revealed.)


* PSAT State Scores were verified from the College Planning Simplified for the 2010 and 2011 PSAT national merit scores.

FREE TIP from LONE STAR ED CONSULTING:
If you are a boarding school student, there are separate boarding school region cutoffs for the PSAT. According to a primary source at the NMSC, the cutoff scores have not been determined yet by the National Merit Scholarship office. Stay tuned for more information.

Related Blogs:
PSAT
SAT
__________________________________________________________________________________


1 comment:

  1. It appears very little of your 2011 data was correct ...

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for your comment. Your input is greatly appreciated. - College News from Texas - Lauren Kahn, M.A.

Turn Blog Posts into a PDF

Send blog posts as PDFs

Search This Blog and More About Lone Star Ed Consulting

Loading...

My Book Recs

College Students

Loading...