In 1964, the National Achievement Scholarship program was initiated to recognize outstanding achievement among Black American high school students, and award them university scholarships. Beginning with the publishing of test scores, the process for selecting winners of the National Achievement Scholarship works much the same way as the selection process for the National Merit Program.
A distinguished group
Statistically speaking, the numbers involved are much smaller, however. Of the 1.5 million students who take the PSAT/NMSQT each year, approximately 120,000 of them compete for the National Achievement Scholarship, one of many important college scholarships. 3,000 are honored by being included on a published list of high academic achievers — a list that is sent to 1,500 of the nation’s colleges and universities to assist in recruiting and recognizing students with high academic potential. However, most of these students do not receive the college scholarship.
Of this group, 1,600 Semifinalists are selected by region, rather than state. Semifinalists represent the highest-scoring program participants from a given region, and they will receive formal application materials. The competition for Finalist designation progresses in the same manner as it does for the National Merit college scholarship. Once Finalists are identified, they’re sent notice. (The school principal will be notified, too.)
More than just test scores
If you’re part of this group, your academic achievements, abilities, skills, and accomplishments are evaluated further and by spring of your senior year, the National Achievement Program will let you know if you’re one of approximately 800 students who will be awarded one of two types of National Achievement Scholarships:
National Achievement $2,500 Student Scholarships
700 National Achievement Scholarships are awarded as single-payment scholarships. These are valued at $2,500 and awarded on a regional basis.
Corporate-sponsored Achievement Scholarship awards
Approximately 100 corporate-sponsored undergraduate scholarships are distributed to Finalists who are pursuing specific majors or careers, who are children of company employees, or who live in an area served by the sponsor. These college scholarships may be renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study or may be one-time awards.
A record of achievement
The NASC Scholarship opportunities shouldn’t be overlooked, particularly if you are a high-academic achiever. The year in which you take the PSAT/NMSQT is crucial, as you can only be considered in one competition (you can’t take it over and over again). Don’t miss out on your opportunity!