There are two major purposes of the PSAT, which students take in March of their sophomore year:  1. to serve as a general predictor of SAT scores; 2. to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program and other scholarship programs. 


In order to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program, you let the college office know by June of your sophomore year that you wish to take the PSAT-NMSQT IN OCTOBER OF YOUR JUNIOR YEAR  (the PSAT 10 you take in the spring will not work). The score work) required to be a commended scholar (top 3-4%), semi-finalist (top 1%) and finalist varies from state to state.  Generally, if your PSAT 10 score is in the 1400s or 1500s, you may want to consider taking the PSAT test again in the fall. 


It’s possible that your parents work for a company that sponsors a scholarship based on the 11th grade PSAT-NMSQT score, and that the score needed may be lower than what the National Merit Scholarship Program requires. To determine whether or not your parents work for a company that offers a PSAT-NMSQT score-based scholarship, please consult the list on pages 10 - 20 in the attached guide. Then find out from the company the score needed and financial assistance given. Please note that the guide is for fall 2018 and refers to students in the 2020 graduating class; the 2019 guide hasn't been released, but the 2018 guide should include most of the corporations involved. You must let the college office know in June of 10th grade that you plan to take the test in October of 11th grade,  pay for it in September (about $17), and take the October PSAT to qualify for such scholarships.  


CSS usually has a handful of commended scholars (nice to put on your college applications!) and one or two National Merit finalists every year or two. The award amount for finalists of the official program is $2,500. As noted, a different amount may be granted by corporate sponsors mentioned in the previous paragraph and listed on pages 10 - 20 of the attached guide.