September for Juniors
The National Merit Program
Most people don’t know that the official name of the PSAT is PSAT/NMSQT. The latter part stands for National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
Though many tenth graders take the PSAT/NMSQT, only eleventh graders are eligible for the National Merit contest.
About fifteen thousand of the top scoring eleventh graders, or about 1.5 percent of those who take the test, are chosen as semifinalists based on their scores. A handful of those students are weeded out because of low grades and the rest become Finalists.
Finalists are eligible for scholarships from three sources: National Merit itself, participating (usually large) corporations that give money to the Finalist children of their employees, and from colleges that award money to Finalists who choose to enroll.
National Merit Finalists who go to highly selective colleges are sometimes out of luck, because most top private universities don’t give money based on National Merit status.
Many state universities and many less selective private ones, give Finalists a full ride. About half of all National Merit Finalists end up with some kind of award.
Get to Know Your Teachers
If talking to your teachers doesn’t come naturally, make an effort. Linger after class to discuss the lesson. Come in during a free period to chat about a class topic. The teacher will look at you through new eyes – and will be more likely to give you a good grade and write you a glowing letter of recommendation. Plus, you might actually learn something.
Every year talented young athletes who want to play college sports do not get the opportunity to get noticed and miss an experience of a life time! Many young athletes get caught up in the "name game" when picking a school which leaves them riding the bench for four years with no opportunity to showcase their skills. You may be a "star" athlete at your high school, but that does not guarantee future collegiate success or exposure. At the same time, you may be playing JV as a junior or even not getting much playing time. Does this mean all is lost – absolutely not!
Once you get evaluated and identify your true academic and athletic abilities it's time to decide what division level will give you the best chance of competing. You want to make sure you are targeting the right academic schools in the right athletic talent division. As a recent recruit once said, "Find the school that fits YOU. Don't worry about what school is 'cool' to go to. Go to the place where you'll be happy and where you'll be the most successful personally. That's the 'coolest' thing you can do
Finalize the plan of which schools you will visit this fall/winter and which schools you will attend baseball camps at, if any, and why?
DEMAND from your Fall team to know when you will be playing if your teams rotates players
Pitchers and catchers get rotations ASAP
Meet with your school counselor to make sure you are taking the courses that colleges look for
Resolve to get the best grades you can this year. The payoff will be more colleges to choose from and a better chance for scholarship money
Pick up the Official Student Guide to the PSAT/NMSQT from your guidance office and take the practice test. (You’ll take the real test in October)
Get involved with extra curricular activity that you have a passion for. Don’t just do it to do it and because it looks good on your application. Find something you are passionate about and get involved!
Find out if your school will have a college night.
Plan on attending any college fairs in your area