How to Get Into & Pay for College


How can I win scholarships with my PSAT score?

QUESTION: I am a junior at a private school. Are there scholarships that are automatically awarded to juniors with the highest scores on the PSAT? I need money for college, but I don’t know how to get scholarships. – PSAT Payday

Dear PSAT Payday:
You’ve hit on why the PSAT is such an important test: It can mean money in your pocket. All students who take the PSAT are eligible to win National Merit Scholarships. Those who score in the top percentile become National Merit Semi-Finalists. From this group, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation awards scholarships based on additional academic requirements. Those who actually win money are known as National Merit Finalists.

There are also three other programs that are associated with PSAT scores. The National Hispanic Recognition Program helps academically talented Hispanic or Latino students get recruited by colleges. The National Scholarship Service and Fund for Negro Students (NSSFNS) offers a free college advisory and referral service for African American students. And, the Telluride Association offers scholarships to gifted juniors for summer seminars in the humanities and social sciences.

For all of the programs, you need to score well on the PSAT. Scores are automatically given to these organizations, and they will contact you if you meet their requirements. However, you should actively begin your own scholarship search as soon as possible. Meet with your college counselor to find out about local scholarships. Most scholarships reward students with specific talents and interests so the hardest part of the process may be just finding the right scholarships to apply for. Get several good scholarship directories and visit some websites to initiate your scholarship search.


Gen & Kelly Tanabe
Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.

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