I often have students send me their PSAT scores or express concern because their scores are not high enough to qualify for National Merit consideration. I always tell them the same thing.
Don’t worry about it. The PSAT doesn’t matter.
For purposes of admissions to colleges, including the most selective colleges in the country, a student’s PSAT score mean absolutely nothing. It is never considered. Hundreds of hours are spent into preparing for the examinations every year by students. Some found success in strict study schedules when they can afford, and others seek the help of online resources on https://examgenius.org.
The only thing the PSAT is used for is to determine who qualifies for National Merit semi-finalist status. I can hear you already. “So, that is what is important to colleges.” Nope.
The majority of colleges do not care if a student is a National Merit scholar or not. What colleges care about is what are your actual test scores. SAT or ACT they don’t really care. I have seen many students with very modest PSAT scores that scored very well on the actual SAT or the ACT. Those students have almost universally done well in the college and BS/MD admissions process.
There are some colleges, particularly those that typically don’t get very many students that score well on the SAT, that offer significant financial aid packages for National Merit finalists. But the vast majority of highly selective colleges give either no extra financial aid for National Merit finalists or at most give $2,500 a year.
If you are looking for significant merit money and are willing to consider some less selective colleges, then by all means try to do well on the PSAT. Otherwise, don’t freak out about it. If you do well, great. And if you don’t do well, so what.
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