| |

The 2021 National Merit Semifinalist Cutoffs

The time has come…the National Merit Semifinalist cutoff scores for the class of 2021 have been released! Although the names of Semifinalists are to be released formally through the media on September 9th, the National Merit Scholarship Committee (NMSC) notified high schools of students’ names in late August.

About 1.6 million students enter the National Merit Scholarship competition annually when they take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Being accepted as a National Merit Semifinalist means that the Semifinalist is one of the highest-scoring program entrants from their home state. The score needed to make it onto the cutoff list is different from state to state. For example, this year, students in North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming needed to earn 209 points to be a Semifinalist, while students in Washington DC, New Jersey, and Massachusetts needed 222 points to be a Semifinalist. Students scoring at or above 209, but lower than their state’s cutoff, are named Commended Scholars.

Moreover, every year the exact score needed to make it as a Semifinalist changes. To find out if you achieved Semifinalist status, you must wait for your school to notify you or look for your name when the list becomes public in mid-September. Those who make the Semifinalist cutoff are always among the top 1% of scorers across the nation.
To continue the journey towards becoming a Finalist for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists must meet high academic standards as well as complete all other requirements. View the requirements and instructions for the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program for more information on what you need to do to be considered as a Finalist. For further information on the National Merit Scholarship Program, check out the NMSC’s graphic on the breakdown of the process. Congratulations to all the Semifinalists!

For more clarification on the National Merit Scholarship or anything else pertaining to college admissions, please call or email us at International College Counselors: [email protected] or 1-954-414-9986.


Now Hiring!
International College Counselors has a job opening for a new, full-time college advisor. Join our team! Click here for more information and to apply.

Virtual College Fair

On Wednesday, Sept. 16 and Thursday, Sept. 17, attend a free, virtual college fair hosted by the Coalition for College. The event features 130+ colleges and universities all committed to access, affordability and student success.
See which schools will be there, and choose your rooms.

Upcoming Workshop
Effective and Efficient Academic Writing Workshop
Mondays & Thursdays – Starting in September

In this online workshop students will learn the stages of essay writing, how to plan and write an essay from outline to end, how to form thesis statements, how to express ideas clearly and more. Open to students in grades 9-12.
Cost: $350
For questions and more information, contact Aimee Heller.

Upcoming Free Webinars
College Admissions: What to Look For and How to Get In!
September 24 at 7:00pm EDT

Applying to Four Year Universities in Florida
October 1 at 7:00pm EDT

Tips and Tricks for Affording College
October 7 at 7:00pm EDT

Applying to Ivy League and Highly Selective Colleges
October 14 at 7:00pm EDT


About International College Counselors

International College Counselors works with students from all over the world to help them reach their college and graduate school goals. Through a personal, one-on-one approach, the expert college advisors create an individualized plan for each student based on the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and passions. The holistic process helps families of middle school, high school, and college-aged students alleviate stress, avoid confusion, and get results.