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National Merit Semifinalist Cutoffs Class of 2024

By September 10, 2023National Merit, PSAT

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Compass has now confirmed all of the National Merit Semifinalist cutoffs for the class of 2024.  Eligible students who have a Selection Index at or above the cutoffs will be named Semifinalists. Students who miss the Semifinalist cutoff will be named Commended Students if they have Selection Indexes at or above 207. Students in the class of 2025 can jump here for thoughts on next year’s results.

The PSAT was last overhauled in October 2015 (class of 2017). Twelve states set new cutoff lows for the class of 2024 versus the classes of 2017 to 2023. Not a single state reached a new high. Only 1 state, New Jersey, tied its 7-year high.

New Jersey also established the highest cutoff at 223 (which means that the District of Columbia and U.S. Students Abroad inherited that cutoff). Four states — New Mexico, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming — had cutoffs of 207. The five largest states saw no significant cutoff changes this year: California (221, +1), Texas (219, unchanged), New York (220, +1), Florida (216, unchanged), and Illinois (219, unchanged). The biggest changes were declines of 4 points in the South Carolina and Idaho cutoffs. Massachusetts, whose cutoff had been at 220 the last two years, made a surprising jump to 222.

Class of 2024
Class of 2023
District of Columbia2232230
New Hampshire2152132
New Jersey2232230
New Mexico207208-1
New York2202191
North Carolina2172170
North Dakota207209-2
Rhode Island215216-1
South Carolina209213-4
South Dakota209212-3
West Virginia2072070
​U.S. Territories2072070
​​Studying Abroad2232230

Compass is not affiliated in any way with the National Merit Scholarship Program or College Board. Students will be officially notified by their high schools and receive information about the next step in the National Merit process. Compass has more information about that process in the National Merit FAQ.  Some schools do not release Semifinalist information to students until after the press release date of September 13th. National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) will not confirm students’ qualification status until after that date. Commended letters are not mailed to schools until September 13th.

While “no change” was the most common result, it was only true in 15 states. 21 states saw declines. 14 states saw higher cutoffs. Compass has maintained data on National Merit cutoffs since the class of 2009, and this year was close to the overall average of 18 cutoffs per year going down, 18 going up, and 14 remaining unchanged.

Expectations for the class of 2025
Class of 2025 students taking the PSAT this fall can use the information for guidance but should not expect stable cutoffs for next year. Even in what was mostly a level year, 70% of cutoffs changed for the class of 2024. The introduction of the digital PSAT in October 2023 is likely to mean wider than usual swings. It’s not clear, for example, whether the digital test will prove more or less popular than the paper-and-pencil test that it is replacing. Also, College Board does not always have new exams “dialed in” during initial administrations. Compass will provide updates once more score information is available in November and December. The table below shows the highs and lows seen for each state since the class of 2017 (when the PSAT was last overhauled). New Jersey’s cutoff, for example, has remained at 222 or 223 during the entire period, but 18 states have seen score differences of at least 6 points within the last 8 years.  See Compass’s National Merit Historical Cutoffs for data going back to the class of 2008.

StateClass of 20248-Yr Min8-Yr Max8-Yr AvgRange
District of Columbia2232222242232
New Hampshire2152132192166
New Jersey2232222232231
New Mexico2072072152128
New York2202192212202
North Carolina2172172202183
North Dakota2072072122105
Rhode Island2152132202167
South Carolina2092092172148
South Dakota2092092152126
West Virginia2072072122095
Outside US2232222242232

The information below is preserved as a record of how we got from the October 2022 PSAT to the September 2023 Semifinalist announcement, and includes original research on historical trends and the data Compass uses to estimate future cutoffs.

September 7, 2023

Cutoffs in Alaska (209), Arkansas (210), Iowa (210), Idaho (211), Kentucky (211), and South Dakota (209) are now confirmed. That should be all 50 states, DC, U.S. territories, and U.S. students studying abroad! See the full list below.

September 7, 2023

Cutoffs in Kansas (214), Montana (209), Alabama (210), and Indiana (216) are now confirmed. Iowa’s cutoff is less than or equal to 211.

September 6, 2023

Cutoffs in Nevada (211), Michigan (217), Missouri (214), North Carolina (217), and Minnesota (216) are now confirmed. Also confirmed are South Carolina (209), Rhode Island (215), and Oregon (216). Alaska’s cutoff is no higher than 210. Vermont’s is no higher than 213.

September 5, 2023

A student has qualified with a 218 in Minnesota, so that information has been added below. Georgia’s cutoff is now confirmed at 217. We also have confirmation on Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, and New Hampshire. Kentucky’s cutoff is ≤ 211. And a commenter pointed out that I had referred to the Louisiana cutoff without updating the list. Updated Washington to reflect a confirmation of 220. DC’s cutoff will be 223 based on New Jersey. Kansas student qualifying at 219. Updated list below with previously confirmed Wisconsin.

September 4, 2023

Ohio, Oklahoma, Maine, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania are all confirmed. Report of 218 qualifying in Georgia, so it is now ≤ 218. Report of 211 qualifying in Alabama and 210 in Arkansas.

September 2, 2023

Travel day today, so I’ve been slow in the comments. We’ve now got the 5 largest states — CA, TX, NY, FL, and IL — confirmed. Also confirmed are 4 states at the other end of the scale. New Mexico, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming will all come in with a 207 cutoff. Report of a 215 qualifier in Maine. And Mississippi’s final number is 209.

September 1, 2023

Starting off the day with a report of Nebraska’s cutoff at 210 and a student in CA qualifying at 221. We’ve received word that New Jersey’s cutoff is 223. This is almost certainly the highest cutoff in the U.S. this year, so it will also define the cutoff for DC and U.S. Students Abroad. Utah has been confirmed at 209. A student in North Carolina qualified at 218, so the NC cutoff will be no higher than 218. Virginia’s cutoff has a surprise drop to 219. Connecticut is confirmed at 221. A student in Michigan qualified with a 218. Washington state’s cutoff is 220 or lower. South Carolina’s cutoff has fallen and is no higher than 210. Tennessee is confirmed at 217. A Colorado student qualified at 217. Oklahoma updated.

August 31, 2023

Arizona is now confirmed as a cutoff of 216. A Virginia student qualified with a 221, so the cutoff is 221 or lower. Tennessee’s cutoff will be moving higher this year. A 216 did not qualify. Texas will be no higher than 219 (it looks like a 218 did not qualify). A Redditor has reported that Mississippi is at 209 or 210. Also new reports on Oklahoma, Ohio, Georgia, and New York.

August 30, 2023

A couple of reports out of California and Ohio may make some students breath a sigh of relief. We still don’t know the minimum qualifying scores in those states.

August 28, 2023: Florida‘s cutoff is official at 216.

NMSC mailed Semifinalist letters to high schools last week. It often takes time for the announcements to show up on principals’ desks and even longer for notices to be passed along to students. It’s not unusual for students to wait until well into September. In the meantime, Compass will report information as we hear it.

If you receive news — good or bad — we would like to incorporate it. The comments below are moderated, so you can ask that we not use your name. Your email address will not be shared.

All of the numbers listed in this BREAKING section supersede Compass’s estimated cutoffs.
Alabama = 210
Alaska = 209
Arizona = 216
Arkansas = 210
California = 221
Colorado = 216
Connecticut = 221
Delaware = 219
District of Columbia = 223
Florida = 216
Georgia = 217
Hawaii = 217
Idaho = 211
Illinois = 219
Indiana = 216
Iowa = 210
Kansas = 214
Kentucky = 211
Louisiana = 214
Maine = 213
Maryland = 221
Massachusetts = 222
Michigan = 217
Minnesota = 216
Mississippi = 209
Missouri = 214
Montana = 209
Nebraska = 210
Nevada = 211
New Hampshire = 215
New Jersey = 223
New Mexico = 207
New York = 220
North Carolina = 217
North Dakota = 207
Ohio = 216
Oklahoma = 208
Oregon = 216
Pennsylvania = 219
Rhode Island = 215
South Carolina = 209
South Dakota = 209
Tennessee = 217
Texas = 219
Utah = 209
Vermont = 212
Virginia = 219
Washington = 220
West Virginia = 207
Wisconsin = 213
Wyoming = 207
U.S. Territories = 207
U.S. Students Abroad = 223

= indicates that the state’s cutoff is known
≤ indicates that the cutoff is equal to or lower than the given Selection Index
> indicates that the cutoff is higher than the given Selection Index

April 14, 2023 Update
Compass has confirmed that the Commended cutoff for the class of 2024 is a Selection Index of 207. Commended Students will not be notified by their schools until mid-September, but every eligible junior at 207 or above will be either a Commended Student or a Semifinalist. Based on the initial PSAT performance data analyzed in December, Compass had predicted a 207 Commended level. This means that our Most Likely estimates for state Semifinalist cutoffs will remain unchanged. It does mean that the upper ends of the ranges (or scores above the ranges) are far less likely than if the Commended cutoff had gone up. The next significant release of information will not come until the end of August, when NMSC mails Semifinalist letters to schools.

Compass has analyzed the October 2022 PSAT/NMSQT results to see how scores will impact the class of 2024’s National Merit hopes. Almost 1.5 million juniors took the qualifying exam for the National Merit Scholarship Program, and more than 54,000 of them will receive some form of honors or scholarships.

The Continued Drop-Off in High-Scorers
Students compete for National Merit honors. The more competitive the class, the higher the qualifying scores required (“cutoffs”). How well did students do this year?

In the class of 2020, more than 70,000 students scored above 1400 on the PSAT. This year the figure is under 45,000. This year looks surprisingly similar to last year. Test taker volume is still off more than 13% from pre-pandemic levels, and only 3% of those testers achieved a top score. The results in the last two years may reflect pandemic-related learning losses. Alternatively, College Board has scaled recent PSATs more unfavorably than in the past.

What is a Selection Index and why does it matter?
Instead of using PSAT scores directly, NMSC calculates a Selection Index (SI) that can be found with the online PSAT report. [For a general overview, including information on the Selection Index and the various stages of the selection process, see our National Merit FAQ.] A student scoring 720 ERW and 680 Math has an SI of 212. A student scoring 680 ERW and 720 Math has an SI of 208. On average, students scoring 1400 and above have Selection Indexes of 210 and above. That information allows us to estimate where the Commended level will fall based on how many students receive scores of 1400 or higher.

Years in which a large number of students achieved high scores are associated with Commended cutoffs above 210. Years in which fewer than 60,000 students got top marks are associated with Commended cutoffs below 210. Compass expects this year’s Commended cutoff to fall somewhere between 206 and 209, with a 207 being the “most likely.”

Commended versus Semifinalist, national versus state
The relationship between nationwide performance and Semifinalist cutoffs is more complex. The Commended cutoff is determined by looking at the top 50,000 scorers nationally. Semifinalist cutoffs, on the other hand, are determined state-by-state. The performance of students in Georgia or Michigan has no impact on the cutoffs in New York or Ohio. NMSC establishes a target number of Semifinalists based on the high school population in each state. California, for example, has a target of approximately 2,000 Semifinalists. NMSC determines the Semifinalist cutoff that comes as close as possible to producing 2,000 Semifinalists in the state. While this methodology ensures a national distribution of Semifinalists, it means that some states are far more competitive than others. The table below provides Compass’s estimates for Semifinalist cutoffs.

[*See table at the top of the post for actual values as of September 2023.]

Consider the range
State cutoffs fluctuate from year to year — even when the Commended cutoff is unchanged! Rather than expecting that a single score is the correct estimate, Compass recommends that students consider the possibility that a state’s cutoff will fall within the estimated range. Over the last ten years, only 27% of Semifinalist cutoffs have remain unchanged from one year to the next. [Compass’s historical archive of National Merit cutoffs dating back to 2008 can be found here.]

Compass projects this year to be more stable than most because of the similar national performance compared to the class of 2023. However, in Compass’s 15-year database, there has never been a year when the majority of state cutoffs remained the same. So while “no change” is usually the best bet one can make, it’s also a bad bet. Consider, instead, the estimated range.

Small shifts can matter
It doesn’t always require a large change in testing behavior to cause a state’s cutoff to move. NMSC has no way of making fine distinctions within a state. Everyone at a given score is either a Semifinalist or not. The organization tries to come as close as possible in meeting the state’s allocation of Semifinalists (a number it does not directly report), but the nature of the Selection Index means that small variations can move a cutoff higher or lower.

Let’s assume that the target number of Semifinalists for a state is 300. If 282 students had Selection Indexes of 220 or higher and 315 scored 219 or higher, then 219 comes closest to meeting the target and will be set as the cutoff. If only 5 students at 219 had gotten 1 additional question right, there would have been 287 students at 220 or higher, and a 220 cutoff would have been chosen by NMSC. Small differences in class makeup, test form difficulty, or a few extra students guessing correctly on a problem can move the Semifinalist cutoff by a point.

When your selection unit is not a state
The Semifinalist cutoff for each of the 50 states is calculated independently. However, some cutoffs are not independent. NMSC considers boarding school students, students studying abroad, and students in the District of Columbia and in U.S. Territories or Commonwealths as separate “selection units” that follow specific rules. The net effect is that the cutoffs for the District of Columbia and students studying abroad are always set at the level of the highest state cutoff. The cutoff for U.S. Territories is set at the Commended Student level (as it is with some states). The cutoff for a boarding school is set at the highest state cutoff within the boarding school’s region.

The role of test scaling
The PSAT is usually taken by about 1.5 million students each year. The pool is (or was) large enough and consistent enough that the scores of the top 50,000 students should not change much. And yet they do. This reflects a shortcoming of the PSAT/NMSQT — it’s well-designed to measure the performance of the average student, but is more prone to error at the edges. College Board attempts to scale each PSAT so that a particular score represents the same level of achievement. In practice, we see clear examples of where College Board’s numbers are “off.” The class of 2021, for example, had an unusual test form that produced far lower cutoffs than in the previous year. Further confusing matters is that several different test forms are used each year. Compass’s analysis shows that this year’s PSAT — or at least the primary form, taken by more than 1 million students — was difficult. This difficulty can show up throughout the range of cutoffs, but lower scoring states tend to track the Commended level more than do the higher scoring states.

Updates and comments
Compass will update this post as new developments arise. We try to (eventually) answer all questions in the comments, but please be aware that comments are moderated and will not display until approved.

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Art Sawyer

Art graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where he was the top-ranked liberal arts student in his class. Art pioneered the one-on-one approach to test prep in California in 1989 and co-founded Compass Education Group in 2004 in order to bring the best ideas and tutors into students' homes and computers. Although he has attained perfect scores on all flavors of the SAT and ACT, he is routinely beaten in backgammon.


  • D says:

    My daughter was named a semifinalist. Her high school does not have many semifinalists, and the school is not sure how to do their part. Should the principal have received her own log-in information?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      I’m not sure on that one. Has your daughter completed her portion? It may give instructions for next steps. You best bet is to call NMSC: (847) 866-5161. Congratulations and good luck!

  • Lynn says:

    Hello, we are US citizens living abroad. My daughter just missed the cutoff for international. Her school confirmed this but she does make the commended cutoff. Her school has no information about commended students. How can my daughter confirm this? Do commended letters go out with semifinalist letters?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      NMSC does not send Commended letters to schools until the Semifinalist press release date (the 12th). So your daughter’s school may not receive them for a couple of more weeks. Her score means that she will certainly be a Commended Student!

  • Harry says:

    Art, do you happen to know the reason why Merit will not post the complete list of semifinalists on their website?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      I’m a big supporter of National Merit and NM students, but I would be hard-pressed to name a process change in the last 40 years. They have always chosen to send physical packets to schools and to have Semifinalist names distributed only by schools or the local press. That made a bit more sense when the local paper might run an item about Semifinalists. Or when the only dependable way to get information to 16,000 PSAT takers was via their schools. Now a community is lucky if it still has a local paper. And every student has an email address. I hope National Merit eventually adopts an online process just like every college has adopted. Until then, we just have to accept that they don’t intend to fix what they don’t consider broken. I will say that putting 16,000 student names on their website might create some privacy issues, but I’m reaching.

  • LukeR says:

    Hi Art, I have received the letter from my school and will start my application process soon. Thank you for all the great work you have done for the students! You’ve made the process less stressful. I have one question. I want to include the NM semifinalist status in my college application but also indicate that I am likely to be a finalist. In your opinion, what is the appropriate way to list it? Can I say something like “National Merit Scholarship Semi-finalist, finalist status anticipated (or expected) in Feb. 2024?” I don’t want to sound like I assume too much but also want the colleges know that I meet all the finalist eligibility requirements (GPA, confirming score, etc.). Thank you!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Congratulations, Luke!

      I would recommend against listing yourself as anything beyond a Semifinalist. Colleges know how the timeline works and that Finalists won’t be named until 2024. They also know all of the things you mentioned and with a lot more detail. Colleges have all of your grades. They have recommendation letters. They have your activities. They have your essays. They have test scores (if you choose to send them). Let them make their own assumptions about where you will end up in the NM process. Best of luck!

  • Jason says:

    Hi Art:
    What is the meaning of the three digit code (just next to the names) in the semifinalist? For example, 999, 000, 520, 743, 200, so on and so forth.

  • Andy says:

    Hi Art,
    Firstly, Thank you so much for this blog.
    My son made the cut off for NY with 220.
    For the confirming score, NMSC requests SAT or ACT. He has 1550 (750E and 800M) in SAT and 36 in ACT (35R 35W 36M 36S). Based on concordance tables, SI for ACT and SAT would be the same (I.e. 1550). Seems like NMSC is ignoring the science section of the ACT when doing conversions. Does it matter which one we submit ? I think SAT is cheaper to submit than ACT.


    • Art Sawyer says:

      Congratulations to your son, Andy.

      He is so far over (!) the necessary confirming score (which should be at 207 this year) that you might as well just flip a coin. A higher score does not boost a student’s chances at the Finalist or Scholar stages. Yes, SAT reports are a few dollars cheaper.

  • John says:

    I got a 219 and I live in Texas. Does this mean I am a Semifinalist?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      A junior in Texas with a 219 will be a Semifinalist. Congratulations. If you still haven’t heard from your school, you can contact NMSC directly [(847) 866-5100] for confirmation. You’ll still need to get the letter from your school, as that has your login information for the application portal for Finalist.

      • Carleen says:

        Hi Art,

        We live in Europe and my son is a US citizen who was born and raised overseas. He attends a semi-‘international’ high school, and will be able to take the PSATs at another intl school (not his own school- which doesn’t offer it). Since he doesn’t really have a US state affiliation (I am registered to vote in CA, where I last lived in the US), does that mean he won’t be eligible for the NMS at all?

        • Art Sawyer says:

          Your son seems to meet the eligibility requirements — assuming he is a junior. As long as he lists himself as a junior and as a U.S. citizen, then he is eligible to participate as a student outside of the U.S. On his online PSAT report, there should be a confirmation on the tab for National Merit (as I haven’t taken the PSAT in a looong time, I may have the naming wrong). In April, high schools receive lists of students eligible to continue in the NMSP process — meaning they hit the Commended level or above. Schools aren’t supposed to release that information, but they are supposed to confirm it with NMSC. That’s the only part of the process that makes me nervous, as I don’t know how familiar your son’s school is with National Merit. If there have been other Commended Students or Semifinalists from the school, then you know things must be working.

  • Lisa says:

    Hi Art,

    I qualified as a semifinalist in CA, thanks for compiling this information for us! I was looking through the finalist application and saw on the NMSC website that a whopping 95% of semifinalists become finalists. Do you think the 5% who did not become finalists simply didn’t submit an application? And how highly should I prioritize this application, considering I also have college applications and many other commitments at the moment?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Congratulations! I’ve never found any material indicating the percent that different factors play in disqualifying Semifinalists from continuing. I suspect that some of them do not complete the application. As you point out, it can serve as a distraction. And schools have to write letters of recommendation and send the completed application, and there are some that don’t give National Merit a high priority.

      But my guess is that the top 2 reasons are the academic expectations and the need for a confirming score. “Have a record of consistently very high academic performance in all of grades 9 through 12 and in any college course work taken.” That’s a high standard — “consistently,” “very,” “all,” “any.” To my knowledge, NMSC has never defined those standards publicly. So students do not have a way of knowing if a GPA is sufficient or if a bad grade in 10th grade is going to disqualify them. The good news is that there is nothing you can do about any of that other than to keep getting good grades your senior year (and you are already going to do that for colleges). So my advice is to stay optimistic. The confirming score likely trips up some students, but because it is a national score based on the Commended cutoff, it’s not much of a threat to the typical CA qualifier. Best of luck!

      Deciding to focus on your college applications is a perfectly reasonable response with one caveat. If the potential financial aid benefits are important, try to find the time. And it really shouldn’t take much time. The essay is so general that it shouldn’t be hard to rework one of your college app essays. The rest of the application won’t take long at all if you have things organized — which you also need to do for your college apps.

  • Kerry says:

    Hi Art!

    Daughter is Oklahoma. Doesn’t want to take SAT.
    ACT (33) conversion is 220. Lots of community service and activities. Will that be a safe score to submit for Finalist consideration? Will have great essay and recs from school.

    Also, would appreciate your advisement on what to put for school of choice since none of her top 4 are NM Sponsors.

    Thanks for your continued help!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Your daughter does not need to take the SAT. Her 220 is well above what is needed as a confirming score (generally set at the Commended level of 207). And having a higher score does not play a factor in Finalist selection.

      Putting a non-sponsoring school does little (nothing?) for a student. If she puts one of her top 4 schools as her first choice, she just has to accept that the only scholarship opportunities are direct from National Merit or a corporate sponsor. Only about a quarter of Finalists receive such an award. As I’ve recommended to other families, don’t view what she puts now as her final answer. Set a reminder for February and see where her admission process stands. If she knows that she will be going to a non-sponsor, then she should list the non-sponsor at that time. It’s better for her to compete for a national award than to get matched with a school she is not considering.

  • Harry says:

    Do the alternative entrants still have to send another SAT or ACT score as confirmatory?

  • RC says:

    When do you think is a reasonable time to follow up with the school to ask about the materials. My son’s index met the cut off for our state but have heard nothing from their school

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Many schools prefer to wait until the press release date on the 13th, so your situation is not unusual. No need for concern. If your son doesn’t hear anything on the 13th, I would follow up with the school.

  • Chris says:

    Thank you so much for your work! I must admit, I was refreshing non-stop for confirmation of our state’s cutoff last week. I was able to breath a sigh of relief that my son did make NMSF. He is now working on the application for NMF and I would like your guidance on listing the first choice college. For our family, chasing merit money is key. However, my son’s first choice college is not a sponsor of a NM scholarship. Should he even list that college as his first choice or would it be smarter to list one of the colleges that do sponsor a NM scholarship that he does have interest in?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Congratulations to your son!

      You will want to list a sponsoring school. That’s a particularly easy answer in your son’s case, since merit aid is important. You’ll want to keep reevaluating that first choice as your son goes through the admission process. The matching process doesn’t begin until March, so he’ll know a lot more about his prospects by then. There are some wonderful schools that provide significant financial aid for National Merit Finalists. And don’t be shy. See if a school has a liaison that deals with National Merit students. Make sure that you ask about any school-specific deadlines.

      Feel free to ignore my question, but I’ll put it in a simple yes/no form. Is the essay on your son’s NMF app using the same prompt as in past years: “To help the reviewers get to know you, describe an experience you have had, a person who has influenced you, or an obstacle you have overcome. Explain why this is meaningful to you. Use your own words and limit your response to the space provided.” Thanks!

  • Christina says:

    Thank you for collecting this info. Curious though, my son attends a public school in MA and scored a 227 on last years PSAT. Per is eligibility info he does meet entry requirements. He has not yet heard whether or not he is a semifinalist. Is there a situation in which he would not be make it? Getting very nervous since he has not been notified yet.

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Many schools prefer to wait until the 13th, which is the press release date for National Merit announcements. There is no reason to be nervous. If you haven’t heard from the school after the 13th, check in with them. If you aren’t able to get an answer from the school after a day or two, you can call NMSC directly to confirm that your son is a Semifinalist. Congratulations, btw!

      There are lightning-strike rare instances of where, say, a student’s class year is wrong. On the National Merit tab of your son’s PSAT report from College Board, I believe there is an indication of whether CB has him as having met eligibility requirements. That will not tell him whether or not he is a Semifinalist — College Board is not involved in that decision — but it will confirm that the correct information was passed along to NMSC. Even those sorts of glitches can be cleared up.

  • Sarvesh says:

    Hello! I took the PSAT my junior year when I was in South Carolina. I got a 215. After my junior year, I moved down to Florida for my senior year that’s going on right now, and will graduate from a Florida high school. Which state’s cutoff should I look at?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      National Merit considers students based on the school they attended when they took the PSAT. You are a South Carolina student for National Merit. Congratulations!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hello Mr. Sawyer!

    This information may not help you, but I wanted to let you know that I have received an NMSC letter from my school confirming that I am a Semifinalist as an alternate entry applicant with a Selection Index score of 218 in Ohio! Thank you so much for helping me and a lot of other families by making this amazing website!

  • George says:

    Awesome work compiling all the cutoffs!

    Out of curiosity, do you have the list that shows how many commended are in each state and how many unique schools are represented in each state?

  • bk says:

    I don’t see Idaho’s numbers anywhere? Same as previous years?

  • Alex S says:

    Hi Art,

    I scored a 220 in California. A skill issue on my part. Could have gotten a 221 or even a 224 if I locked in more.

  • Jessica says:

    Is the cutoff for Maryland truly 221. My daughter got a 220. Is it possible for them to take into account other factors too or do they simply not even consider anyone whose index is below 221? Is there a chance for them to accept her, or not at all?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      I am sorry, but the initial stage of the National Merit process is based exclusively on a student’s Selection Index. Your daughter’s score is impressive. She will be named a Commended Student rather than a Semifinalist.

  • Nancy says:

    Do you know what the cutoff is for private boarding schools in MA? I think boarding schools have a different cutoff than the state cutoffs. And if the cutoff is 222, does that mean you need greater than 222, or will 222 make the list as a semifinalist?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Boarding schools do have different cutoffs. They inherit the highest state cutoff within their region. I am not 100% certain about how NMSC currently defines MA’s region. I believe it combines New England and the Mid-Atlantic states. That would mean the NJ cutoff of 223 applies.

      A 222 cutoff means that students AT or above 222 qualify.

      • Nancy says:

        I can now confirm that Boarding schools in MA used NJ (223) as the max state. My daughter who is a day student at a MA boarding school got a 222 and she didn’t make the cutoff by one point. 😞

        • Art Sawyer says:

          I’m sorry to hear that. Your daughter’s score is impressive. The boarding school model for NM feels like an anachronism.

          Thank you for sharing the information.

  • LAB says:

    Art, are there any Kansas updates? Thanks.

  • Amy says:

    Is CA confirmed as 221?

      • Erica says:

        But it’s confusing because your article said a student “qualified” at 221, which is not the same as confirmed. What exactly is the difference? The article only says CA scores have been confirmed with no actual cutoff listed. So where can we find the official cutoff scores for CA?

        • Art Sawyer says:

          I don’t always list all students or sources in the comments. When I note a cutoff as confirmed or =, it means that I am convinced of the accuracy of the cutoff. I hesitate to call them official, because I am not associated with NMSC and don’t want to imply any association. One of the reasons I provide this information is that NMSC — in most years — chooses not to publicize cutoff information. If it releases cutoffs this year, it would not be until at least the press release date of September 13th. California’s cutoff is 221 this year.

  • Jason says:

    Is California confirmed at 221?

  • Joseph says:

    Hey Art,

    I live in a U.S. territory called Guam. I have a 219 index, and my Principal has shown me a letter from NMS last May asking her to confirm my information. Are these good signs of making a semifinalist? Also, when will I be able to know via mail or email?

    Thank you!

    • Art Sawyer says:

      The May heads-up meant that you were on a list of students eligible for recognition as either Commended or Semifinalist. But the 219 absolutely means that you will be a Semifinalist. Congratulations! While I haven’t listed it, the U.S. Territories cutoff has always come in at the national Commended number. In other words, 207 or higher will qualify in Guam. You will be notified by your school. That information (mailed to the school) may arrive later in Guam than in say New York, but I’m sure that it will eventually show up. You may want to check with your principal next week (some schools wait until the 13th, which is the press release date for NMSC).

  • Shri R says:

    Hey Art!

    Is the Oregon cutoff really confirmed to be 216? My son had completely lost hope with and 217 and this news would make him so happy!

  • RXF says:

    Just a follow-up to my question about homeschool notification: We are in NC and we only just received our notification letter from NMSC in the mail today.

  • Kim says:

    Michigan here – our son qualified with 217. Not sure what the cutoff is.

  • J says:

    Hello! I was notified today that I qualified with a 214 in Missouri 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Art!

    My student got an official acceptance through his school with a 217 in Michigan!

  • Shivsai says:

    I am an NC student who got 217 as my SI and qualified.

  • AK says:

    I haven’t seen much info from Kansas yet in these comments, so I thought I’d add a data point. We received the notification letter this evening that our homeschooled senior is a Semifinalist with a 219 SI. Best wishes to all the Semifinalist qualifiers, the commended scholars, and ALL the seniors!

  • Jill says:

    Can you confirm Wisconsin’s cutoff ? You responded to some posts earlier but it is not listed in the blog post. Thanks !

  • Han says:

    Hi Art,

    My daughter is going to a boarding school in CT and she got 222. Is she qualified for NMSF?

    • Art Sawyer says:

      Boarding school cutoffs are set regionally based on the highest state cutoff within the region. I believe that CT falls in a region that includes New England and Mid-Atlantic. If that’s correct, then the cutoff is based on New Jersey at 223. I would recommend that your daughter check with her school.

      • SK says:

        Hi Art,
        My child is in boarding school in North Carolina. Do you know what the cut off is? Thank you!

        • Art Sawyer says:

          Boarding school cutoffs are determined regionally. The highest state cutoff within a region is the boarding school cutoff for that region. I believe that North Carolina is in a grouping of South Atlantic and Central states, so it dodges New Jersey’s 223. I don’t know the exact states in that region, but my guess is that Maryland is grouped with NC and would set the region’s cutoff at 221.

  • John says:

    How did you confirm PA? Did you get a student at 218?

  • Anne says:

    Hi, Art:
    We got our answer (Arizona) days ago. I just wanted to say thank you for your diligent tracking of all this data!

  • Poyee says:

    Hi Art, first thanks for your work. My son is 224 in NJ so should we celebrate? Thanks!!

  • AJ says:

    Good evening, do you have information on the DC/Students Abroad cut off? I saw you put MD at 221 in the comments. Is there a reason this information has not been included in the blog post or listed in the BREAKING list?

  • S says:

    Hello, do you think a 217 will qualify for Indiana this year? Thank you!

  • Gina says:

    Any indication on the NV cutoff ?

  • Pamela says:

    Any news on Missouri. Child with 213 waiting impatiently.

  • nj says:

    Is nj confirmed at 223?

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