Paying for College

Merit Scholarships for Internatial Student Ineligible for National Merit

Question: I know that international students CANNOT participate in the National Merit Scholarships selection process. But I would like to know if an international student can get college scholarship offers from colleges if he or she gets a PSAT score of 230. I'm asking this question because some semifinalists get scholarship offers even though they didn't make it to Finalist status.


It may feel frustrating to be excluded from the National Merit competition because you're not an American citizen. But, frankly, National Merit is overrated as a source of scholarships. Sure, there are some colleges that offer full tuition to NM winners, but often the schools that are most sought-after by top students aren't on the list of those that participate.

Many colleges do offer other merit scholarships to international students. The best way to be in the running for such scholarships is to identify and apply to colleges where the typical admitted freshman has grades and test results (real SAT's or ACT's, not just the PSAT) that are significantly below your own.

So don't worry too much about being ineligible for National Merit money because most of the better scholarships don't come from NM anyway.

Happy hunting!