National Merit Question

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by BDHuff09, Dec 10, 2012.

  1. BDHuff09

    BDHuff09 Member

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    I received my PSAT scores today, and they were a good bit above the national merit semifinalist cutoff score for my state (MO) last year. Assuming the cutoff doesn't rise by more than 9 or 10 points, it is reasonably likely that I will be able to apply to be a NMS finalist or a winner next September when the official cutoff scores are announced. I feel (in the least boastful/conceited way possible) that I would be a reasonably competitive applicant to at least be a nationial merit finalist.

    If by chance I am, then I would be eligible for highly attractive scholarship packages (some in excess of $100,000 total (TAMU)) at several schools I am considering applying to. However, many of these scholarships come with the stipulation that the school in question is listed as your "first choice college" on the NMS application.

    The problem is that West Point and the Naval Academy are my "first and second choice colleges". The COA at both schools however is $0, so it would seem rather pointless to list them on the application if I would not be able to use the scholarship.

    So my question is, would it be ethical to list school X as my first choice so that I would be elligible for the external scholarship even if USMA/USNA is my true first choice? It would seem like the smart thing to do, so that if I did not receive appointment then I would have a nice scholarship waiting for me at my backup school. My only worry is that admissions at either academy would look down on such a move, and I'm not sure I like not telling the truth either. Would this be the case?

    Thank you all in advance!
     
  2. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    I think you answered your own question regarding whether its ethical or not.
     
  3. another13mom

    another13mom Member

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    One of my kids was in this situation and applied to non-service academy schools. You can list any school you want for NM scholarship consideration. it's not binding and should be a part of your strategic planning in the college application process. National Merit scholarships are designed to boost the profile of the school offering them so they can say "we have 174 National Merit scholars." So it's basically a feather in their cap if you go... Most kids in this situation are striving for an Ivy, where NO merit money is available, so they DO NOT list the ivies on the National Merit form, just their own State U or schools that give large merit packages. This way, if the crap shoot of applying to an ivy doesn't pan out, they've secured a great merit package elsewhere. Mine listed a school that offered a full ride, but she was so blessed to have the chance to choose an ivy and attend. If you are NM, expect full ride offers from Alabama, Arizona and a myriad of schools further down the alphabet...Most offer summer travel stipends, computers, and preferred registration perks. It's one of those occasions where being a nerd = being a recruited football player, so go for it!! Congratulations!
     
  4. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    Number 1-90 something % of NMSQT semis, become finalists. Write a good essay, don't screw up your senior year, and maintain SAT scores equal to or better than PSAT.

    Number 2-Without being too lawyerly, since I am not a lawyer, the NMSQT scholarship only applies to sponsoring colleges, period end of sentence. SA's, Ivies, and Moscow State University are not part of the conversation.

    This is line and verse from the "Requirements and Instructions for Semifinalists in the 2013 National Merit® Scholarship Program."

    REPORT OF A SPONSOR COLLEGE AS FIRST CHOICE
    Consideration for a college-sponsored Merit Scholarship award is limited to Semifinalists who qualify as Finalists and who also
    1. report to NMSC that a sponsor college is their first choice (see the list of college sponsors included in the “Competition Instructions” section of the OSA and at nationalmerit.org/forms.php);
    2. have applied for admission to the sponsor college; and
    3. have not been offered any other National Merit Scholarship (corporate-sponsored, National, or another
    college-sponsored award). No student will receive more than one scholarship offer from NMSC.
    A college-sponsored Merit Scholarship award can be used only at the institution financing it and therefore is canceled if the winner changes college choice.


    The question you are answering is not, "What is your first choice of schools on the planet?" The question is asking what is your first choice of schools among sponsoring colleges.

    If you are interested in TAMU and they are in fact a sponsoring college, maybe there is some interplay between NMSQT and ROTC. Don't know, but someone on this forum does.

    Finally, the fact that you would even think of this as an issue to be reflected upon, is a great reflection on you as a person. Be prepared over the next 15 mos. to witness classmates, parents, guidance counselors and admission departments acting without such concern about "doing the right thing."

    Best of luck.
     
  5. dunninla

    dunninla Member

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    Ethics often requires an examination of "why was this rule written", "what is the intent of this rule", etc. when there is ambiguity in exact application. I personally (you may feel differently) that this rule rule is written in the context of regular colleges, not Service Academies. Among regular colleges, can you list as #1 one of the sponsoring colleges? If so, then I would consider it ethical to list TAMU, or any other non-Academy as #1.
     
  6. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    The rule is written in the context of the "sponsoring schools", which excludes probably 70% of US colleges and universities, SA's among the excluded.

    Just because the SA's, among others, buy leads from the College Board, does not mean they participate in the entire racket. And believe me, it's a racket.
     
  7. lsredmond

    lsredmond Member

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    My daughter was a National Merit finalist and you are given time to change your #1 school after the fact. I think she had until May 1st of her senior year to change her #1 choice since she had put USAFA as her number one. She changed it to Alabama in case she didn't get into USAFA. Well she got into USAFA so the point was moot.
     
  8. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    Good point. Forgot about that.

    OP should have heard from USMA prior to May 1.
     
  9. BDHuff09

    BDHuff09 Member

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    Many thanks for all the responses.

    So guess it would be ok to list a school other than the academies as "#1" because they are not sponsoring schools? Hypothetically, if I were to get in to an academy and get national merit, what would happen to the scholarship? Would I just lose it?

    To clarify, I will graduate high school in 2014, not this spring.
     
  10. cb7893

    cb7893 Member

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    You would lose it.
     

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