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Planning and preparing for the SAT and ACT is tough proposition. Let our experts make it easier for you and your student by reviewing some of the many options available to improve scores, grow scholarship offers, and get into the best college!

How Your Child Can Easily Get $100,000+ in College Scholarships

Parents with students who are high school juniors (or younger) — listen up! Did you know that if your son or daughter scores well on the PSAT, he or she can receive $100,000+ in scholarships?!

The PSAT is also the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. National Merit is not only an impressive award to have on your child’s college application, but also a scholarship. Your child can receive a $2,500 scholarship directly from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. More importantly, many universities offer half-tuition or full-tuition scholarships exclusively to National Merit Scholars. Here is a list of just a few universities:

Full Tuition Scholarships
1. University of Arizona – $120,000 + iPad + $1,500 Award
2. Drexel University – $180,000
3. University of Central Florida – $140,000 + Laptop
4. Baylor University – $140,000
5. UNLV – $80,000 + Study Abroad Expenses

Half Tuition Scholarships
1. University of Southern California – $100,000
2. Boston University – $80,000
3. Wesleyan College – $80,000
4. University of Cincinnati – $80,000 + $1,500 Award
5. University of Nevada Reno – $70,000

The above list is just a small sample of the dozens and dozens of colleges that offer scholarships to National Merit Finalists! Essentially, your child can receive $100,000 – $200,000 in college scholarships just for scoring high on one test! But how high must your child score on the PSAT? It depends on the state in which you live. More academically competitive states have higher National Merit cutoff scores. Because the PSAT has recently changed, no one can say for sure what the cutoffs for each state will be. But based on last year’s cutoff’s scores, I have estimated the approximate cutoff scores for juniors taking the new PSAT out of 1520.

Class of 2017 New PSAT National Merit Cutoff Scores (Approximate)

Alabama — 1330
Alaska — 1350
Arizona — 1370
Arkansas — 1320
California — 1430
Colorado — 1370
Connecticut — 1410
Delaware — 1380
District of Columbia — 1440
Florida — 1350
Georgia — 1380
Hawaii — 1360
Idaho — 1330
Illinois — 1380
Indiana — 1360
Iowa — 1330
Kansas — 1370
Kentucky — 1350
Louisiana — 1380
Maine — 1360
Maryland — 1420
Massachusetts — 1420
Michigan — 1350
Minnesota — 1380
Mississippi — 1330
Missouri — 1340
Montana — 1320
Nebraska — 1340
Nevada — 1350
New Hampshire — 1360
New Jersey — 1440
New Mexico — 1350
New York — 1400
North Carolina — 1360
North Dakota — 1290
Ohio — 1370
Oklahoma — 1320
Oregon — 1390
Pennsylvania — 1390
Rhode Island — 1360
South Carolina — 1340
South Dakota — 1300
Tennessee — 1360
Texas — 1400
Utah — 1330
Vermont — 1370
Virginia — 1410
Washington — 1410
West Virginia — 1290
Wisconsin — 1340
Wyoming — 1310

However, unlike the SAT and ACT (which your child can take as many times as he or she likes) the PSAT can only be taken once: October of junior year. If your child took the PSAT as a sophomore, the score does not count towards qualifying for National Merit. He or she must take it again as a junior.

It’s not necessary to study for the PSAT separately from the SAT. The PSAT is actually just an easier version of the SAT: no essay, easier math, and half the length. Therefore, I recommend that students simply study for the SAT. If your child studies for the SAT prior to October of his or her junior year, your student will be over-prepared for the PSAT. Make sure your child is in a good position to score well on the PSAT so that he or she can qualify for National Merit!

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Shaan Patel

Shaan Patel is the founder of Prep Expert Test Preparation, a #1 bestselling SAT & ACT prep author, an MD/MBA student at Yale and USC, and winner of an investment deal with billionaire Mark Cuban on ABC’s Shark Tank. He raised his own SAT score from average to perfect using 100 strategies that we teach in our Prep Expert SAT and ACT courses.