# Should I take National Merit Money?

1. Dec 5, 2009

### bleedblue1234

Well I am a Junior this year and I received my PSAT results back and it looks as if I have done well enough to qualify for National Merit Semi-Finalist standing and will probably make finalist status.... (15,000 of the 16,000 make finalist)

I was just wondering if I should be looking at some of the schools that offer National Merit money.... for instance if I achieve National Merit Finalist status the University of Alabama will offer me:
* Value of tuition in-state or out-of-state for 4 years
* 4 years of on-campus housing at regular room rate* (based on assignment by Housing and Residential Communities)
* $1,000 per year University National Merit/Achievement Scholarship for 4 years * One time allowance of$2,000 for use in summer research or international study (after completing one year of study at UA)
* Laptop computer**

While this seems like a good deal, there are several other universities that offer good merit aid for finalists:
Fordham (free tuition)
U Tulsa
ASU
Loyola Chicago
U Maine

Do you think schools like these are good choices or do you think I should look for other schools that rank higher.... does the quality of undergraduate school matter much (if i plan on grad)? What would you do?

2. Dec 5, 2009

### Long_Island

I was a national merit finalist last year, and I would say you should at least apply to a few of those schools. Somewhere on-line (I lost the site) there is a list of schools that offer full-rides or large scholarships to Finalists. I think it has about 80 different colleges. My biggest mistake was ignoring these schools because I didn't think they were "good enough." Some of the schools can be quite good, and in the event that your other schools are too expensive, it is very nice to have a free back-up plan. I overlooked this and wound up at a school I don't like, and is not any better than some of those schools. Now I'm paying more that I would have had I just filled out a few extra applications. I would say certainly apply to a few of the more comprehensive scholarships in order to keep your options open, because you never know what may happen. Think carefully before turning down a free education.

3. Dec 5, 2009