How to Get a Scholarship for Your PSAT Score

The PSAT/NMSQT Can Earn You Big Bucks!

The PSAT can get you cash for college!

Maybe you've heard about the PSAT/NMSQT test and maybe you haven't. For many high school sophomores and juniors out there, when you sit for the exam in October, you don't prepare in any way. You show up and take the test. But with PSAT scholarships on the line, that's a big mistake. Huge! Your PSAT score can earn you big bucks for college, and with rising tuition costs across the board, every single dollar you can add to your college savings account is going to help. Here's how to get a scholarship for your PSAT score that can put cash in your savings account for the university of your choice. 

Get Your Name on the Student Search Service List

After your guidance counselor registers you for the PSAT/NMSQT and you take the exam on your assigned PSAT test date, you'll have the option to select "Yes" under the "Student Search Service" heading when you're filling out information the PSAT test. This will allow more than 1,200 colleges, universities, scholarship programs, and educational organizations to get your information and contact you should you qualify for one of their scholarships. Some organizations who partner with the College Board, the makers of the PSAT test, are listed below.

I know that signing up seems like a double-edged sword. Great! My inbox will be filled emails from colleges.


Scholarships are out there and go unclaimed every year. There is money waiting for you. Why not deal with a little bit of email for the opportunity of some cash? Plus, you can opt out the the Student Search Service any time you want.

The National Merit Scholarship Program

One of the scholarships available to you via the Student Search Service is the National Merit Scholarship. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation uses the PSAT as an initial screening for this award. Hence, the PSAT is the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). It's a tough one to earn as you'll need to score in the upper 95th – 99th percentile on the PSAT to even be considered, but it's definitely available for those top scorers. This is why you'll prepare, right? Right. Here's more information about the National Merit Scholarship. 

Institutions Granting Scholarships Specifically for Minority Students

There are a ton of opportunities available when you sign up via the SSS on the PSAT, especially if you're a minority student. Please remember that "minority" students can mean a diverse range of ideas. Some of these organizations offer scholarships to minorities outside of race or ethnicity. For instance, young women, lgbtq students, and those with differing abilities can apply, as well. Before you dismiss one of these scholarships, do your research. You may actually be able to apply to many of these institutions granting scholarships based in part on your PSAT score. 

  • American Indian Graduate Center: This group offers scholarships for a whole range of things: financial need, high achievement in academics (ding, ding, ding! PSAT!), involvement in the community, involvement in a tribe, diversity, athleticism, creativity, a specific field (education, engineering, etc.), and a ton more.
  • Asian and Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund: This institution has partnered with a ton of different organizations and businesses like The Gates Foundation, AT&T, Coca-Cola, FedEx, and many more to give cash to minority students. Some of these are actually not specific for API students! Check to see if you apply!
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund: This group offers the Gates Millennium Scholarship and the HSF General Scholarship to students of Hispanic heritage. You could win between $500 and $5,000! 
  • Jack Kent Cooke FoundationIf you're a high-achieving student and want to attend an elite university, but don't have the funds, then this scholarship that partners with the College Board may be able to help. 
  • United Negro College Fund: Of all of the websites you should visit, this is one of the best, even if you do not identify yourself as an African American student. I searched for scholarships for Caucasian males with households earning $80-$100 K and a mid-range GPA and still found three scholarships for which this person could apply. Check it out!

Practice for the PSAT/NMSQT

It's not just a test. It's a means to an ends. It can help you earn the cash you need to attend school. Be smart and don't blow this one off!

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Your Citation
Roell, Kelly. "How to Get a Scholarship for Your PSAT Score." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Roell, Kelly. (2023, April 5). How to Get a Scholarship for Your PSAT Score. Retrieved from Roell, Kelly. "How to Get a Scholarship for Your PSAT Score." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 2, 2023).