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The National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSQT)  recognizes and rewards outstanding high school students for their exceptional performance on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Every year, thousands of students aspire to achieve the title of National Merit Semifinalist, a significant step toward earning valuable scholarships for their college education. In this blog post, we will delve into the National Merit Semifinalist cutoffs for the Class of 2024, helping students and parents understand the competition and how these cutoffs are determined.

What Is the National Merit Scholarship Program?

Before we dive into the specifics of the Class of 2024 cutoffs, let’s review the basics of the National Merit Scholarship Program. This program was established in 1955 and is conducted by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It serves as a means to identify and honor academically talented students across the country. Participants in the program have the opportunity to earn scholarships and gain recognition for their hard work and dedication to their studies.

How Are Semifinalists Chosen?

Becoming a National Merit Semifinalist is the first step toward potentially earning a National Merit Scholarship. Semifinalists are selected based on their scores on the PSAT/NMSQT, taken during their junior year of high school. Approximately 1.5 million students take this test each year, but only a small percentage achieve semifinalist status.

The Selection Process

Test Score: The PSAT/NMSQT has two sections: Reading & Writing and Math. Students receive a score between 160-760 for each section, and these scores are combined to create a Selection Index score by doubling the Reading & Writing score, adding that to the Math score, and dividing that sum by 10. The maximum Selection Index score is 228.

Each state has its own cutoff Selection Index score. These state cutoff scores vary because the number of semifinalists in each state is proportional to its total number of high school juniors. In states with a higher number of high-achieving students, the cutoff score is typically higher.

National Merit Semifinalist Cutoffs for the Class of 2024

The National Merit Semifinalist cutoff scores for the Class of 2024 were highly anticipated by students and parents alike. It’s important to note that these cutoff scores can vary from year to year, and they are influenced by the performance of the students taking the PSAT/NMSQT in that specific year.

For the Class of 2024, the National Merit Semifinalist cutoff scores by state are as follows:

State Class of 2024 Cutoff State Class of 2024 Cutoff
Alabama 210 Nebraska 210
Alaska 209 Nevada 211
Arizona 216 New Hampshire 215
Arkansas 210 New Jersey 223
California 221 New Mexico 207
Colorado 216 New York 220
Connecticut 221 North Carolina 217
Delaware 219 North Dakota 207
District of Columbia 223 Ohio 216
Florida 216 Oklahoma 208
Georgia 217 Oregon 216
Hawaii 217 Pennsylvania 219
Idaho 211 Rhode Island 215
Illinois 219 South Carolina 209
Indiana 216 South Dakota 209
Iowa 210 Tennessee 217
Kansas 214 Texas 219
Kentucky 211 Utah 209
Louisiana 214 Vermont 212
Maine 213 Virginia 219
Maryland 221 Washington 220
Massachusetts 222 West Virginia 207
Michigan 217 Wisconsin 213
Minnesota 216 Wyoming 207
Mississippi 209 US Territories 207
Missouri 214 Studying Abroad 223
Montana 209 Commended 207

Thanks to our friends at Compass Prep for maintaining a longstanding record of these cutoffs over the years!

Implications for Students

Students who achieve National Merit Semifinalist status have a great accomplishment to celebrate. They are recognized for their exceptional academic abilities and are eligible to apply for National Merit Scholarships. Becoming a finalist and ultimately winning a scholarship depends on completing an application and fulfilling additional requirements, including a strong academic record, a recommendation from their school, and a high SAT score. It’s important for semifinalists to stay on top of these requirements and deadlines.


The National Merit Scholarship Program is a prestigious competition that acknowledges and rewards outstanding high school students. Understanding the National Merit Semifinalist cutoff scores for the Class of 2024 is essential for students aiming to participate in the program. Achieving this status is a significant achievement, and it opens the door to valuable scholarships that can ease the financial burden of a college education. As cutoff scores can vary from year to year, it’s crucial for students to prepare diligently and strive for excellence on the PSAT/NMSQT. With dedication, hard work, and a little bit of luck, students can qualify for National Merit recognition and continue on a path toward academic success.