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Why Take the College Board PSAT?

The College Board PSAT is getting to be a more popular test these days, and many schools encourage their sophomore students to take the test. If you’re just a sophomore, though, why even start thinking about the SAT by taking the PSAT? There are actually lots of really good reasons to take the PSAT and to try to do your absolute best on it. Here’s what you need to know:

The PSAT Helps Prepare You for the SAT

As a sophomore, it’s actually time to start thinking about how you’ll do on your SATs or ACTs because it’s almost time to apply for colleges! In just a year or so, you’ll need to take your SAT to get ready to put in college applications, and this can be a huge part of your application for admissions. Taking the PSAT is a lot like taking the SAT, so you can get an idea of what it’s going to be like.

Plus, College Board PSAT scores are very indicative of how you’ll do on the actual SAT when the time comes. They won’t test you on the higher levels of math that you haven’t learned yet, but most of the information you need for the SAT has already been presented in your high school classes by the end of your sophomore year. When you get your scores back from the PSAT, you’ll be ranked and compared with other students your age, so you’ll be able to see how you might measure up when it comes to college competition.

With admissions for colleges becoming ever more competitive and college becoming even more expensive, taking the College Board PSAT can be a good way to prepare yourself to get into the school of your choice and to be eligible for more scholarships. There are a few scholarships based on the PSAT score, but most of them will be based on your later SAT scores. By taking the PSAT, you can see where there are gaps in your knowledge so you can fill them in before you take that crucial SAT and start applying for colleges and scholarships.

The College Board PSAT Qualifies You for the National Merit Scholarship

The National Merit Scholarship is an excellent way to get in on merit-based scholarships that don’t have anything to do with financial need. For middle-class families who fall between the cracks on many financial aid opportunities, this is a huge opportunity.

The National Merit Scholarship will automatically receive your scores from the College Board PSAT, and from there, you’ll be ranked according to your scores. From there, you may be chosen to represent your state as a National Merit Semifinalist or Finalist. Either of these designations can earn you scholarships straight from the National Merit Scholarship (one-time $2,500 scholarships), from certain corporate sponsors, or from schools themselves.

Students who are semifinalists or finalists for the National Merit Scholarships are already showing great academic promise at a young age, and this is a great way to qualify for better college scholarships and offers when you start applying to schools later on.

If you aren’t sure how to qualify for a National Merit Scholarship, talk to your high school guidance counselor about this and about taking the College Board PSAT.

Get Information from Colleges

If you want to start your college search early, you can check “yes” on the Student Search Service box on the College Board PSAT. These colleges may receive your PSAT scores, and they might start contacting you with information about their student programs and available majors. Beware that the mail from potential colleges can get a little overwhelming, but it can also be helpful by letting you in on information from schools you may have never heard about before.

By taking the PSAT and checking that box, you might find the college of your dreams and then qualify for a National Merit Scholarship that will make it much more affordable for you and your family!

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