The College Board National Recognition Programs

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The College Board National Recognition Programs create pathways to college for underrepresented students by awarding them academic honors and connecting them with universities across the country.

Students who take the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, or AP Exams and are African American or Black, Hispanic American or Latinx, Indigenous, or attend school in a rural area or small town, may be invited to apply for academic recognition as part of the College Board National Recognition Programs*.

Benefits

The College Board National Recognition Programs grant students academic honors that can be included on college and scholarship applications. Colleges use these honors to identify students from underrepresented groups who have excelled on their PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, or AP Exams and in their classrooms.

The following organizations are serving as advisers for these programs:

Student Search

Students interested in National Recognition Programs should sign up for the College Board Student Search Service®. This program connects students with universities and scholarship programs across the country. Universities and scholarship programs use Student Search to find students awarded recognition.

Eligibility

College Board will contact students deemed eligible for recognition. Here is a summary of the eligibility criteria used to determine our National Recognition recipients:

Juniors

  • Assessment Criteria—Students must meet one of the following requirements:
    • Take the PSAT 10 in the spring of their sophomore year and score in the top 10% by state
    • Take the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall of their junior year and score in the top 10% by state
    • Earn a score of 3 or higher on two or more AP exams by their junior year (9th and 10th grade AP scores are considered)
  • GPA Criteria: Students must have a 3.5 GPA or higher
  • Program Criteria: Students who identify as African American or Black, Hispanic American or Latinx, Indigenous, or attend school in a rural or small town

Sophomores

  • Assessment Criteria—Students must meet one of the following requirements:
    • Take the PSAT/NMSQT in the fall of their sophomore year and score in the top 10% by state
    • Earn a score of 3 or higher on two or more AP exams by their sophomore year (9th grade AP scores are considered)
  • GPA Criteria: Students must have a 3.5 GPA or higher
  • Program Criteria: Students who identify as African American or Black, Hispanic American or Latinx, Indigenous, or attend school in a rural or small town

Program Rules:

  • Students will be considered for the Rural and Small Town Recognition Program based on the location of their high school. Areas are considered rural and small town based on location data from the National Center for Education Statistics. International students are not eligible for the Rural and Small Town Recognition Program. Additional information about high school eligibility will soon be available.
  • Students must list their race and ethnicity as African American or Black, Hispanic American, Latinx, Native American, Alaska Native, and/or Native Hawaiian on the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, or AP answer sheet to be considered for the African American, Hispanic, and Indigenous Recognition Programs.
  • Students considered for the African American Recognition Program must identify as Black or African American (including African and Afro-Caribbean origin) and be permanent residents of the United States or a United States Territory. Students currently attending school abroad are still eligible.
  • Students considered for the Hispanic Recognition Program must identify as Hispanic or Latinx and be permanent residents of the United States or a United States territory. Students currently attending school abroad are still eligible.
  • Students considered for the Indigenous Recognition Program must identify as Alaska Native, Native American, or Native Hawaiian.
  • Once contacted by College Board, students must submit an official high school transcript to confirm their eligibility for the recognition programs.
  • This is NOT a scholarship program. Students will receive academic honors that can be included in college and scholarship applications. Students will also receive outreach from colleges that may include special recognition or scholarship information.
  • Students can qualify for multiple recognition programs depending on the intersection of their identities.
  • Students must be permanent residents of the U.S. or a U.S. territory to qualify for the recognition programs, but U.S. citizenship is not required.

Program Timeline

Juniors

  • Assessment—Students must complete one of the following assessment steps:
    • Spring of sophomore year: Students take the PSAT 10 and indicate their race and ethnicity on the answer sheet.
    • May of sophomore year: Students take two or more AP exams and indicate their race and ethnicity on the answer sheet.
    • October of junior year: Students take the PSAT/NMSQT and indicate their race and ethnicity on the answer sheet.
  • Notification
    • April 16: College Board invites eligible students to apply for recognition. Students apply online using the link provided.
    • May 28: Deadline for invited students to apply for National Recognition Programs. An exact date will be shared soon. Once the deadline is set, it cannot be extended.

Sophomores

  • Assessment— Students must complete one of the following assessment steps:
    • May of freshman or sophomore year: Students take two or more AP exams and indicate their race and ethnicity on the answer sheet.
    • October of sophomore year: Students take the PSAT/NMSQT and indicate their race and ethnicity on the answer sheet.
  • Notification
    • April 16: College Board invites eligible students to apply for recognition. Students apply online using the link provided.
    • May 28: Deadline for invited students to apply for National Recognition Programs. An exact date will be shared soon. Once the deadline is set, it cannot be extended.

Note: Students are awarded recognition in either their junior or senior year. If a student is recognized in the fall of their junior year, they will remain a member of the National Recognition Program through their senior year.

Counselor Responsibilities

Counselors are no longer required to complete the Eligibility Verification Form confirming student GPA for invited students. Students will still be required to submit an official transcript and GPA will be reviewed as part of the selection process.

Program Communications

All program communications, including student awards and school contact notifications, will be sent via email. Recognized students will receive awards in time to include them in their college and scholarship applications.

*The College Board National Recognition Programs are neither affiliated with nor endorsed by National Merit Scholarship Corporation or the National Merit Scholarship Program®.

Self-Nomination Instructions

Students who took the PSAT/NMSQT, PSAT 10, or AP Exams but did not indicate that they identify as African American or Black, Hispanic American, Latinx, or Indigenous on the answer sheet or have since moved and now live in a rural area or small town, can still be considered for recognition.

Questions?

If you have questions about eligibility, timeline, or the self-nomination process, please contact our customer service team.