The College Board National Recognition Programs

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

Students who take the PSAT/NMSQT and are African American, 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 applications. Colleges use these honors to identify students from underrepresented groups who have excelled on their PSAT/NMSQT and in their classrooms.

The following organizations are serving as advisers for these programs:

Student Search

Students interested in National Recognition Programs are encouraged to 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. To be considered, students must:

  • Take the PSAT/NMSQT in October of their junior year.
  • Achieve the minimum requested PSAT/NMSQT scores (qualifying level may vary by state each year).
  • Earn a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher by the middle of their junior year.
  • Identify as African American, Hispanic or Latinx, Indigenous, and/or attend school in a rural area 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 who attend school in rural areas or small towns who are not permanent residents of the United States are still eligible if they attend a valid high school. Additional information about high school eligibility will soon be available.
  • Students must list their race and ethnicity as African American, Hispanic American, Latinx, Native American, Alaska Native, and/or Native Hawaiian on the PSAT/NMSQT 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 and must provide their federal or state tribal affiliation. A student’s school counselor must confirm their tribal affiliation using the Eligibility Verification Form. See below for more details.
  • Only junior year PSAT/NMSQT scores are considered for recognition. Students cannot qualify through the SAT or PSAT 10.
  • 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.

Application Timeline

  • October of junior year: Students take the PSAT/NMSQT and indicate their race and ethnicity on the answer sheet.
  • February–March of junior year: College Board invites eligible students to apply for recognition. Students apply online using the link provided.
  • April–June of junior year: Students work with a school counselor to submit the Eligibility Verification Form confirming their cumulative GPA. Students invited to apply for the Indigenous Recognition Program must also confirm their tribal affiliation using the same form.
  • July 1: Deadline for invited students to apply for National Recognition Programs. This deadline cannot be extended.
  • September of senior year: Students are notified via email that they have been granted recognition, and awards are sent to students’ high schools. A student must be enrolled as a senior to receive recognition.

Counselor Responsibilities

Students invited to apply for recognition must work with their school counselor to submit the Eligibility Verification Form confirming their cumulative GPA. If necessary, their counselor can submit an estimated GPA or wait until a student’s final GPA is available as long as the form is submitted by July 1. Students invited to apply for the Indigenous Recognition Program will also need to confirm their tribal affiliation as part of the Eligibility Verification Form. The Eligibility Verification Form will be sent to students as part of the National Recognition Programs online application.

Student Awards

Students awarded National Recognition will have an award letter mailed to their high school counselor or principal. They will receive a certificate and email notification in September of their senior year. 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 but did not indicate that they identify as African American, 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. Email the College Board National Recognition Programs for self-nomination instructions.

Contact Us About Recognition