2020 U.S. Bates Scholarship FAQs

Are grandchildren of active U.S. members eligible to apply for the Bates scholarship?

No, only children and stepchildren of active U.S. members are eligible for the Bates scholarship. 

My son or daughter is a senior in high school. Can he/she apply for the scholarship?

No, students must be in their junior year of high school to apply – there are no exceptions. The selection process takes approximately one year to complete, so winners are chosen in March of their senior year of high school. The scholarship is awarded the following fall, during the recipient’s freshman year of college. 

My son or daughter is a junior in high school but didn’t take the PSAT exam in the fall of his/her junior year. Can he/she still apply for the scholarship?

If a student did not take the 2018 PSAT/NMSQT because of illness, an emergency, or other extenuating circumstance (but meets all other participation requirements), he/she may still be able to enter the 2019 competition. 

To request information about possible arrangements for alternate testing, write directly to NMSC as soon as possible after the 2017 PSAT/NMSQT administration but no later than April 1, 2019. Do not delay; the earlier you write, the more options your child will have scheduling test dates. Requests for alternate testing instructions may be sent by:

Fax:       (847) 866-5113, Attn: Scholarship Administration 

E-mail:   scholarshipadmin@nmerit.net

Mail:      National Merit Scholarship Corporation

              Attn: Scholarship Administration

              1560 Sherman Avenue, Suite 200

              Evanston, IL 60201-4897

Your fax or e-mail must be received or your letter postmarked on or before April 1, 2019, for your request to be considered.

My son or daughter took the PSAT exam in his or her freshman or sophomore year of high school, but not in his/her junior year. Can he/she still apply?

Only the 2018 PSAT exam is the qualifying test for entry into the U.S. Bates Scholarship competition; scores from a previous year’s exam will not be accepted. Per the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the administrator of the Bates Scholarship, students who plan to spend four years in high school (grades 9 through 12) before entering college full time must take the PSAT/NMSQT in their third year (grade 11, junior year).

Although some schools encourage their sophomores to take the PSAT/NMSQT for guidance purposes, these students must take the test again when they are juniors to enter the National Merit Scholarship Program if they are spending the usual four years of study in grades 9 through 12.

My son or daughter is a junior in high school but took the SAT in his/her junior year rather than the PSAT exam. Can he/she still apply for the scholarship?

Yes, please follow the instructions in # 3 to submit a request for alternative arrangements directly to NMSC. NMSC will send a form to the student's high school; if the school administrator signs off, NMSC will convert the SAT score into the equivalent of the PSAT score.

My son or daughter is a junior in high school but took the ACT exam rather than the PSAT exam. Can he/she still apply for the scholarship? 

No, the student must take either the PSAT exam in his/her junior year of high school, or the SAT exam (if the student took the SAT exam only, you must write to NMSC directly for alternative arrangements; see #3). ACT scores cannot be converted into PSAT scores. 

How are the winners selected? 

All Harry C. Bates Scholarship winners in 2019 will be chosen from a group of candidates who:

  1. score high on the 2018 PSAT/NMSQT and 
  2. are notified by NMSC in the fall of 2019 that they may receive further consideration for a scholarship by meeting several academic and other requirements set by NMSC. Scholarship winners will be chosen on a competitive basis and without regard to family financial circumstances, gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. An NMSC committee of professionals will choose the winners by evaluating: 
  • Academic record throughout high school
  • Significant activities and contributions to the school and community
  • Test scores
  • The school's recommendation of the candidate
  • The student's essay about personal characteristics, activities, plans, and goals 

When will we know the winners? 

In most cases, winners will be notified by NMSC in March of 2020. 

My question is not here. What do I do? 

Contact the BAC Education Department at 202-383-3887 or askbac@bacweb.org