5 months ago
Admissions Advice



I am a sophomore in high school. My school isn't giving me any updates on the PSAT. I don't even know if there were any high schoolers that even took the PSAT this year. I've asked multiple times and all of the counselors and my AVID teacher said to check back with them. So, my question is that, can I do the PSAT without my school, or do I have to do it in my junior year. My school isn't college-bound at all, most of the students most likely don't care. So basically all that I'm asking is there any way I can do the PSAT this year?

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5 months ago[edited]


In order to take the PSAT when your school isn't offering it, you need to find out what schools in your state are offering it. Here's a College Board search link:


Once you find out what school is offering it and the date, you can sign up for it with that school. But getting to and from that school will be your parents/guardians' responsibility. It usually takes place during the school day so you have to take a day off. If the test school is clear on the opposite side of your state, try finding one in a nearby state if is it closer.

The main purpose of the PSAT is to give Juniors the opportunity to compete for a Merit Scholarship Award. This isn't a big award amount like $2,500. But the real value is that some schools like USC give you a 1/2 Tuition scholarship if you are a PSAT Semi-finalist or Finalist. (I'm not sure of the details but there are a few very good colleges that reward you if you get a really high 99% score which usually is somewhere above 1450+ composite score out of 1520 maximum score.) Now there is a loophole to this, which is that if you take the real SAT prior to the official PSAT date for your Junior test, and score really high say 1500+ out of 1600, you can use that instead of your PSAT but you have to notify College Board that you are doing that. What I'm saying is that you don't have to take the PSAT, and skip it altogether if you just start grinding on the SAT and take the SAT before next fall, say over this summer. Why I think this is a better solution to your problem is because the PSAT is a 1 shot deal. But if you decide to focus on the SAT, you can say take it 2 to 3 times this summer. Check the college board, but I think there is a June, July, and August test. The Sept one may or may not count. If it is before your PSAT date, it will count.

When you apply to college, no one except those few schools will look at your PSAT / Merit Award and 99% of colleges will look at your SAT or ACT score so keep that in mind.

When I was a Sophomore like you, I decided to grind and study the SAT before I took the PSAT. I got high 1400s on my first attempt. By the time the PSAT was offered and given in my classroom, I actually did worse and got the high 1300s or something like that. I didn't make the Semi-finalist cut. It turns out that I never applied to USC or any of those schools that offered good financial aid to PSAT merit winners.

So don't stress too much on the PSAT, there is a work around if you choose not to take it okay. Good luck.


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