Q: What does it mean to say that I’m a certified Acadium Scholar?

If you are an Acaduim Scholar, your PSAT score has met or exceeded a nationwide, single standard of achievement. This nationwide standard puts you in about the 98th percentile of PSAT takers.

Q: Why would I want to certify as an Acadium Scholar?

The Acadium Scholar certification allows you and others to compare your academic merit more accurately with students from all 50 states.  All students are assessed equally by the Acadium program regardless of the state in which they live.

In contrast, the National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist designation suggests that it uses a national standard, whereas in fact every state has its own cutoff. Therefore, NMS Semifinalists from one state have not necessarily achieved the same level of merit as Semifinalists from other states.

Q: How can I tell if I qualify as an Acadium Scholar?

You can enter your PSAT score into our widget, which will assess your score based on the year you took the test.

Q: Do I have to type in my real score?

A: When playing around with the widget, you can put in any score you’d like.  However, when certifying to be an Acadium Scholar you are legally bound to provide your real score from your PSAT score sheet. To certify, you MUST provide your real PSAT score.

Q: What does it mean when it says I’m a 17-state (or any other number) Acadium Scholar?

A: That means that you would have qualified as a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist in 17 states.  If you live in one of those states, you would be a Semifinalist.  If you don’t live in one of those states, you miss out.

You can still be an Acadium Scholar, though, because our certification depends only on your PSAT score, not on the state in which you live.  Read more here.

Q: Can I tell colleges and universities that I’m an Acadium Scholar?

Yes, you can describe yourself as an Acadium Scholar on your college applications as long as you have previously certified this on our site.  You’ll know you’ve completed legal registration when you get a certificate emailed to you.  Certify here.

Q: What does “We estimate that you would be a victim of the NMSC’s state cutoff discrimination” mean?

A: We’ve calculated what the fair national cutoff would be for National Merit Semifinalists.  So if your score is above that number but below your state’s cutoff, then you will not be a National Merit Semifinalist but would have been had there been a single national cutoff.  In other words, you were a victim of the system.

You might also have gotten the message “We estimate that you would be a beneficiary of the NMSC’s state cutoff discrimination.”  This means that you were a beneficiary of the system: you were above your state’s cutoff but not above our national cutoff.  Read more here.

Q: Are you associated with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation?

A: No.  We are not associated with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. NMSC does not endorse Acadium Scholar in any way.

Q: Where did the idea of offering an alternative to the National Merit Scholar designation come from?

A: Although the National Merit Scholarship program has been criticized for being biased, not many high school students are aware of this bias. They don’t realize that their PSAT scores may actually be meritorious if they are not a Semifinalist, and they aren’t aware that they should be proud of how well they’ve scored relative to all other PSAT takers in the USA. The Acadium Scholar certification is our effort to help fill the gap for students who deserve to have their merit recognized by a national program.

Q: Why do you allow certification using both sophomore and junior PSAT scores?

A: We’re letting sophomores use their scores to certify so that all the pressure isn’t on junior year.  There are also some students who may have scored significantly higher in their sophomore than their junior year.  Now those students can certify as an AS based on their higher score.

Q: How did you choose the name “Acadium Scholar”?

A: We chose Acadium Scholar because we wanted a name that highlighted academic merit (acad~) and also indicated the idea of a pinnacle or premium (~ium).  A similar term, Scholarium (which was used to describe a medieval college) just sounded silly (Scholarium Scholar?).


Acadium Scholar is not affiliated in any way with the National Merit Scholarship Corporation or the PSAT/NMSQT.

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