We've received a lot of emails lately asking what the PSAT national merit scholarship semi-finalist cutoff score would be for California this year. The results are in. The semi-finalist cutoff is 223. This is an increase of +1 from last year.
This places California among the toughest states in the country to qualify as a national merit scholarship semi-finalist. Due to that fact that semi-finalists are chosen on a state-by-state basis, it is generally much more difficult to qualify as a semi-finalist in states with large populations. In such states, more students take the PSAT exam, which tends to mean more high-scoring students, which pushes up the cut-off scores for said states.
If you just missed the cutoff this year (one of our students was in tears yesterday with her PSAT score of 222), try not to worry too much. Any score in the neighborhood of 222 is an incredible achievement. You might have missed the distinction of being a national merit scholar, but on the other hand, we can state with an extremely high level of confidence that you will score very high on your official SAT or ACT exams. Those high scores will undoubtedly open many doors for you in the college admissions process. So whether or not you can add "national merit scholar" to your resume, your future is extremely bright!