National Achievement Scholarship Program
Established in 1964, the National Achievement Scholarship program provides Black American students the chance to be recognized for their outstanding academic achievement. These student can compete in both National Merit and National Achievement and receive recognition and honored as a scholar but can only receive one monetary award.
Like the National Merit program, students wishing to compete in the National Achievement program must take the Preliminary SAT (PSAT/NSMQ) test and meet various other requirements.
The National Achievement program has four levels of recognition including,outstanding participant, semifinalist, finalist and scholar.
More than 3,000 students receive the "Outstanding Participant" award each year. Students awarded are referred by the National Achievement program to all the colleges and universities in the United States. The students are given a certificate in order to recognize their academic achievement. Throughout the years, the title of this recognition as changed from commended student, referred student and finally outstanding participant. All titles have the same recognition and meaning.
Semifinalist's are the highest-scoring participants in their state as well as region. These students are eligible to advance to the finalist level. This is the only way a participant can be eligible for a National Achievement Scholarship. Semifinalist must apply to be reviewed for the finalist level.
After the National Achievement selectors review all the applicants. About 1,3000 participants are chosen to be finalists.
Achievement Scholarship Designees are chosen from the finalist group. The selectors base their decisions by the student's abilities, skills and accomplishments. Students can receive either the National Achievement Scholarship or the Corporate-sponsored Achievement Scholarship awards.