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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I visit OU?

The best way to decide which school you would like to attend is to visit the campus. We encourage you to visit the schools you are considering to narrow down your college choice. Visiting OU's campus will give you a better understanding of OU - don't just take our word that OU is a great place, come and see for yourself!

When is a good time to visit OU's campus?

The best time to visit is any weekday during our academic year. We can arrange visits at other times (such as during the summer), but we encourage you to visit during the school week. This will give you a better feel for the campus, allow you to see the activity while students are around, and allow you to meet with professors in your academic interest.

How do I arrange a visit?

You can call (325-1290, 1-877-506-7353) or e-mail (natlscholars@ou.edu) us to arrange your visit. It is best to let us know a week in advance of what weekday you would like to visit so that we can arrange all of your desired appointments.

What can I do on my visit?

On a typical visit, students will take a campus tour, sit down with one of the directors of National Scholars Programs Office to discuss OU's National Merit financial package and other opportunities at OU, visit with a professor or adviser in their intended field of study, visit with a director of the Honors College, learn about what OU has to offer in areas of interest in extra-curricular activities such as Jazz Band or the marching band and go to lunch at the cafeteria (we promise it is good food, so do not worry, and it is important to sample the food you have to eat for a year).The visit is tailored to your specific interests.

Does OU pay for travel?

While we cannot pay for your travel, if you are a National Merit Semifinalist, we would be happy to pay for one night's lodging of one room when you come to visit campus - just let us know if you need us to make this arrangement.

Can I visit my junior year?

Certainly! We would enjoy meeting with you and walking you through the remainder of the National Merit process. We would also be happy to speak with you about your potential of advancing to Semifinalist or Finalist standing in the competition. Do not let this be your only visit to campus. Come back again during your senior year!

How do I get to OU?

The closest airport to campus is the Will Rogers World Airport. It is about a 30 minute drive from campus. There is a shuttle service available to campus from Airport Express (www.airportexpressokc.com) for $38 (one passenger, $3 for each additional passenger) one-way and rental cars are also available.

How do I receive the National Merit Scholarship from OU?

To receive the National Merit Scholarship from OU, you must advance to Finalist standing in the National Merit competition (see National Merit Process) and name OU as your college choice in writing with National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) by April 24, 2012. Also, see National Merit's website: www.nationalmerit.org.

Why is a portion of the scholarship for five years?

We certainly do not believe that it will take you more than four years to graduate, but there are many opportunities available to a National Merit student at OU. Many students will study abroad, double major or will use their scholarship toward graduate school at OU. The five-year tuition waiver will allow you to take advantage of such opportunities.

How many National Merit students will OU sponsor?

OU sponsors every National Merit Finalist who names OU as their college choice by April 24, 2012.

Is there an application to receive OU's National Merit scholarship?

No, there is not an application for the National Merit Scholarship from OU. As long as you are named a Finalist and name OU as your college choice by April 24, 2012, you are guaranteed OU's National Merit scholarship package. However, a student will need to apply for admission and be admitted to OU. The application deadline to OU is April 1.

Do I have to fill out the FAFSA? (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)

You are not required to complete the FAFSA to receive OU's National Merit Scholarship, but doing so can help to qualify you for additional funding based on your financial need.

Do I have to complete the Scholarship Information Section in the application to OU?

Yes, you must complete this portion to submit the application to OU. However, it is not required for OU's National Merit scholarship package, but we encourage you to complete the Scholarship Information Section. You may qualify for additional scholarships through this application. The deadline to be considered for additional scholarships is February 1.

How do I find out about other scholarships available to incoming freshmen?

The best way to find out more about additional scholarships available to incoming freshmen is through the following website: scholarships.ou.edu. This site will allow you to search for scholarships based on your academic interest and provides links to other online scholarship searches. Also for scholarships other than from OU, check with your high school counselor for scholarships within you high school, city and state. Check with local businesses and organizations within you city and visit national scholarship websites like fastweb.com.

Can my OU National Merit scholarship package apply towards self-supporting OU-related programs such as distance learning courses, correspondence courses, independent study, OSLEP and non-reciprocal study abroad programs?

The OU National Merit scholarship will not apply towards these self-supporting OU-related programs.

How do I qualify to become a National Merit Scholar?

The first step in the process is to take the PSAT your junior year in high school. NMSC will look at your Selection Index Score on the PSAT to determine if you fall in the top one-half of one percent of students in your state. There is more detailed information about this process at the NMSC website.

I took the PSAT and scored well on it, now what?

If you are in the top one-half of one percent of students who took the PSAT in your state you will be named a National Merit Semifinalist. You will learn of your Semifinalist standing in early to mid September of you senior year in high school. NMSC will then notify your high school and provide them with application materials for the next stage in the process - becoming a National Merit Finalist.

Who becomes a Finalist in the National Merit competition?

NMSC requires you to do the following things to advance to Finalist standing:

  • Be recommended for a Merit Scholarship award by your high school principal (or school official designated by the principal)
  • Have a record of consistently high academic performance in all of grades 9 through 12 and in any college coursework taken
  • Complete the Merit Scholarship Application and submit it to NMSC by Oct. 12, 2011
  • Take the national SAT reasoning test and earn scores that "confirm your PSAT performance." It is your responsibility to file a request with the College Board SAT Program to have an official report of your SAT score sent to NMSC. You have through the Dec. 3, 2011 national test date to submit an SAT score

When will I find out that I have advanced to Finalist standing?

You will be notified in early February at your home address if you have advanced to Finalist standing.

What is 'college choice' and why is it important?

College choice is the school that you designate with NMSC as the school that you plan to attend. It is important because the school that you have designated is the only school that can give you the College-sponsored Award.

How do I change my college choice?

You can change your college choice in writing with NMSC as many times as you would like between when you send your Merit Scholarship Application in to NMSC and the NMSC April 24, 2012 deadline to name a college choice. We have provided a form which you can fax to NMSC which will allow you to change your college choice to OU. It is available here: Change of College Choice (pdf download). We encourage you to fax this to NMSC and to contact them a few days after changing your college choice to be sure it was received and that the correct institution is listed for you.

What is the NMSC deadline to name my college choice?

As you are looking at the NMSC deadlines, you may notice a "priority" deadline of March 1, 2012 as well as the April 24, 2012 deadline and a deadline of May 31, 2012. If you have reported a college choice before March 1, that school will be notified soon after that date. If you have a college designated, the last day you can change your college choice with NMSC is April 24. If you have not made a college choice selection and are designated as "undecided" prior to/and on April 24, you have until May 31 to make that decision. To make matters more confusing, some universities may create their own deadlines which they use for you to name them as your college choice. Make sure to check with other schools you are considering. At the University of Oklahoma, our deadline to name OU as your college choice with NMSC is the same as the NMSC deadline: April 24, 2012.

What is OU's deadline for naming them as my college choice?

Our deadline is the same as the NMSC deadline, April 24, 2012. The exception to this would be if you have "undecided" as your college choice prior to/and on April 24, 2012. If this is applicable to you, you have until May 31, 2012 to make your decision.

What are the three types of awards NMSC coordinates?

Scholars receive one of the three types of awards which are centrally coordinated by NMSC. The first type of award is the National Award - a $2,500 scholarship, which is funded directly by NMSC. This award is portable, meaning that you can take it to any institution of your choice. The second type of award is the Corporate-sponsored Award, which is generally awarded to students who are sons/daughters of parents who work for a corporation that sponsors. This award is also portable. (Refer to your original information packet from NMSC for a list of corporations which sponsor.) The final type of award is the College-sponsored Award, which comes from the college that you designate as your college choice, provided that the college sponsors National Merit Finalists. Note that you will only be offered one of these awards, even if you qualify for all. You should accept the one award that is offered to you.

Why are there so many "National Merit Finalists" but not as many "National Merit Scholars?"

Students are not guaranteed they will receive a scholarship coordinated by NMSC. If a student chooses to attend a university which does not sponsor or who selectively sponsors and does not receive the National Award or Corporate-sponsored Award, they would remain a Finalist.

How do I apply to OU?

Click here to apply or you can click the "Apply Online" link at the top left of this page.

Will OU waive my admission application fee?

We do not have a fee-waiver program for National Merit students. However, the Office of Admissions will provide an admission application fee waiver on a case-by-case for financial need. Please notify our office if this applies to you so we may assist you in the process.

How do I apply for Housing?

Since all freshmen are required to live on campus, you can submit the Housing application online at housing.ou.edu.

When can I submit my Housing Contract?

Once you have been admitted to OU, have completed the Housing Application and have paid the $30 Housing Fee, you can complete the Housing Contract online at housing.ou.edu. While housing is guaranteed to all freshman at OU, your preference for housing is on a first-come, first-served basis. The earlier you complete your online Housing Contract the better your chances of receiving the residence hall option you most want. Applying for admission to OU early and submitting your Enrollment Commitment will help ensure that you receive your first choice in housing. For roommate preference priority consideration will be given to students who submit their mutual roommate request on the Housing contract by May 1. Room assignments are mailed from Housing & Food Services in the month of June.

Is special housing available for National Merit Scholars at OU?

Yes. There is a floor in Walker Center set aside for National Merit Scholars. In addition, Scholars may choose to live in the Honors College residence halls as part of the Academic Arts Community or on a Scholastic floor in Adams, Couch or Walker Center. A student may live any other place on campus where he/she would like to live. Applying for admission and housing to OU, completing the online Housing Contract and submitting your Enrollment Commitment early will help ensure you receive your first choice in housing.

When should I submit my Enrollment Commitment?

You should submit your Enrollment Commitment once you apply to OU. Early submission of the Enrollment Commitment not only secures your place for enrolling at OU, but will also secure your housing assignment priority status. If you pay the Enrollment Commitment and then decide not to attend OU, your payment is completely refundable if you let the Office of the Bursar know in writing by May 1, 2012. Also, you may request to have your Enrollment Commitment deferred until the fall. To learn about how to pay or defer this payment, please visit the Enrollment Commitment section. The deadline for the Enrollment Commitment is May 1, 2012.

How do I apply to the Honors College?

You must complete a separate application to be admitted to the Honors College. You are not required to be part of the Honors College to receive OU's National Merit scholarship. The vast majority of National Merit Scholars at OU choose to apply to the Honors College because of the additional opportunities offered. Class sizes are limited to 19 students or fewer and students have opportunities to do research as undergraduates. Fulfilling the requirements of the Honors College is the only way for a student to graduate cum laude, magna cum laude or summa cum laude upon graduation. You can apply to the Honors College online and find out more information at the Honors College website.

Is OU's National Merit scholarship a full-ride?

While OU's National Merit scholarship is a wonderful financial package, it will not cover all expenses. However, if you receive outside scholarships, those cash awards will reduce your out-of-pocket expense. We will allow you to "stack" cash awards or federal financial aid that you receive in addition to our National Merit scholarship package.

How much out-of-pocket expense (and with no additional scholarships/funding) can I expect to pay while attending OU with the National Merit scholarship package?

If this is the only financial assistance you receive, your estimated out-of-pocket expense is between $7,000 to $8,000 per year as an Oklahoma resident or between $8,500 to $9,500 per year as a non-resident.

Why is the cost of tuition listed as an "estimated value" on OU's National Merit scholarship package?

There are a few reasons this value is an estimate. Our tuition is charged per-credit-hour and we do not know how many hours you will take each semester at OU. In addition if funds remain after the completion of a BA/BS, you may choose to use this money toward OU graduate school, which would make it worth more than our estimate. Finally, tuition costs may increase yearly. We waive 100 percent of your resident tuition (if you are a resident) or 100 percent of your non-resident tuition (if you are a non-resident). The value of the tuition wavier will be adjusted accordingly.

Will I lose this scholarship if I graduate in three years?

If you choose to go on to graduate program at OU, you may use what remains of your scholarship toward those expenses. (Except for your National Merit Cash Stipend. It is a four-year award or until completion of a bachelor's degree; whichever comes first.) If you do not plan to attend post-graduate school at OU, you forfeit the remainder of your scholarship.

Can I use my scholarship towards graduate school?

Yes. As long as you enroll in a graduate program at OU, what remains of your scholarship can be used toward further schooling. (Except for your National Merit Cash Stipend. It is a four-year award or until completion of a bachelor's degree; whichever comes first.)

Can I use my scholarship to study abroad while I am at OU?

Yes. Since our exchange agreements with other schools are reciprocal, your scholarship will apply just as it would if you were on campus, including your tuition waiver as long as you are full-time enrolled. Any funds not used will be refunded to you for your use while abroad.

I will not be coming directly to OU from high school; will I be able to receive my scholarship?

Often students will spend a year studying abroad, will go on a mission trip, will participate in a co-op program or be on medical leave before coming to OU. If you choose to do this and fill out the appropriate paperwork, we will ensure that you do not lose your scholarship from OU when you enroll. You may not enroll at another institution and earn college credit during the time you are not enrolled at OU. Please inform us as soon as you know if this applies to you.

Does OU give credit for AP tests?

If you have scored a three or higher on most AP tests, you will receive credit at OU. If you would like to see a breakdown of those scores and the credit you can receive from them, please visit the following website: AP Credit Breakdown

What about CLEP tests or IB courses, will I receive credit for those?

In order to see the type of credit you can receive at OU, please visit the following website for CLEP tests: CLEP Credit Breakdown, and IB Credit Breakdown for IB courses.

Can the National Merit scholarship be transferred to another university?

If you receive the College-sponsored Award, the award may not be transferred. The Corporate-sponsored Award may be taken to another university, but this would be the only portion of the scholarship which is transferable.

What other benefits does OU offer National Merit Scholars?

The National Scholars Programs office is dedicated to your success both in the time leading up to your college decision and while you are at the University of Oklahoma. We are here to answer questions, help you with concerns and assist you to make your experience here at OU the best it can be. Please do not hesitate to contact us. In addition, a National Merit Scholar at OU has the opportunity to take advantage of early enrollment privileges. After your first semester, you will be able to enroll before graduate students and seniors on campus, giving you a better opportunity to take the courses you want, at the times you want and with the professors you want.

What if I still cannot find an answer to my question?

Please contact us at (405) 325-1290, 877-506-7353 (toll-free), or e-mail us at natlscholars@ou.edu. We are happy to answer any additional questions you may have or assist you in any way.