72,000 Students Earn Academic Honors from College Board

National Recognition Programs Help Underrepresented Students Celebrate Their Hard Work with Colleges

For students planning for life after high school, sharing their academic achievements is a chance to get recognized by colleges and programs that are actively looking for diverse talent. Students' unique strengths and achievements are what make their student profile come to life.

Each year, thousands of students presented with academic honors from College Board can easily showcase their hard work in high school. The National Recognition Programs are four programs that celebrate the strong academic performance of rural area, Black, Indigenous, and Latino students. Because of the success of the National Recognition Programs, a fifth program will be added this fall: the National First-Generation Recognition Program.

College Board is honoring 72,000 students nationwide who met the academic criteria and belonged to an underrepresented student group in the 2022-23 academic year. This was the first year that students could apply for the award on BigFuture®.  It has resulted in a 16% increase in the number of students awarded compared to the previous year. 

Students must meet these criteria to qualify: 

  • Have a GPA of 3.5 or higher. 
  • Earn PSAT/NMSQT® or PSAT™ 10 assessment scores that are within the top 10% of test takers in each state for each award program or earn a score of 3 or higher on 2 or more AP® Exams. 
  • Attend school in a rural area or small town, or identify as African American or Black, Hispanic or Latino, or Indigenous or Native.

The introduction of the National First-Generation Recognition Program this fall will give even more students who apply for the recognition award the chance to celebrate what they know and can do. To qualify as a first-generation student, the students’ parents may have some education but didn’t complete a bachelor’s degree. Applications for the First-Generation Recognition Program will open in December 2023. 

Elyse, a recipient of the National Rural and Small Town Recognition Program, stated: “I was hoping to show colleges that I’d worked hard and had taken each opportunity I had to learn, even if I was from a rural area without as many learning opportunities. It was also a simple process, so why not?”

Colleges, scholarship organizations, and other educational organizations are looking for ways to diversify their recruitment strategy and reach more underrepresented students. In order to achieve these goals, colleges and organizations using College Board’s Student Search Service™ can connect with students who have been recognized by the National Recognition Programs. 

It’s becoming increasingly hard for students to be ‘seen’ during the college recruitment process. We’re exceptionally proud of the National Recognition Programs for celebrating students who are at times overlooked but have shown their outstanding academic abilities. This is a benefit not only for students but also for colleges and universities committed to recruiting diverse and talented students.

Tarlin Ray, Senior Vice President, BigFuture

The National Recognition Programs are driving positive outcomes. Research shows that National Hispanic Recognition Program recipients are more likely to enroll at a four-year institution. National Hispanic Recognition Program eligibility also increases attendance at out-of-state colleges and at public flagship institutions.

“It was a pleasure to see that all of my hard work in high school paid off and was recognized by someone other than my family and counselors,” said Curtis, a recipient of the National African American Recognition Program. “It gave me a morale boost that carried into my freshman year at college and motivated me to work harder.”