Nomination Process FAQ

2024 MSA Nominator Info Session

Here is the Powerpoint and Zoom recording of our 2024 nominator info session hosted by Doug Valentine. Feel free to utilize these resources in addition to the information provided bellow.

Who can submit a nomination?

Any school official can submit a nomination for a student. Primarily, this role tends to be guidance counselors, gifted teachers, principals, or regular classroom teachers. Nominators must have access to their nominee’s test information. We discourage parents and students from submitting nominations on their own behalf.

How many nominations does my school get?

School nomination allotment is based on school size or enrollment numbers as reported to DESE and on previous MSA nominations. Historically, smaller districts, with 1 high school, would have received nomination totals for that high school, and larger districts would have received allotments for their entire district rather than by school. Several years ago, MSA streamlined the process by breaking down nominations by high school rather than district. However, if your district wishes to continue to submit your nominations based on the total nominations of your district, you may do so. Please note that if the district decides to coordinate nominations, the total number cannot exceed the sum of the individual school totals.

We have a chart on the nomination process page of our website that you can view to determine the number of nominations your school can put forth for consideration. This chart is updated yearly.

How do I find my nomination allotment?

We have a chart that you can view to determine the number of nominations your school can put forth for consideration. This chart is updated yearly.

Can I ask for more nominations?

Yes. If you have a special case and would like an additional nomination, you may send your requests to All deadlines for nomination submissions still apply.

Can home schoolers nominate?

Absolutely! Home schoolers follow the same processes as school nominators. Obviously, we do NOT discourage parents from nominating in this case.

What pieces are required for a nomination?

Each nomination must have the following 4 components:

  • A standardized test score or I.Q. test score
  • A GPA 
  • Two (2) letters of recommendation
    • One must be from a teacher
  • Two (2) student written essays
    • Essays must be 250-350 words each. Please check that your student has put their name on their essays. (Ask us why we are asking you to check.)

These components, along with general contact information about the student, will all be submitted in a Qualtrics survey.

If you want to gather your student’s information and materials ahead of submitting your nomination, we have created a reference sheet containing all the information that is contained in the survey. You can download it from our website here.

If you have questions about using Slate, please follow this link: How to Nominate a Student

Are standardized test scores required?

MSA requires a standardized test score OR an IQ Test score for all nominations.

What standardized test scores do you accept?

We accept ACT, PreACT, SAT, PSAT, Aspire 2019, and Aspire 2018 test scores.

How do you determine your point assignments for standardized/IQ scores?

Scores are based off composite scores of the submitted test. We do not need to know your student’s score in each section, just the composite.

Are I.Q. test scores required?

MSA does not require an I.Q. test score for all nominations. Due to inequity in the cost of I.Q. tests and the ability of schools to cover said costs, I.Q. test scores are no longer required for nominations. Scholars will be scored based on four categories: GPA, standardized test score, letters of recommendation and student essays.

You may submit an I.Q. test score in the place of a standardized test score, but all nominations must have either a standardized test score or an I.Q. test score.

How do I determine my student’s GPA?

The student’s grade point average for three semesters for all courses must be based on a four-point scale as follows: A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1. There are no provisions for giving extra weight to “accelerated” or “honors” courses. Plus and minus grades should not to be counted in the computation. To have a standardized method for computing GPAs from schools throughout the state, all schools must use this method, regardless of what scale the school normally uses. Do not send transcripts.

What format do the student’s essays and letters of recommendation need to be in?

Each essay and letter of recommendation must be uploaded individually (4 total documents) and saved as “Last Name, First Name_ Document Type.” These files should be PDFs.

I have multiple students to nominate. What do I do?

You will submit one Slate survey (with the required components) for each student you wish to nominate. i.e: if you have 4 students to nominate, you will submit 4 separate Slate surveys.

When are nominations due?

Nominations are always due at the beginning of February. Nominations for the 2024 academy are due February 2, 2024 by 5pm.

Can I have a deadline extension?

To give schools as much time as possible to submit nominations, we operate on a very short and strict schedule for having nominations organized and evaluated after the deadline. There is very little room to offer extensions. However, we are always open to consider extensions for special circumstances. If you want to request an extension, you must email

What happens after I submit my nomination?

You should receive an email confirmation from Slate that your submission was received. That confirmation email will contain a copy of your submitted answers. If you do not receive a confirmation email, you can always email to inquire. Our office staff can verify if we received your nomination.

When will I hear the status of my student’s nomination?

Your student’s nomination will go through an organizing and evaluating process after the deadline. Students, parents, and nominators will all hear the status of their nomination in mid-March.

How can I support my student who has been accepted and invited to MSA?

There are many ways you can support your nominee!
Here are a few:

  • Remind them to check their personal email. All MSA communications are electronic, and we don’t want them to miss anything!
  • If a student is accepted, they will need to fill out two Qualtrics surveys:
    1. An acceptance survey
    2. A class preference and teacher appreciation day nomination survey. All our courses will be posted on our website. We also encourage scholars to nominate a teacher for MSA’s annual Teacher Appreciation Day. This is a special day during the academy that we invite teachers who have made an impact on our students to come and spend the evening with their scholar. Your student will have an opportunity to nominate a teacher before the academy begins.  Invitations to teachers for this event will go out in May before the Academy.

What is the fee for students to attend MSA?

The 2024 Academy is free for students to attend pending the final approval from the Missouri Governor!