Ten JHS Students Named Nat’l Merit Semifinalists
(Evanston, Illinois) Today oﬃcials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of approximately 16,000 Semiﬁnalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be oﬀered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semiﬁnalists must fulﬁll several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. Over 90 percent of the Semiﬁnalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.
Ten Johnston High School seniors have achieved the semifinalist nomination. They are Erin Anderson, Matthew Ding, Madison Dunn, Anna Janni, Akshaya Kumar, Karson Lee, Jackie Liang, Paxson Picken, Taylor Siebert, and Stella Zeng. This is one of the largest groups of semifinalists the district has had in recent years.
NMSC, a not-for-proﬁt organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 speciﬁcally to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.
Steps in the 2020 Competition
Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semiﬁnalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semiﬁnalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
To become a Finalist, the Semiﬁnalist and a high school oﬃcial must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semiﬁnalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semiﬁnalist must have an outstanding academic record through- out high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school oﬃcial, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that conﬁrm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.
From the approximately 16,000 Semiﬁnalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notiﬁed of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.
National Merit Scholarships
Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be oﬀered in the spring of 2020. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their speciﬁed criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or oﬃces are located. In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to ﬁnance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2020 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 345,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.
National Merit, Merit Scholarship, Merit Scholar, and the corporate “Lamp of Learning” logo are federally registered service marks of National Merit Scholarship Corporation. PSAT/NMSQT is a registered trademark of National Merit Scholarship Corporation and College Board. SAT is a registered trademark of College Board. ACT is a registered trademark of ACT, Inc.