Number of Scholarship Semifinalists Almost Double

Tue, 09/22/2009 - 3:27pm
By: The Citizen

The number of semifinalists for the 2010 National Merit Scholarship Program has nearly doubled from last year.

A total of 13 seniors from Fayette County, McIntosh, Starr’s Mill and Whitewater high schools are among the approximately 16,000 semifinalists nationwide competing in the 55th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Last year seven Fayette students were semifinalists.

The 2010 semifinalists are (Fayette County High) Sonika Reddy; (McIntosh High) Lauren Anderson, Christopher Hrvoj, Nicholas Marette, Timothy Morris, Martine van Voorthuysen, Matthew Winn, Shawn Yavari; (Starr’s Mill High) George Hagler, Jessica Lambing, Kathryn McCord, Elliot Tanner; (Whitewater High) Patrick Loeffler.

These scholastically talented high school seniors have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,200 Merit Scholarship awards worth $35 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements and advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to become finalists, and approximately half of the finalists will be selected as Merit Scholarship winners.

More than 1.5 million juniors in nearly 22,000 U.S. high schools entered the 2010 National Merit Program by taking the 2008 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, which represents 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, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier qualifying test performance. The semifinalist and a school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student’s self-descriptive essay and information about the semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.

Merit scholarship winners of 2010 will be announced April-July.

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