National Merit® $2500 Scholarship Winners
SHS seniors Abigail Gandrud and Naomi Raicu were recently selected as winners in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program, each receiving a $2500 scholarship. They, along with 2,500 other students, were chosen out of over 1.5 million juniors in approximately 21,000 high schools who entered the contest, and out of a talent pool of more than 15,000 Finalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program of the National Merit $2,500 Scholarship.
National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.
These Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the Finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®); contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the Finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.
NMSC’s own funds support the majority of the National Merit $2500 Scholarships, but corporate sponsors help underwrite these awards with grants. Scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.
College-Sponsored Merit Scholarship Winner
SHS senior Julia Appel was among more than 3,300 students recently announced as a winner of a National Merit Scholarship financed by U.S. colleges and universities.
Julia who will attend Tufts University next year and hopes to study International Relations, was selected among other Finalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend Tufts University and her award provides between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at Tufts.
This year, 167 higher education institutions are underwriting Merit Scholarship awards through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Sponsor colleges and universities include 92 private and 75 public institutions located in 43 states and the District of Columbia.
College-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners announced are a part of the distinguished group of about 7,600 high school seniors who will receive National Merit Scholarships for college undergraduate study worth over $30 million. Earlier this spring, NMSC announced winners of corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards and National Merit $2500 Scholarships.
2020 National Merit Scholarship Competition
Over 1.5 million juniors in approximately 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, approximately 16,000 Semifinalists were named on a state-representational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.
To compete for Merit Scholarship awards, Semifinalists first had to advance to the Finalist level of the competition by fulfilling additional requirements. Each Semifinalist was asked to submit a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirmed the qualifying test performance. From the Semifinalist group, some 15,000 met requirements for Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will be Merit Scholarship winners in 2020.
NMSC, a not-for-profit corporation that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 to conduct the National Merit Scholarship Program. The majority of National Merit Scholarships provided each year are made possible by the support of approximately 400 independent corporate and college sponsors. These sponsors join NMSC in its efforts to enhance educational opportunities for America’s scholastically talented youth and to encourage the pursuit of academic excellence.
To learn more about the National Merit Scholarships Program, visit the NMSC website.