National Merit Semi-Finalists await finalist results


Principal Jason Urban chats with senior National Merit semi-finalist Brian Keng during the semi-finalist breakfast on Sept. 7. Photo by Mo Wood.

Mo Wood , Editor in Chief

While most people believe the PSAT is insignificant for college admission, the national merit semi-finalists would beg to differ.

Nine FHS seniors qualified as semi-finalists in the National Merit Scholarship. These seniors took the PSAT last year and achieved a minimum score of 217 in Indiana. National Merit takes an index score from the PSAT, adding together math, English and reading scores then doubling it to get the numbers. Those who qualified are the top one percent of students in the country. Around 16,000 students qualify annually, according to PrepScholar.

After they have qualified for the scholarship, students must submit an application by writing an essay, submitting their transcript and receiving teacher recommendations. From there, National Merit reviews the applications and in early winter the finalists will be released.

“Almost all of our students make finalist,” college and career counselor Linda Brown said. “There’s only been a few exceptions usually the students that don’t make finalist, their transcript isn’t as strong as they have demonstrated skills on the test.”

National Merit awards around 15,000 students with a scholarship for $2,500 towards the students freshman year. Colleges and corporations also offer scholarships through national merit, a four year renewable scholarship ranging from $500-$2,000 per year  from the sponsoring college or a $500-$10,000 four year renewable scholarship from a sponsoring corporation.

Students who missed these scores still have opportunities, additional scholarship information can be found here.

“Some students don’t test well, but they can be very strong students. They may be recognized for having good grades and strong GPAs, but maybe aren’t scoring high enough to meet the cut scores on these tests,” Brown said.