By Sharon Aron Baron
Four Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students have made it to the list of semifinalists in the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. They are Serkan Aymaz, Piper Bourne, Arya Gujarathi, and Caleb Hebert.
These seniors are among the 16,000 selected nationwide, each vying for a slice of the nearly $28 million worth of National Merit Scholarships available in spring.
The journey doesn’t end here; these semifinalists must meet additional criteria to move on to the finalist stage. Historically, around 95% of semifinalists achieve finalist status, with roughly half of these finalists clinching a scholarship and the coveted title of National Merit Scholar.
Founded in 1955, The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is a non-profit organization overseeing this program. It collaborates with nearly 320 businesses and higher education institutions, pooling resources to celebrate and support the country’s top academic achievers.
To reach the stage of semifinalists, over 1.3 million juniors from approximately 21,000 high schools took the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). This represents the cream of the crop, with semifinalists constituting less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors.
To earn the title of finalist, these students and their respective schools will furnish comprehensive details of their academic achievements, leadership roles, community involvement, and other accolades. An outstanding high school academic record, an endorsement from a school official, a compelling essay, and SAT or ACT scores that match their PSAT/NMSQT performance are mandatory.
Three varieties of scholarships will be disbursed in 2024. These include 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships allocated on a state-representational basis, around 840 corporate-sponsored awards, and approximately 3,800 college-sponsored awards by about 160 higher education institutions.
The final 2024 National Merit Scholars list will be made public in a series of nationwide announcements from April to July, adding to the legacy of nearly 375,000 Merit Scholars.
- Sharon Aron Baron is a Parkland resident and editor of Talk Media. She has been covering Parkland news since 2012. Parkland Talk was created to provide News, Views, and Entertainment for the residents of Parkland.
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