NORMAN — Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced Tuesday the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 58th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
These high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,300 National Merit scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.
About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2011 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 1 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.
NMSC, a nonprofit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 440 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.
To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.
To become a finalist, the semifinalist and their high school must submit a detailed scholarship application providing information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, and honors and awards received.
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 the designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from the group of finalists.