National Merit Scholarship Corporation Announces Semifinalists

National Merit Scholarship Corporation Announces Semifinalists
Posted on 09/16/2018
National Merit Scholarship ASD Students

Two students from the Academy for Science and Design (ASD) named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists and six students named as National Merit Commended students


Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 64th annual National Merit Scholarship Program on September 12, 2018. ASD is proud to announce that two members of the class of 2019 have been named semifinalists, Ian Coolidge (Hollis) and Christopher Couto (Londonderry)

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring. 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 about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 420 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.

About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2017 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 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, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

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 this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists.

ASD also applauds senior students Olivia Bennett (Amherst), Nicholas Couto (Londonderry), Evan Loconto (Amherst), Laurel Nelson (Nashua), Wesley Newsam (Wilton) and Nathan Yeung (Nashua) for their achievement of being named National Merit Commended students. To receive this status, these students were among the top two-thirds of the highest scorers on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, and have been recognized with this honor for their outstanding academic promise.

“These eight young adults are ready to take on higher education with a sense of curiosity, passion, creativity and tremendous work ethic,” ASD's Assistant Director Jessica Golden said in a statement. “Our ASD family is incredibly proud of these students and we have the highest hopes for their futures as STEM innovators, leaders and compassionate members of a global society.”

Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

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