Before our seniors head out on the next leg of their journey, we’d like to recognize the many students in the class of 2012 who received recognition in the National Merit scholarship program. They are:
National Merit Scholars
National Merit Finalists
National Merit Commended Students
National Hispanic Recognition Program Awardee
National Achievement Scholar
National Achievement Finalist
What do the designations mean?
In late September, more than two-thirds of the approximately 50,000 high scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT qualify as Commended Students in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. Although Commended Students do not continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships, some of these students do become candidates for Special Scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.
From the talent pool of more than 15,000 National Merit Finalists, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation selects 2,500 students to win $2,500 scholarships. These 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. They are selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors. The scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.
In early September, about one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, on a state representational basis, are identified as Semifinalists. They are the highest scoring entrants in each state. To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists must advance to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and all other requirements.
In February, some 15,000 Semifinalists advance to Finalist standing. The winners of Merit Scholarship awards are chosen from this group, based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments. A variety of information is available for NMSC selectors to evaluate: the Finalist's academic record, information about the school's curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, the high school official's written recommendation, information about the student's activities and leadership, and the Finalist's own essay.
Every year some 1,300 National Merit Program participants, who are outstanding but not Finalists, are awarded Special Scholarships provided by corporations and business organizations. To be considered for a Special Scholarship, students must meet the sponsor's criteria and entry requirements of the National Merit Scholarship Program and must submit detailed scholarship applications. A committee of NMSC professional staff evaluates information about candidates' abilities, skills, and accomplishments and chooses winners of the sponsor's Special Scholarships. These scholarships may either be renewable for four years of undergraduate study or one-time awards.
For more information about these awards, please visit the The National Merit Scholarship Corporation Website.