Nine HSHS Students Recognized as National Merit Semifinalists

Rebecca Abbadi, staff writer


Seniors Collin Baker, Jacob Crell, Hannah Doherty, Alyson Faultless, Sawyer Hitchcork, Kristie Hsu, Alex Nelson, Mike Young and Chase Williams have been recognized as National Merit Semifinalists. 1.5 million students take the PSAT the fall of their junior year, but only 50 thousand of those are recognized.

After the semifinalist is selected, the student needs to complete the scholarship application and other requirements in order to move on to the finalist level. Some finalists are selected for the National Merit $2,500 scholarship and others receive corporate or college sponsored scholarships.

“Through this program, students have the opportunity to be recognized academically in our program and by colleges,” NMSC spokesperson said.

In January, about 1,300 semifinalists will be notified by mail if they qualified as finalists. High school principals are notified and provided with a certificate to present to each finalist. In order to become a finalist, the student must go through a number of steps. For example, he or she must have a record of consistent high academic performance in all grades 9 through 12. Also, one has to take the current SAT and earn scores that confirm the 2010 PSAT/NMSQT performance.

“With semifinalists, there is no money involved, so it does not impact them financially yet. But it is the first stage in possibly being an influence financially. Certainly it’s something that impacts them in a way that their name has a lot more recognition in universities throughout the United States,” guidance counselor Robert Cutter said.

Not only will colleges recognize their name, but some actually give scholarships to semifinalists as well such as the University of Alabama, who offers full ride tuition to National Merit Semifinalists. Hsu believes the recognition will impact her life financially.

“A semifinalist mans that there will be a lot more scholarship opportunities. I do not know where I am going, but I am basically going to apply to a lot of places for scholarships,” Hsu said.

Each year, about 3,100 National Merit Scholarship participants are brought to the attention of about 1,500 four-year colleges and universities in the United States. In late September, semifinalists’ names, high schools, and college majors are sent to education admission officials. While some see the recognition as a semifinalist as a monumental influence in their lives, others do not.

“So far it has not really changed anything at all. Indiana University asked me about it in my application, but that was pretty much it. I want to go to Northwestern University, and they sometimes give scholarships to semifinalists, so I will just see how it goes. If I win, it would be really cool because it would make paying for college way easier, senior Hannah Doherty said.


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