UHS Students Named National Merit SemifinalistsCreated on September 15th, 2014
(Evanston, Illinois) Today officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Two Urbandale High School students received the outstanding recognition of being named NMSC Semifinalists: Jerry Richards and Nate Torstenson.
These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 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 more than 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 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.
Steps in the 2015 Competition
About 1.4 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/MNQT®), 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 through- out 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. 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.
National Merit Scholarships
Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2015. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 240 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their speciﬁed criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or ofﬁces are located. In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to ﬁnance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2015 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 308,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.