National Merit Scholarship Corporation officials have announced the names of approximately 16,000 semiﬁnalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
Wood County has three semifinalists: Ethan Brown from Bowling Green High School, Lucas Pease from Eastwood High School and Sarah Valette from Perrysburg High School.
These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be oﬀered next spring. To be considered for an award, semiﬁnalists must fulﬁll several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. Over 90% of the semiﬁnalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship.
Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 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% 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 a high school oﬃcial 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 or ACT 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.