Observer staff report
Five Champlain Valley Union High students are among the approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. The seniors have an opportunity to compete for approximately 7,600 prestigious National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered next spring.
CVU semifinalists include Kaitlin R. Clark, Alec J. Collins, Matthew R. Goldsborough, Ingalise G. Kindstedt and Sean M. Yarolin.
Daniel J. Ro of Williston, an Essex High School student, is also a semi-finalist.
Other local semifinalists include Essex High students Nathaniel H. Brennan, Martin T. Deutsch, Vignesh P. Rajendran and Matthew T. Wu, Mount
Mansfield Union High students Madeline G. Besso, Nina A. Lam and David J. Shank and Vermont Commons School student Eli B. Hulse.
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, 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.
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 $2,500 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. 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.