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52 Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists

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Fifty-two Stevenson High School seniors have been named semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. They are among approximately 16,000 semifinalists nationwide who will compete for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million next spring.

Stevenson’s National Merit semifinalists are: Megana Adigal, Hannah Bae, Jacob Chan, Cheryl Chen, Emmeline Chung, Advait Deoskar, Allen Ding, Dylan Hu, Shrusti Jain, Emily Kang, Shannon Kang, Healey Kogan, Athena Kolli, Shreya Kurup, Amanda Lee, Janice Lee, Matthew Li, Allison Liu, Philena Liu, Richard Liu, Emily Lu, Kaitlyn Lu, Ellen Ma, Samhita Madduru, Lauren Malenfant, Kiran Mohan, Nitin Nadella, Sathwik Palwai, Radha Patel, Samuel Roytburd, Sohan Sarabu, Maddie Simon, Connie Song, Irina Stamm, Vivek Thatte, Patrick Tong, Joshua Tsai, Anand Vadlamani, Sowmya Venkatachalam, Anna Wang, Jasmine Wang, Richard Wang, Kevin Xiong, Celeste Xu, Christopher Yang, Rayann Yao, Richard Yin, Joie You, Erin Yuan, Sarah Zhou, Bridget Zhu and Andrew Zhuang.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. More than 90% of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title. 

The National Merit Scholarship Corp., a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions. 

Steps in the 2020 Competition 
More than 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. 

Finalists will be notified of their designation in February. 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 2020:

  • 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 220 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.
  • About 180 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 2020 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. The scholarship recipients will join more than 345,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.