Semifinalists named in 2001 Merit Scholarship competition

Semifinalists named in 2001 Merit Scholarship competition Rhiannon Chandler, Tim Goodman and Leland Smith, students at Vermillion High School, are among approximately 16,000 semifinalists nationwide in the 46th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

These three seniors now have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,900 Merit Scholarship awards, worth over $31 million, that will be offered next spring.

NMSC, a privately funded not-for-profit corporation, was established in 1955 to conduct the annual merit scholar-

ship competition. Scholarships awarded through the merit program are underwritten by about 600 independent sponsor organizations and institutions, as well as with NMSC's own funds. These sponsors join NMSC in honoring scholastically able young men and women and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

More than 1.2 million students in over 20,000 high schools entered the 2001 merit program when they were juniors by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

Fewer than 1 percent of the nation's high school seniors were named semifinalists. The semifinalist talent pool is designated on a state representational basis, and the number of semifinalists in each state is proportional to its percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

The next step for the semifinalists is to fulfill requirements to advance to the finalist standing, a prerequisite to consideration for a merit scholarship award. To become finalists, semifinalists must have an outstanding high school academic record, be endorsed and recommended by their school principal, and submit SAT scores that confirm their earlier qualifying test performance.

Each semifinalist and a school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which also includes the student's self-descriptive essay, and information about the semifinalists participation and leadership in school and community activities.

Three types of merit scholarship awards will be offered in 2001 Every finalist will be considered for one of the 2,500

National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis.

Some 400 corporations and business organizations will underwrite about 1,200 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who meet specified criteria. In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to provide at least 4,200 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the institutions financing the awards.

The names of next year's scholarship winners will be released in four announcements next year, beginning in April and concluding in July.

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