Ring, Fremstad are scholarship semifinalists Vermillion High School students Daniel Ring and Andrew Fremstad are among approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 47th annual National Merit¨ Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,000 merit scholarship awards, worth over $32 million, that will be offered next spring.
Founded in 1955 to conduct the annual merit scholarship competition, NMSC is a privately financed not-for-profit corporation that operates without government assistance. Scholarships awarded through the merit program are underwritten by nearly 600 independent sponsor organizations and institutions, as well as with NMSC's own funds. These sponsors share NMSC's goals of honoring scholastically able young men and women and promoting interest in academic excellence.
More than 1.2 million students in over 20,000 U.S. high schools entered the 2002 merit program when they were juniors by taking the 2000 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQTTM), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists was designated on a state representational basis; the number of semifinalists in each state is based on its percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists are the highest scoring entrants in each state and represent less than 1 percent of the state's seniors.
The next step for semifinalists is to fulfill requirements to advance to 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.
The semifinalist and a school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student's self-descriptive essay and information about the semifinalist's participation and leadership in school and community activities.
About 90 percent, or approximately 15,000, of the semifinalists are expected to advance to the finalist level of the competition, and some 8,000 of the finalists will become merit scholarship winners. All merit scholar designees will be selected from the finalist group � without regard to gender, race ethnic origin or religious preference. Scholarship winners will be chosen by professionals on the basis of candidates' academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.
Three types of merit scholarship award will be offered in 2002. Every finalist will be considered for one of 2,500 national merit $2500 scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis.
In addition, some 400 corporations and business organizations will underwrite about 1,200 corporate-sponsored merit scholarship awards for finalists who meet specified criteria, such as children of a grantor's employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. Also, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to provide at least 4,300 college-sponsored merit scholarship award for finalists who will attend the institutions financing their awards.
NSMSC will release the names of the merit scholarship winners of 2002 to news media nationwide in four announcements, beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship winners will join more than 202,000 other distinguished young people who have been named merit scholar awardees since completion of the first competition in 1956.