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National Merit Scholar semifinalists announced

Centrals+National+Merit+Scholar+semifinalists+pose+for+a+photo+at+the+Sept.+18+Board+of+Education+meeting.
Naperville Central
Central’s National Merit Scholar semifinalists pose for a photo at the Sept. 18 Board of Education meeting.

Fifteen students at Naperville Central are semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These students have the opportunity to become finalists and earn scholarships for college. 

The National Merit Scholarship Program is a scholarship competition managed by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). Semifinalists are selected from the highest scoring students who took the PSAT.

The NMSC website states, “Of the 1.3 million eligible students who take the PSAT/NMSQT, only about 50,000 of the highest-scoring students will receive program recognition.”

Roughly 16,000 of these students are selected as semifinalists and are given the opportunity to become finalists and receive scholarships. These semifinalist students represent less than 1% of the nation’s high school graduating seniors.

Being a semifinalist requires a student to have an index score above a threshold specific to the state on the PSAT. A student’s index score is calculated by doubling the sum of their PSAT test score in the reading, math, and writing and language sections.

“My score was very, very close to the cut off and I was right there on the borderline,” semifinalist Aarit Tewatia said. “This whole time, all these months since I got my results I’ve been wondering whether or not I’d actually get it. I was [stressed] thinking what if I get it and what if I don’t get it, but I’m very grateful that I got it. It was a pleasant surprise.”

The 16,000 students recognized as semifinalists can now apply to become one of the roughly 7,000 finalists that are rewarded with scholarships. 

“I will need to fill out an application [with] some more information about myself,” semifinalist Harry Yu said. “Get a letter of recommendation from my counselor. Then, sometime in spring I’ll get a notice, [stating] I’ve been accepted or rejected.”

The finalists will be announced in March.

“I was already surprised that I made semifinalist, so I’m not really going to be disappointed if I don’t make finalist, but I’ll try my best.” Yu said.

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