EVANSTON, Illinois – The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced the names of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program last week, and two local students are on the list.
Among the scholastic honorees are Olivia Foster and Tristina Ting of Brookings High School.
The students are competing for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring.
To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 95 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.
Students were selected after taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as juniors.
The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.
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.
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, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.
These scholarship recipients will join more than 362,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.