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The City Journals

Three Highland High students named semifinalists in National Merit Scholarship Program

Oct 05, 2021 09:38AM ● By Lizzie Walie

By Lizzie Walje | [email protected]

On Sept. 15, the National Merit Scholarship Program named three Highland High School students as semifinalists in their upcoming 2022 search—Charles J. Berens, Logan H. Brown, and Thomas A. Clawson. The National Merit Scholarship Program named approximately 16,000 semifinalist contenders throughout the United States. 2022 marks the organization’s 67th annual search.

The National Merit Scholarship Program seeks to honor individual students who demonstrate exceptional academic acumen and harbor a distinctive potential for success when tasked with a rigorous college curriculum. The program does not focus on educational institutions as a whole, but rather, the students within them with extraordinary academic capability. 

Despite their recognition as semifinalists, students are not required to perform any further action if they wish not to vie for a scholarship. The program states that “these academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 75,000 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring.” However, for students who are interested in receiving the award they must fulfill a series of requirements to be considered for advancement. Of the current 16,000 semifinalists, a projected 95% are anticipated to attain finalist standing and approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship earning the coveted Merit Scholar Title.  

During their junior year, the Highland High School semifinalists took the preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test alongside their peers. The test functions as an initial screening of students with the purpose of narrowing down potential candidates. According to the National Merit Scholarship Program, “the nationwide pool of semifinalists [represent] less than 1% of U.S high school seniors, including the highest-scoring entrants in each state.” 

In spring 2022, three types of scholarships will be offered. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis. Roughly 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by nearly 220 corporations and business organizations. These corporations seek finalists who meet their specified criteria, for instance, children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where the corporation’s offices are present. Additionally, approximately 180 colleges and universities are anticipated to finance 4,000 college-sponsored scholarship awards for finalists who will attend their institutions. 

The National Merit Scholarship winners of 2022 will be announced in four nationwide news releases starting in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join ranks with more than 362,000 other distinguished scholars who have earned the Merit Scholar title in its 67 years of existence.