Every year, all sophomores and some juniors take the PSAT. Some students may think it’s a waste of time, but others try their best in hopes of getting a high score.

Seniors Farheen Zaman, Anna Grace Hamson, and William Parker took the PSAT as juniors and scored exceptionally well on them. Because of their scores, they were deemed semi-finalists of the National Merit Scholarship.

The National Merit Scholarship recognizes students who scored in the top 1 percent in the country. Out of some 16,000 semifinalists from all over the US, they submit applications to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

“Getting the award is an opportunity to apply for a scholarship, not an actual scholarship,” said Hamson.

This application is similar to a college application. It asked for things such as a guidance recommendation form, personal information, and also the applicants are required to write an essay or personal statement. Godwin’s semi-finalists submitted their applications back in October.

In order to move on to become one of the 15,000 finalists, students must have completed an application. Students also need to have record of consistently high academic performance. Because the National Merit Scholarship wants to make sure a student’s exemplary PSAT score was not a fluke, they require scores from the SAT.

“Once you’re a finalist, that’s when you get the opportunity for a scholarship,” said Zaman.

All winners of the Merit Scholarships are chosen from the group of finalists based on their skills, abilities, and accomplishments.

There are three types of scholarships available: The National Merit $2500 Scholarship, Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship, and College-sponsored Merit Scholarship.

For the National Merit $2500 Scholarships, every finalist competes for these single payment scholarships. Winners are selected without consideration of family financial circumstances, college choice, or career plans.

The Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship is when Corporate sponsors designate their awards for children of their own employees or members. This scholarship also is given for Finalists with career plans the sponsor wishes to encourage.

The College-sponsored Merit Scholarship is when officials of each sponsor college selects winners for the scholarship from the finalists who have been accepted for admission to a college or university.

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©2018 Eagles' Eyrie - the school newspaper for Mills E. Godwin High School in Henrico, VA

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