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Magnet students named National Merit Scholar Semifinalists

Steps in the 2020 Competition

     Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifi nalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifi nalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

     To become a Finalist, the Semifi nalist and a high school offi cial must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifi nalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifi nalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school offi cial, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confi rm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

     From the approximately 16,000 Semifi nalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notifi ed 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.

National Merit Scholarships

     Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be off ered in the spring of 2020. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specifi ed criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offi ces are located. In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to fi nance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

     National Merit Scholarship winners of 2020 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 345,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.