National Merit Scholars Awarded. What Does that Mean and Why Does it Matter?, by: Noah Mitello

Many of you may wonder what is the purpose of the PSAT, why do I need to take that? Well, not only is the PSAT a way to prepare for the actual SAT that is taken later in the year, it also determines whether or not you can become a National Merit Scholar.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation is an organization dedicated to rewarding the hard work and academic talents of different students. Only about 50,000 students out of the 1.6 million entries to the scholarship program will receive recognition. At the beginning phases, the two categories of recognition are National Merit Commended Scholars and National Merit Semi-Finalists. The Commended scholars have slightly lower index scores from their PSAT’s, which means their journey is done at this recognition. However, the Semi-Finalists continue on and apply for Finalist status. For this to happen, the students must have stellar academic performance from freshman to senior year. They must be endorsed by their principals, complete an application, and take the SAT in a specific time-frame to confirm their PSAT score. After students are given Finalist status, only about fifteen-thousand Semi-Finalists, winners are chosen based on: academic records, the students’ leadership and extracurricular activities, recommendations from the students’ high schools, their PSAT and SAT scores, as well as an evaluation of the schools’ curriculum and grading systems.

There are only about 7500 National Merit Scholars who can be awarded $2500, a corporate sponsorship or a college sponsorship for their achievements. This year we have three Semi-Finalists who have applied to become Finalists. Their names are Marshall Monnette, Kevin Haller, and Jared Perkowski. All three of them are heavily involved with clubs and extracurriculars here at St. Edward along with being dedicated to their academics. While they will not find out if they are Finalists for some time, they are all in the process of hopefully becoming National Merit Scholars.