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More than 300 Maryland students named National Merit semifinalists

More than 300 Maryland students qualified as semifinalists in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program, which honors academically talented students and allows them to compete for college scholarships.

The list of about 16,000 semifinalists — representing less than 1 percent of high school seniors in the United States — was announced last week. Students qualified for the title by achieving high scores on their PSAT exam.

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The PSAT is a standardized test administered annually in most high schools in the United States and taken by students in the 10 and 11th grade. It measures students' proficiency in math, reading and writing and serves as a qualifying test for the national scholarship program.

To move on to the next round, students must submit a detailed application, including information about their academic record, community service and extracurricular activities. The student must be recommended by a high school official, submit an essay, and be a top scorer on the SAT exams, which are widely used by colleges in the U.S. to determine admissions.

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About 15,000 students nationally are expected to be named finalists in February.

Roughly half of these finalists will go on to win a National Merit Scholarship, which are together worth more than $32 million. Scholarship winners will be announced beginning in April.

Nearly 30 Baltimore students were named semifinalists. Seven students at the Gilman School, a private all-boys preparatory school, made the list. While Gilman boasted the highest number of semifinalists in the city, eight other Baltimore schools also had students qualify.

Montgomery Blair High School had the most qualifying students in the state, with 46 semifinalists.

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