The National Merit Scholarship Corporation recently announced that several students from Carroll County Public Schools are among approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 59th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,000 National Merit Scholarships worth about $35 million that will be offered next spring.
Liberty High School semifinalists are Lisa M. Francomacaro, Ashleigh N. Kirker, Connor R. Powers and Alexander P. Wikner.
South Carroll High School semifinalists are John P. McAninley and Cameron M. Truitt.
Westminster High School's semifinalist is Nicholas B. Lolli.
About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.
The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state's percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
To become a finalist, the semifinalist and their high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist's academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.
A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test.
About 15,000 of the semifinalists are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in February they will be notified 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.
Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2014. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 240 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor's employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,500 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.