Elizabeth Taft of Peterborough and a ConVal High School senior has been named a semifinalist in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program. She is one of 16,000 students nationwide to be chosen. 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. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semiﬁnalists must fulﬁll several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.
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 90 percent of the semiﬁnalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.
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 (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semiﬁnalists, representing less than one 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.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2014 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.