Fifteen seniors qualified as Semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program. According to Collegeboard, the National Merit Scholarship program provides roughly 8,300 scholarships worth more than $34 million for students who perform exceptionally in academics. Approximately 1.5 million students apply for the National Merit Scholarship Program every year.
The seniors that qualified as Semifinalists are: Mya Ballin, Saleil Bhat, Rewa Bush, Jessica Cheng, Marissa Childs, Anny Dow, Kevin Friend, Vivian Hua, Audun Johnson, Tomer Kaftan, Stephen Lai, Adron Mason, Matthew Orton, Nikita Rajan and Rowan Zellers.
According to The Orange County Register, the minimum score to qualify in California is 221. About 90 percent of the Semifinalists become Finalists, and more than half of the Finalists receive the scholarships and are given the title of Merit Scholar.
After reaching the Semifinalist level, seniors and a high school official must submit a record of all school information as well as an essay by the senior. The principal of their school must also recommend the student. Grades play an extremely important part. Participants must maintain an outstanding academic record and receive SAT scores that reflect their academics.
“I’m considering applying to be a National Merit Finalist as my duty to a school that has served me well in [over three] years,” Matthew said.