Five Unit 4 Students Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

Wed, 09/11/2019 - 11:16am

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.  – The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced five Champaign Unit 4 students as part of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Three of the five district honorees attend Centennial High School (Anushka Agrawal, Min-Seung Kang, and Juliann Xu) and two are at Central (Duncan Bruce and Davin Yoo).

These high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for approximately 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth over $31 million offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of competition. Over 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

Over 1.5 million juniors across approximately 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The semifinalist pool represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors. 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 or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official 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. From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level announced in February.