A Marion High School student has been named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist, a prestigious designation earned only by about 1 percent of the 1.5 million students who apply each year. Two others earned the designation of "Commended Students" — a designation earned by only about 2 percent of applicants.
Juniors across the U.S. apply for the National Merit Scholarship program by taking the PSAT as juniors. Madeline Stiles, a senior at MHS who has earned the semifinalist designation, now has the opportunity to apply to be named a National Merit Scholarship finalist (a designation earned by only 15,000 students nationwide), which would put them in line for potential college scholarships sponsored by corporations and colleges across the country.
The 7,600 available scholarships total more than $31 million awarded to National Merit Scholars across the country. About 90 percent of semifinalists typically attain finalist status, and about half of the finalists will win a scholarship.
Two other MHS seniors also earned an honor received by only about 2 percent of those who apply for a National Merit Scholarship. Patrick Spitzer and Caleb Spitzer were among about 34,000 out of 1.5 million students who earned the designation of "Commended Student."
These students do not continue on in the scholarship competition, but they can add this prestigious designation to their resumes and portfolios.
NMSC calls students recognized through its program a “valuable national resource”, adding: “Recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success."
NMSC is a non-profit organization that operates without government assistance and was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.
Finalists will be notified in February of their advancement to that level. National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced from April through July.