Fordham Prep seniors Thomas Kim and George Vasilakis have been named National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists. They represent one of just 16,000 semifinalists out of a pool of 1.6 million students nationwide that entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program.
Those 1.6 million juniors come from more than 22,000 high schools that entered the program's contest by taking the 2016 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.
To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and his or her 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.
These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 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. About 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.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2018 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 330,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.