Marshalltown High School senior Matt Anzis is among 16,000 semifinalists in the 56th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
Anzis has an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,400 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $36 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 approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.
About 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the 2011 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2009 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, which represents 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, a Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal, and earn sat scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. The Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student’s essay and information about the Semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.
Approximately 15,000 Semifinalists are expected to advance to the Finalist level and it is from this group that all National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.