Students from Blacksburg High School, Christiansburg High School, and Eastern Montgomery High School were among the 16,000 students nationwide announced Wednesday, Sept. 15, as semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring.
High school juniors entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020 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 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.
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.
About 15,000 of the semifinalists are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists. 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.
The National Merit Scholarship winners of 2022 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 362,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.
The semifinalists from Blacksburg High School are Chase A. Beams, Ayca Bulbul, Katerina A. Leedy, Kylene J. Monaghan, Seonbin Song, and Kevin Xu.
The semifinalist from Christiansburg High School is Jade M. Riddle.
The semifinalist from Eastern Montgomery High School is Ava V. Lazar.