The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and a chance to receive a scholarship for academic efforts. There are over 15,000 people that advance to becoming semi-finalists, and 5 out of those 15,000 students were from Mt. Hebron.
The 5 semi-finalists from Mt. Hebron include seniors Lorelei Loraine, William Li, Pooja Nambiar, David Wang, and Aboli Dahiwadkar. These names were sent to multiple four-year colleges that are all regionally accredited.
The Mt. Hebron students were surprised, but very happy when they learned they had won the scholarships. “I was really excited! I didn’t expect to be a semi-finalist because I thought that my score was not going to make it,” stated Loraine.
In order to become semi-finalists, the students had to take the PSAT and achieve a score of between 1420-1480. These students’ scores put them in the 99th percentile in the state of Maryland.
Once the semi-finalists are determined, they participate in the finals where each student has to write an essay. The judges then decide who will win the National Merit Scholarship which is a scholarship of up to 2,500 dollars that can be used at any college or university in the United States.
There are many classes available for students that are based solely on preparing for the PSAT and SAT. These classes can give students a greater chance of being a National Merit Semi-Finalist or even being a National Merit Scholar.
In order to prepare for the PSAT and potentially become a National Merit Semi-Finalist, Loraine said students should “study like you would study for the SAT; do a lot of reading and make sure your reading composition is high, and practice a lot of math.”
“It was a lot of work, but I am very proud of myself for accomplishing it,” Li said as he explained his satisfaction with his results.