Shelton High’s Jain a National Merit semifinalist
Shelton High School senior Siddharth Jain is among 16,000 semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
Jain now has the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 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.
More than 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. The National Merit Scholarship Corp. (NMSC), a not-for-proﬁt organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 speciﬁcally to conduct this annual program.
The National Merit Scholarship Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The program does not measure the quality or eﬀectiveness of education within a school system or state. For more information about the competition, visit www.nationalmerit.org.
More than 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 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 1 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.