Three students at New Prague High School are National Merit Scholar semifinalists: Morgan Larson, Megan Schoenbauer, and Hannah Orr.
Each year 1.6 million sophomores and juniors take the PSAT in hopes of qualifying for the National Merit Scholarship Program. The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition where you can potentially get recognition and qualify for scholarships based on your PSAT score. To qualify as a semifinalist, a student must score in the top 1% of their state on the PSAT.
In early September, about one-third (approximately 16,000 students) of the 50,000 high scorers qualify as Semifinalists and are chosen to represent the state they live in. To qualify for the program in Minnesota, a student needs to have a minimum score of 219.
In February, about 15,000 Semifinalists advance to Finalist standing. Within the Finalist group, winners are chosen for the Merit Scholarship based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments. About 7,500 finalists will be selected to receive a Merit Scholarship in between the beginning of March and mid-June.
When asked what she hoped to gain from this, Schoenbauer said, “It was nice to know that I scored really well, that’s a good confidence boost. I am hoping that I am able to get some scholarships to help pay for college.”
Each year the cutoff score for the National Merit Program changes. If a student is really serious about getting into the program, they should look up the scores from the most recent year and aim a little higher.