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Madeira Seniors named National Merit Semifinalists

October 1, 2020

Sydney Gu '21 and Elena Jochum '21 have been named 2020 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced approximately 16,000 semifinalists, representing less than one percent of high school seniors in the U.S. Over 1.5 million students were entered into the competition as juniors by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Semifinalists were the highest scoring entrants in each state, and the number chosen from each state is proportional to its share of graduating seniors in the U.S.

About 15,000 semifinalists are expected to advance to finalist standing, and over half of the finalists will win about 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million next spring. To be considered as a finalist, semifinalists must submit a detailed scholarship application with information about the student's academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

The semifinalist must demonstrate an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and write an essay. Scholarship winners will be chosen based on their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

There are three kinds of scholarships finalists will compete for: corporate-sponsored, college or university-sponsored, and National Merit Scholarship Corporation awards. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation's own $2500 Scholarships will be awarded to 2,500 students on a state-representational basis. Around 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships will be provided by about 220 corporations and business organizations for students who meet their criteria. For example, the criteria may include being children of an employee at the sponsoring business or residents of communities where the business has locations or offices. Around 180 colleges and universities are expected to fund about 4,100 awards for finalists who will attend their school.

Winners will be announced in four groups between April and July 2021.

Congratulations Sydney and Elena!

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