Nine students from Staples High School have been named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.
About 90 percent of the 16,000 semifinalists nationwide in the National Merit Scholarship Program are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corp., which announced the semifinalists.
About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2012 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.
To become finalists, semifinalists and their schools must submit detailed scholarship applications, in which they provide information about academic records, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.
Additionally, each semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test.