Laguna Upper School Students Named National Merit Scholarship Finalists
Two Laguna Blanca seniors—Katherine Ball and Caden Weaver—were recently named National Merit finalists, bringing them one step closer to consideration for 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million.
These students were named semifinalists in September in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Today, the two academically talented students moved to finalist status.
To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 95% of the semifinalists were expected to attain finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.
NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 340 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.
Last year, these students entered the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program as juniors by taking the 2021 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. 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 had to submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provided information about their 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.