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Aug. 8, 2007

Six additional Blazers win college-sponsored National Merit Scholarships

by Alisa Lu, Online News Editor
Six additional Blazers Jessica Cutler, Jordan Fein, Kathleen Jee, Audrey Kubetin, Anjali Parekh and Joshua Yanovski received college-sponsored National Merit Scholarships based on their academic accomplishments, according to a MCPS press release on July 17. Including these six, Blair's class of 2007 produced 21 National Merit Scholarship winners.

College sponsored scholarship winners received $500-$2000, as determined by the college. The scholarships are renewable every year for up to four years but must be used at the sponsoring college.

National Merit scholarships are given out by three sponsors: corporations, colleges and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a non-profit organization. Corporate-sponsored scholarship winners were notified in mid-April, NMSC scholarship winners were notified in early May and the first round of college-sponsored scholarship winners were notified in late May.

To compete for any of the scholarships, students must score above a pre-determined cut on the PSAT to become semi-finalists. Semi-finalists must write an essay, receive a score on their SAT that confirms their PSAT score and send in their transcript to be considered for a finalist spot.

To be eligible for a corporate-sponsored scholarship, students must meet specific guidelines. Corporations give out scholarships to children of their employees, "residents of a community where a company has operations or for students with college major or career plans the sponsor wishes to encourage," according to the NMSC website.

Corporate and NMSC sponsored scholarships are determined in conjunction. "If a student is selected for a NMSC scholarship and [corporate-sponsored scholarship], he or she will generally get the corporate one because those are renewable," NMSC Vice President of Public Information Elaine Detweiler said. Students who have not received either scholarship are then taken into consideration for college-sponsored scholarships.

While applying to be a finalist, students must notify NMSC of their first choice college. Colleges receive a list of students who listed that college as their first choice and then chose whom to give their scholarships to, Detweiler said. Whether the student is considered in the first round or the second round depends on the date the student reports a first-choice college.

However, students are allowed to change their first-choice colleges if they notify NMSC before May 31 and before they receive a scholarship from their first-choice colleges. "It's possible for you to change your first choice of college, depending on where you get in and decide to go," Cutler, who will attend the University of Maryland, said.

Blazers who won the first round of college-sponsored scholarships were Ruosi Fan, Julia Kaufman, Timothy Lee, Benjamin Li, Hailey Lin and Louis Wu.



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