The National Merit Scholarship Program has selected 53 Blair seniors as semifinalists for the 2010 National Merit Scholarship (NMS) Competition, a contest that awards $2,500 - 5,000 in scholarship funding to finalists. Five seniors are semifinalists in the National Achievement Scholarship (NAS) Competition, a similar contest for black students that provides $2,500 in scholarship money. A school-wide announcement on Wednesday publicized the names of all semifinalists.
Semifinalists were chosen based on their scores on the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test administered last year.
Out of the 1.5 million students that take the PSAT each year, only 50,000 score high enough to gain NMS recognition. Of the 50,000 students, 16,000 meet the score cutoff to be named semifinalists. For NAS, about 1,600 semifinalists are chosen yearly out of the 150,000 qualifying students. Individual states set their own cutoff for high scores, ensuring that semifinalists are chosen from all parts of the U.S. In Maryland, semifinalists this year achieved a 221 or higher on their PSAT, according to resource counselor Marcia Johnson.
Some 15,000 finalists will be chosen from the semifinalists in February and given a certificate. Finalists will be determined after the program reviews the transcripts, extracurricular activities and counselor recommendations of semifinalists, according to Johnson.
Last year 43 Blazers became NMS semifinalists and only three were NAS semifinalists.
For more information about the scholarships, visit the NMS web site
and the NAS web site
. National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists:
Scott Zimmerman National Achievement Scholarship Semifinalists: