Putnam City High Student Named 2019 National Merit Semifinalist

09.12.2018 8:54 AM

Long Pham of Putnam City High School has been named a National Merit Semifinalist by officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, an honor placing him among the nation’s top high school students.

More than 1.6 million juniors in nearly 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 Merit Program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Semifinalists are the highest scorers on the qualifying test in each of the 50 states. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

Pham now has an opportunity to continue in competition for 7,500 Merit Scholarships, worth more than $31 million, to be given in the spring.

In order to be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must advance to the finalist level of the competition. To become a finalist, a semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s 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 ® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

More than 90 percent of semifinalists become finalists, and about half of finalists will be selected as National Merit Scholarship winners, earning the title of “Merit Scholar.”

Three types of National Merit Scholarship awards will be offered. First, every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis. Second, about 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships will be provided by approximately 230 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. Third, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

Merit Scholarship winners of 2019 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.