Three outstanding Wellington High School students were recently recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Austin Hart was named a semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program, Lisa Melamed was named a commended student in the National Merit Scholarship Program and Bryan Walker was named a semifinalist in the National Achievement Scholarship Program.
The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955.
High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) — a test which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.5 million entrants each year — and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements.
In early September, about 16,000 students, approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, are notified that they have qualified as semifinalists. To ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included in the talent pool, semifinalists are designated on a state-representational basis. They are the highest scoring entrants in each state. The program provides scholarship application materials to semifinalists through their high schools.
In late September, about 34,000 of the approximately 50,000 high scorers on the PSAT/NMSQT receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. Commended students are named on the basis of a nationally applied selection index score that may vary from year to year.
Although commended students do not continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships, some of these students do become candidates for special scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.
The National Achievement Scholarship Program is an academic competition established in 1964 to provide recognition for outstanding black high school students. Black students may have entered both the 2015 National Achievement Program and the 2015 National Merit Program by taking the 2013 PSAT/NMSQT and meeting other published requirements for participation.
The two programs are conducted concurrently but operated and funded separately. A student’s standing is determined independently in each program. Black students can qualify for recognition and be honored as scholars in both the 2015 National Merit Program and the 2015 National Achievement Program, but can receive only one monetary award.
Of the more than 160,000 students who entered the 2015 National Achievement Program, more than 4,700 are honored. A group of about 3,100 Outstanding Participants are referred to colleges for their potential for academic success. A smaller group of about 1,600 are named semifinalists. They are the only students who have an opportunity to advance in the 2015 competition for National Achievement Scholarships.