National Merit Scholarship: semi-finalists confirmed

National Merit Scholarship: semi-finalists confirmed

Menna Ibrahim, staff writer


No. 2 pencils, piercing silence and College Board sponsored contracts of agreement have all become trademarks of the PSAT.  The exam is taken on the same day nationwide in order to practice for the SAT, as well as determine if which students qualify for the National Merit Scholarship.

At Northwest Guilford, three seniors have been selected as semi-finalists: Avery Indermaur, Jisoo Kim and Elizabeth Molnar.

Consisting of two math, two critical reading and a writing portion, the exam lasts two hours and 10 minutes. Although the PSAT does not affect a student’s grades nor is it shown to colleges, students are recommended to take it seriously because of the scholarships that may become available as a result, National Merit being the biggest.

The top 50,000 national PSAT scores qualify a junior for some sort of recognition. The top 2/3 of said 50,000 are not eligible for the National Merit Scholarship, yet may be eligible for scholarships with business corporations. The top 1/3 become national semifinalists and the top 15,000 among the semifinalists become finalists. About 8,000 people are later proclaimed winners and awarded scholarship opportunities, including college-sponsored scholarships, corporate-sponsored scholarships and, of course, a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship.

“I think I found out that I was a National Merit semi-finalist sometime in September,” Molnar said. “I was called into Mrs. Lucas’ office during sixth period along with Avery and Jisoo, and Mrs. Lucas told us. Then we had to fill out an application to become finalists.”

All three girls took the PSAT in 2015 during their junior year.

“When I was done with the test, I didn’t think I had done well. I knew that I had missed some questions in each of the sections, and I did not feel confident. I definitely did not expect to get the score that I did,” Kim said.

Neither Kim nor Molnar studied specifically for the PSAT, yet both claim that they are satisfied and surprised with the scores they obtained.

“My family was excited and happy for me when I told them about my scores. They didn’t exactly know what a National Merit Scholarship is or what the PSAT score meant, but were happy nevertheless. My friends were extremely supportive, as well,” Kim said.

Molnar, Indermaur and Kim served as junior marshals last year and have been reported by peers and teachers alike to be students of high achievement and excelling credentials throughout their learning careers. With college closer than ever and high school nearing its end, a time of reflection has fallen upon not only the three semi-finalists, but the senior class as a whole.

“I’ve done pretty well in school in general. However, now that I’m a senior, I wish I had spent less time doing school work since in the long run, getting all A’s in high school doesn’t really matter,” Molnar said.

Nevertheless, qualifying for the National Merit Scholarship is incredibly prestigious, and the three, along with their family, friends, peers and educators, do not fail to recognize the achievement.

“I did not expect that I would do as well as I did,” Molnar said. “My parents congratulated me, as well as anyone else who heard about.”