BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Four Gov. Livingston High School members of the Class of 2018 ---  Renee Barbosa, James Pitingolo, Chen Song, Victoria Zhou -- have been named as finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

During the 2016-17 school year, Gov. Livingston High School juniors took the PSAT exam, with Barbosa, Pitingolo, Song and Zhou recognized in the fall of 2017 by the Program as semifinalists.

These students were required to submit their SAT scores, possess an outstanding academic record, and be endorsed by a high school administrator in order to be considered for a finalist position. 

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To ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, Semifinalists are designated on a state-representational basis. They are the highest scoring entrants in each state. 

Additionally, semifinalists had to submit an application with their transcripts, provide a listing of extracurricular and-or volunteer activities, and author an essay. Once selected as a finalist, students are then eligible to earn scholarships.

Of the 15,000 finalists across the United States, about half will get a scholarship that falls into one of the following categories: National Merit $2,500 Scholarship, Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship, and College-sponsored Merit Scholarship.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation website, the Selection Committee is composed of college admission officers and high school guidance directors and counselors who work in pairs to evaluate the scholarship applications of Finalists on a state-by-state basis. Committee members review all of the Finalist applications and consider each student’s academic record (including course load, rigor, depth and breadth of subjects studied, and grades earned); the student’s self-descriptive essay, activities, leadership, employment, and contributions to the school and community; in addition to the high school official’s letter of recommendation. The Scholars selected by the Committee are those determined to have the strongest combination of attributes and accomplishments and the greatest potential for future success in college studies and beyond.