BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ  - A total of four Governor Livingston High School students are among the approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 63rd annual National Merit Scholarship Program, positioning them in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring. 

To be considered for an award, semifinalists must fulfill requirements to advance to the finalist level. About 90 percent of semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship.

The students are Renee Barbosa, James Pitingolo, Chen Song and Victoria Zhou.

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About 1.6 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.

To become a finalist, semifinalists must submit a detailed scholarship application with information about academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.  A semifinalist must be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn Scholastic Aptitude Test scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying PSAT.

From the 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, to be announced in February. 

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2018.

Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by about 230 corporations and business organizations; usually these recipients are children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located.

 In addition, about 190 colleges and universities will finance some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.

National Merit Scholarship Corporation is a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance.