LIVINGSTON, NJ — Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) have announced that 12 Livingston High School seniors have been named among the approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Those students are pictured above as follows:

  • (Top): Jacqueline Chan, Ian Xiong, Ethan Reiter and Dina Brustein
  • (Middle): Erin Chang, Aditi Desai, Emily Zhang and Angela Wei
  • (Bottom): Jeffrey Liao, Nirav Patel, Kenneth Ding and Katrina Pham

According to the NMSC, these students selected are “academically talented high school seniors” who will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered in the spring.

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In order to be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. More than 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, according to the NMSC.

In a press release issued this week, the NMSC announced that more than 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, which includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state, represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors.

Semifinalists will be notified in February if they have received a designation as a finalist. Beginning in the spring, Merit Scholar designees will be selected from the finalists on the basis of their “skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference,” according to the NMSC.

The three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in 2020 include:

  • About 2,500 National Merit Scholarships worth $2500, which all finalists compete for and will be awarded on a state-representational basis.
  • About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards that will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offi ces are located.
  • About 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards financed by approximately 180 colleges and universities. These are awarded to finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

The National Merit Scholarship winners of 2020 will be announced beginning in April and concluding in July.