LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston High School student Erin Chang, a graduating senior who intends to pursue a career in neuroscience and was also named the valedictorian of the Class of 2020, was recently selected as one of 2,500 seniors across the country to be awarded a $2,500 scholarship through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). 

She is pictured in the center of the photo above, flanked by co-salutatorians Nicole Rong and Grace Levey.

Chang was selected from a talent pool of more than 15,000 finalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Competition, which began in October 2018 when more than 1.5 million juniors in approximately 21,000 high schools took the PSAT/NMSQT. These exams served as an initial screen of program entrants, and the highest-scoring participants in each state—representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors—were named semifinalists.

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According to the NMSC, National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are “the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.”

Winners were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the Finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT); contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

NMSC finances most of these single-payment National Merit $2500 Scholarships. Corporations and company foundations that sponsor awards through NMSC also help underwrite these scholarships with grants they provide in lieu of paying administrative fees.

Scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.