MADISON, NJ - After 1.5 million students entered the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) have announced the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Four Semifinalists came from Madison High School; Abby Chooporian, Adam Klein, Diane Moore, and Timothy Raymaker. 

The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) have announced the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Sign Up for E-News

These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,600 awards with a total value of more than $43 million, which are offered each year to outstanding participants in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Of the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected 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. Of the 15,000 Finalists, 7,400 will move on to become Merit Scholarship winners. Beginning in March 2016, NMSC will notify winners of the three types of National Merit Scholarships: National Merit® $2,500 Scholarships, corporate-sponsored scholarships, and college-sponsored scholarships. In addition to Merit Scholarship winners, an additional 1,200 individuals will become Special Scholarship recipients, which are provided by corporate sponsors.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.