BERNARDSVILLE, NJ -- Ritika Manathara, a senior at Bernards High School, has been named among the approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

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.

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 month, 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.