SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Earlier this week, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced a list of semifinalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. This year, two Jonathan Dayton students are among the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists.

The high school seniors in the competition will have an opportunity to continue trying for about 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring. Lillian Friedman and Becca Smith will be representing Jonathan Dayton in the final round.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, to be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition.

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Over 90 percent of the semifinalists in the competition are expected to attain finalist standing, and of that pool, about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

To become a finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official 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® or ACT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.