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What it Takes to be a National Merit Scholar

Of 1.5 million applicants, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation(NMSC) annually awards a portion of the 15,000 finalists with the title “National Merit Scholar” – less than one percent. Of those awards, 17 have been presented to BHS students since 1995. This scholarship has most recently been awarded to alumnus Gina Filo and Jonathan Hank.

Although no one from the class of 2012 won the National Merit Scholar award, students were notified throughout the month of February that they had won other awards. Senior Liza Davis has already been notified of her status as a Commended Scholar.

“I was excited and surprised,” said Davis. “I was really happy when I found out I got even that far.”

Juniors applying for next year will have to go through the same process as Davis, which includes a four-step application, competing with students all over the world. After applying, the 50,000 highest scorers on the PSAT will qualify for recognition. Two thirds of the qualifying students will be recognised as a Commended Scholar. Though students recognised as commended scholars do not continue in the competition they will still qualify for special scholarships. Of the students not recognized, approximately 16,000 will move on to be semifinalists. Semi finalists will then be judged based on PSAT score and overall academic achievement. 15000 finalists will then be chosen–one percent of the the students that applied–and from that group the winners will be selected.

Junior Michael Hank, along with other Juniors, will be attempting to follow his brothers footsteps by applying for the 2013 NMSC scholarship. He will be competing with other high PSAT scoring students with GPA’s in the 99th percentile.

“[The competition] is a little worrisome because I know I got around the top one percent, but it’s close,” said Michael Hank. “I’m not so sure.”

Valerie Ostvig

Valerie enjoys long walks on the beach with plenty of sunshine, especially when accompanied by her pet unicorn, Fido. In her spare time, Valerie is the Editor-in-Chief of The Hoofprint and an amateur clothing upcycler. Her favorite food is chips and super mild salsa. Even ketchup is spicy to her.

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