Four seniors become National Merit Semifinalists

Myles Glandorf, Staff Writer

Four students at the high school qualified as a National Merit Semifinalists for the 2014 year. Those students were seniors Josh Borwick, Shuda Jarboe, John Krone, and Ruchira Shekar.

The National Merit Scholarship Award is a $2,000 scholarship given to a select number of students throughout the nation. The students chosen will progress from being selected as semifinalists to becoming finalists, and then selected as the winners of the award.

There are more benefits and opportunities to be a National Merit Scholar than just the money. “It really helps with college applications,” senior Shuda Jarbo said. “A lot of schools see that you’re a National Merit Scholar and they understand that there’s quite a bit of selection that goes into choosing National Merit Scholars and National Merit Finalists and it gives you an advantage with that.”

Jarbo feels that being a semifinalist is an accomplishment in itself. “Its pretty cool since there are only four of us,” Jarbo said. “Its pretty awesome and its really an honor.”

The PSAT is the test that determines the semifinalists. There is a certain cut off, and in order to become a semifinalist, a student has to score above the cut off on the PSAT. The cut off score varies depending on the location, for instance the East coast cut off may be different than the cutoff in the midwest.

In order to become a finalist, the semifinalists must take the SAT and do well on the test. The semifinalists also have to write an essay and acquire a teacher recommendation letter. The semifinalists will learn in February if they are a finalist.

Borwick is hoping that he will be among the finalists in February. “It’s a good opportunity for scholarships,” Borwick said.

There are 16,000 semifinalists in the nation, and then it will be cut down to 15,000 finalists. Ultimately, only 7,600 students recieve the National Merit Scholar award.

No matter if he becomes a finalist or not, Borwick is still happy that he is among the semi finalists. “It’s pretty exciting to be one,” Borwick said.