Plainfield North High School senior Isaac Schennum, Plainfield South High School senior Maritza Gallegos and Plainfield High School – Central Campus senior Frank Ruane are among about 16,000 National Merit Scholarship 2017-18 semifinalists nationwide.
Schennum, Gallegos and Ruane will compete for 7,500 National Merit Scholarship awards, worth about $32 million. The awards will be announced next spring. This is the 63rd year of the prestigious program, which honors academically talented high school seniors.
About 15,000 of the 16,000 semifinalists for this school year are expected to be named Finalists, and about half of the Finalists will be named National Merit Scholars.
To become a National Merit Finalist, students must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier qualifying performance.
The semifinalist and a school official must also submit a detailed scholarship application, including the student’s self-descriptive essay and information about the student’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.
About 1.6 million high school juniors in over 22,000 high schools nationwide entered the 2017-18 National Merit Program by taking the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The pool of semifinalists comprises less than one percent of all United States high school seniors and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.
National Merit Finalists will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships.
About 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships will also be given by about 230 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet those organizations’ criteria.
And, about 190 colleges and universities are expected to finance about 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists attending their sponsoring institution.
2017-18 Merit Scholarship winners will be announced between April-July 2018. They will join more than 330,000 other distinguished students who have earned the title of National Merit Scholar.