EDISON – Ashni Mehta of Piscataway, a senior at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, is one of approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 58th annual National Merit Scholarship Program, according to school officials. She remains in the running to be a winner of a $2,500 scholarship. Mehta was one of 1.5 million high school students in the competition.
These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,400 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $34 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.
To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance in the qualifying test. The semifinalists and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student’s essay and information about the semifinalist’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.
NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.