By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News
Leander ISD Superintendent Bret Champion announced that 30 students were distinguished as semifinalists in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program based on their outstanding performances on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
National Merit semifinalists, who represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, include the highest scoring entrants in each state. The number of National Merit semifinalists in LISD represents a 43-percent increase from last year, Champion said.
Fourteen students at Vandegrift High School are semifinalists.
“These students scored a 220 or higher on their 2015 PSAT,” said Christa Thompson Martin, VHS dean of instruction. “This is an incredible academic accomplishment for our Vipers.”
“These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,400 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring,” Thompson Martin said.
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.
Although Commended students do not continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships, some of these students do become candidates for special scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.
“Congratulations to these hardworking students for their outstanding performances on the PSAT/NMSQT,” Champion said. “On behalf of the entire school district, we are tremendously proud to have so many students earn this most prestigious honor. I know we will continue to see great things from these students in the years to come.”
To ensure that all students are on college-ready paths, on Wednesday, Oct. 14 LISD will administer the PSAT/NMSQT to all 9th, 10th and 11th grade students.
The PSAT/NMSQT assesses reading, math, and writing skills; provides practice for the SAT; and connects students to scholarships and personalized online tools. In addition, students in the 11th grade may be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship program and other award programs that look at PSAT/NMSQT scores.
The PSAT/NMSQT is a powerful college-readiness tool because it uses the same format and evaluates the same skills as the SAT. Students who take the PSAT/NMSQT get a custom SAT study plan based on their results. After the test, students receive feedback on how ready they are for college and have access to tools that help them improve. Students also get free access to My College QuickStart, which includes an interactive score report, a personality test, major and career suggestions and a starter list of colleges. On the day the PSAT/NMSQT is administered, students will have the option to receive free information about college admissions and financial aid information, as well as universities and scholarship programs that are interested in them.
Visit the LISD College and Career Readiness website for more information about the PSAT/NMQST and access the free resources available.