36 Amador seniors announced as semifinalists for National Merit Scholarship Program

Competitive scholarships, next steps for semifinalists


Diana Schwartz

Amador seniors performed well in the PSAT/NMSQT test held last spring, with 36 semifinalists selected.

Diana Schwartz, Staff Writer

36 Amador seniors were designated semifinalists for the National Merit Scholarship program on Sept. 14. 

Semifinalists are selected based on the results of the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) taken in 2021. Over 16,000 students who met participation requirements were chosen based on their Selection Index scores.

Arya Deshpande (‘23) was pleasantly surprised when she found out she qualified as a semifinalist. 

 “When I found out, it felt good to see all your hard work pay off,” said Arya Deshpande (‘23).

Lists of these Semifinalists are sent to four-year colleges and universities that benefit these students for college applications, and NMSC spotlights these semifinalists nationwide to spark interest in educational excellence.

“Now that it’s announced, we have until the end of September to submit all of our materials and an essay—very similar to what you’d do for a college application,” said semifinalist Isabelle Lo (‘23)

To be considered for the Merit Scholarship, semifinalists must next complete an online application as well as meet other requirements, involving qualification by location, education, having endorsement from one’s high school principal, sending in SAT/ACT scores, and submitting an essay.

“I’m a little worried because I know it’ll take time to iron out a good essay, but I’m excited to see what comes after,” said Lo.

The school is responsible for providing the program with accurate information about the school as well as the students. Furthermore, students need to submit letters of recommendation.

Amador supports students by staff writing letters of recommendation as well as helping them through the process of completing their application,” said Amador vice principal Athena Duran.

Each Finalist will be sent a letter to let them know of their selection on Feb. 13, 2023. Those not selected will also be informed by letters, whether to the high school or the individual’s home. According to the program’s press release, about 4.5% of all the initial semifinalists will be chosen as winners of this year’s competition.

“Semifinalists are the highest scorers in each of the 50 states and represent less than one percent of each state’s high school seniors. Although Semifinalists qualifying scores vary from one state to another, the scores of all Semifinalists are extremely high,” said the press release.