Five Culver Academies seniors/first-classmen – Catherine Bevil (Omaha, Neb.), Eleanor Ericson (Culver), Dhruva Mehta (Bourbonnais, Ill.), Michael Noronha (Lake Forest, Ill.), and Suraag Srinivas (Chelmsford, Mass.) – have been named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.
They are among 124 students from 34 boarding schools across the country to receive the designation. The National Merit Scholarship program honors individual students for their exceptional scholastic potential, as measured by the National Merit Qualifying Test, the PSAT. Semifinalists’ qualifying score was at least 218, which corresponds roughly to a 2,200 on the SAT, Academic Dean Kevin MacNeil said at the Sept. 9 academic convocation.
About 1.4 million high school juniors in more than 22,000 high schools take the PSAT/NMSQT. From that pool comes 34,000 commended scholars and 16,000 semifinalists. The semifinalists represent less than one percent of the total population who took the initial exam.
Merit Scholarship semifinalists must fulfill several requirements before advancing as a finalist. The five Culver students are now eligible to continue in the competition for one of approximately 7,400 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million. The awards include National Merit Scholarships of $2,500, corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarships, and college-sponsored Merit Scholarships.
Scholarship winners are selected based on their academic records, information about the school’s curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, high school officials’ written recommendations, information of the student’s activities and leadership, and each finalist’s own essay.
National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced starting in March and conclude by mid-June. The National Merit Scholarship Corporation has been in operation since 1955. It is a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance.