Seniors Hannah Luo (left) and Janelle Li (right) have been named Merit Scholars and will receive $2,500 National Merit Scholarships. Dr. Kevin MacNeil made the announcement during the annual academic convocation on Wednesday.
Li (Saratoga, Calif.) and Luo (Batten Scholar/Canton, Mich.) were chosen from a national pool of 15,000 finalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship program. They were selected after being judged “to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies,” according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The selection committee is comprised of college admissions officers and high school counselors.
Recipients 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. The number of winners named in Indiana is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating seniors.
About 1.6 million high school juniors in more than 22,000 high schools took the initial screening test, the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in October 2017. From that pool, 34,000 commended scholars and 16,000 semifinalists were selected. Of that group, 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the finalist level. About half of the finalists will receive a scholarship. More than $31 million in college scholarships will be given out this year.