No Demerits for this National Merit Finalist


Eddie Nguyen, News Editor

Michael W. Nguyen, 12, after a very rigorous process, has qualified as a finalist for the National Merit Scholarship.

Currently, Michael is in the finalist position, where he awaits his results which will determine whether or not he will receive a scholarship to a college of his choice.

“It’s very exciting. Michael’s worked very hard to get to where he is. He’s had nothing handed to him and deserves every bit of what he has coming,” said Ms.Vasquez, Michael’s counselor.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, NMSC, is an organization whose goal is to acknowledge and honor students who stand out academically and reward them. According to the NMSC website, their goals are to promote a wider respect for learning, shine a spotlight on individuals of great academic talent and success, and to gain the support of other organizations to sponsor scholarships for outstanding scholastic talent.

In order to qualify for the award in general, the student must pass under three qualifications. According to the NMSC, the student must take the PSAT in their junior year, be in high school with plans to attend a college immediately after graduation, and be a U.S. citizen and if not, have the intentions of becoming one.

After meeting all these basic requirements, majority of the elimination process afterwards is determined by your PSAT score. For each state, there is a certain score the student must reach or surpass. As of 2018, the score one must reach is a minimum of 1470, or in terms of the NMSQT, an index score of 222.

Of all the students who do take the PSAT, about 50,000 of them with the highest scores qualify for NMSP recognition. Once the 50,000 are selected, two-thirds of them will receive letters of commendation. Students who receive this are not eligible for the scholarship award. The remaining one-third are now considered National Merit Scholarship semifinalists.

These semifinalists will now move on to the next step and submit their National Merit Scholarship application in order to move on and become a finalist. Entering the month of February, students are notified on whether or not they have achieved the spot of finalist, which is approximately 15,000 positions. This is where senior, Michael Nguyen, currently stands.

Michael is now in the position of a finalist. Along with the other 15,000, about 8,200 of them will be awarded one of several different kinds of Merit Scholarships. These scholarships will be awarded to the remaining number of students based upon their skills, abilities, and accomplishments as displayed on their application.

“I’d say it was a really amazing moment when I got the letter, it’s one thing for people to say ‘yeah you sort of qualify,’ but another for you to somehow actually be part of 15,000 students who rank this high,” said Michael Nguyen.