Highland Park High School principal Walter Kelly looks at the 14 seniors named semifinalists in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship competition and sees a cross-section of his campus.
“They are involved in community service, UIL academic teams, athletics, music, theater, and more,” Kelly said. “Not only are they incredibly smart, but they each have their own unique passions and interests, and they pour their heart into those activities.”
More than 1.6 million high school juniors from across the country entered into the program by taking the Preliminary SAT in spring of 2017, and only 16,000 of these students qualified as semifinalists.
The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than 1 percent of high school seniors. These students will continue in the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s competition for 7,500 scholarships worth $33 million that will be offered in the spring.
Nationally, approximately 15,000 of the semifinalists are expected to advance to become finalists, and it is from this group that National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.