Eliya N. Baker, Allison K. Duffin and Katherine E. Harrison of DeKalb and Katelyn E. Dray of Maple Park are among 16,000 semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship program. These academically talented high school seniors can continue in the competition for about 8,300 scholarships worth a total of more than $32 million. About 90 percent of semifinalists are expected to become finalists, and more than half of the finalists will become national Merit Scholars.
The initial pool of applicants were those high school juniors who took the Preliminary SAT, or PSAT, test last year. The highest-scoring entrants in each state were entered into the pool of semifinalists, which represents less than 1 percent of all US high school seniors.
To become a finalist, students and their schools must submit an application detailing the applicant's academic record, participation in school and community activities, leadership abilities and honors and awards, plus a recommendation from the school and an essay.