Today, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation named 10 Wilton High School students as 2024 National Merit Semifinalists. Those 10 students, members of the Class of 2024, are Christopher R. Du, Shawn Gregory, Illeas W. Paschalidis, Arjun N. Patel, Katherine M. Rusin, Arian Shah, Saniya T. Shah, Siddharth Suneja, Shayna M. Wilson-Spiro, and Daniel Zoubarev.

These 10 academically talented WHS students were among the over 16,000 highest-scoring entrants out of 1.3 million students nationwide who took the fall 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) as juniors. The top-scoring entrants in each state were named National Merit Semifinalists as part of the program’s 69th year, representing less than 1.0% of this year’s U.S. high school seniors.

Recognized seminfinalists have the opportunity to continue in the National Merit competition and be considered for approximately 7,140 Merit Scholarship awards worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 95% (more than 15,000) of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and approximately half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Students who advance to the finalist level will be notified in February of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without
regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 840 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 160 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 160 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2024 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join nearly 375,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.

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