In September 2022, an impressive number of Wilton High School seniors — 12 — were named National Merit semifinalists for 2023. In February, they all were named finalists. Credit: contributed / Wilton High School

The following article was compiled from a press release.

An incredible 12 Wilton High School seniors were named 2023 National Merit Semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The seniors who were named are Lucy Beach, Justine Biersack, Garret Bouvier, Aaron Griffin, Avni Gupta, Vihan Jayawardhane, Gayathri Kaimal, Lukas Koutsoukos, Henry Rowley, Sean Thomas, Thomas F. Welch, and Joshua Zheng.

These academically talented students took the fall 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) as juniors; in all, over 16,000 students from around the country were named National Merit Semifinalists as part of the program’s 68th year.

The nationwide pool of Semifinalists represents less than 1.0% of U.S. high school seniors. These students have the opportunity to continue in the competition for approximately 7,250 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% 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.

Steps in the 2023 Competition

The 2021 PSAT/NMSQT served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

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.

From over 16,000 Semifinalists, more than 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified 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.

National Merit Scholarships

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2023. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 950 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 180 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 2023 will be announced beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 368,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.