College and Corporate National Merit Scholars Announced

Students arriving at Wilton High School.

National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) recently announced winners of National Merit Scholarships awarded by both private corporations and US colleges and universities. Four Wilton High School students were among the National Merit Scholar finalists who received either corporate- or college-awarded scholarships.

College-Sponsored Merit Scholarship Winners

Wilton High School graduating seniors Nathan G. Wang and Austin Xie were among the more than 3,100 winners of National Merit Scholarships financed by U.S. colleges and universities. Both Wang and Xie received the award from the University of Chicago.

Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the Finalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program who plan to attend their institution. These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

An additional group of college-financed scholars will be announced in July, bringing the total number of college-sponsored Merit Scholarship recipients in the 2021 competition to about 4,000.

Corporate-Sponsored Merit Scholarship Winners

Earlier this spring, the NMSC released the names of approximately 1,000 distinguished high school seniors who won corporate-sponsored 2021 National Merit Scholarship awards financed by about 140 corporations, company foundations, and other business organizations.

WHS students Nathaniel S. Newcomer was awarded the National Merit J. Walter Thompson Company Scholarship, and Ahrav Soi was awarded the National Merit James E. Casey Scholarship sponsored by The UPS Foundation.

Scholars were selected from students who advanced to the Finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met criteria of their scholarship sponsors. Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for Finalists who are children of their employees, who are residents of communities the company serves, or who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor wishes to encourage.

Most of these awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that range from $1,000 to $10,000 per year. Some provide a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000. Recipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university of their choice.

2021 National Merit Scholarship Competition

By the conclusion of this year’s competition, about 7,500 academic champions will have won National Merit Scholarships worth approximately $30 million.

Earlier this spring, NMSC announced National Merit $2,500 Scholarships. Wilton High School senior Connor Allen was among the 2,500 winners from across the country.

Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, approximately 17,000 Semifinalists were named on a state-representational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors.

Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.

To compete for Merit Scholarship awards, Semifinalists first had to advance to the Finalist level of the competition by fulfilling additional requirements. Each Semifinalist was asked to submit a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record and be endorsed and recommended by a high school official. From the Semifinalist group, some 16,000 met the requirements for Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will be Merit Scholarship winners in 2021.

NMSC, a not-for-profit corporation that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 to conduct the National Merit Scholarship Program. The majority of National Merit Scholarships provided each year are made possible by the support of approximately 400 independent corporate and college sponsors. These sponsors join NMSC in its efforts to enhance educational opportunities for America’s scholastically talented youth and to encourage the pursuit of academic excellence.


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