The National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced that Wilton High School senior Avni Gupta was named as one of this year’s National Merit Scholarship winners. Gupta is one of the 2,500 Merit Scholar designees across the country who were selected from a talent pool of more than 15,000 finalists in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program.

National Merit Scholarship winners are the finalists in each state judged to have
the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

Scholars are selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT); contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2021 when high school juniors took the PSAT/NMSQT, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than 1.0% of the nation’s high school seniors, were named semifinalists on a state-representational basis. More than 16,000 semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition.

From the semifinalist group, over 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. By the conclusion of the 2023 program, more than 7,140 Finalists will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received a total of nearly $28 million in college scholarships.

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