Plainfield East High School seniors Saumya Madhan, Jeffrey Tilkin, and Ibrahim Yousuf are among about 16,000 National Merit Scholarship 2021 semifinalists nationwide.
The PEHS trio will compete for 7,600 National Merit Scholarship awards, worth about $30 million.
The awards will be announced next spring. This is the 66th year of the prestigious program, which honors academically talented high school seniors.
About 15,000 of the 16,000 semifinalists for this school year are expected to be named Finalists, and about half of the Finalists will be named National Merit Scholars.
To become a National Merit Finalist, students must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier qualifying performance.
The semifinalist and a school official must also submit a detailed scholarship application, including the student’s self-descriptive essay and information about the student’s participation and leadership in school and community activities.
About 1.5 million high school juniors in over 21,000 high schools nationwide entered the 2021 National Merit Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
The pool of semifinalists comprises less than one percent of all United States high school seniors and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.
National Merit Finalists will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships.
About 220 corporations and businesses will also give about 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships to finalists who meet those organizations’ criteria.
And, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance about 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists attending their sponsoring institution.
The 2021 Merit Scholarship winners will be announced between April-July 2020. They will join more than 353,000 other distinguished students who have earned the title of National Merit Scholar.