Two Edmonds School District students were named semifinalists in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Lillian Geil of Edmonds-Woodway High School and Brooke Rinehimer of Mountlake Terrace High School are among approximately 16,000 who made the list nationwide.
These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 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.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.
Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.
High school juniors entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors, 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 the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. 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.