Today, Samuel Birns of Rio Mesa High School, along with schoolmate Justin Tobey were announced as a National Merit Semifinalist.
The press release reads as follows:
(Evanston, Illinois) Today officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (nmsc)
announced the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 58th annual National Merit
Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to
continue in the competition for some 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32
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 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and more than half
of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.
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 440 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.
Steps in the 2013 Competition
About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2013 National Merit
Scholarship Program by taking the 2011 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 one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highestscoring
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 their high school 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, 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 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. 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 2013.
Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2500 Scholarships that will be
awarded on a state representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship
awards will be provided by approximately 240 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 200 colleges and
universities are expected to finance some 4,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards
for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2013 will be announced in four nationwide news
releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more
than 291,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.