Juniors take PSAT while senior National Merit semi-finalists apply for scholarships


Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash

Fall is the season of sweaters, hot apple cider and raking leaves. If you’re a senior, it’s also the season of college applications, and if you’re a junior, the PSAT. These things connect through The National Merit Scholarship: a scholarship that you can use for any college. Anyone who gets a high enough score their junior year is eligible.

If students get over a certain score on the PSAT, they become a National Merit Semi-Finalist. The score you need to get varies by state, but you need to be in the top 1 percent.

Ella Edelstein is one of eight National Merit Semi-Finalists at Community. “All that happened was I got called down to the office,” Edelstein said. “ Marci was like ‘Congratulations!’ and I was like ‘Oh.’ I had kind of forgot about it, and then they announced it.”

Students are chosen to be a semi-finalist based on their PSAT score. From there, semi-finalists can send in an application to become finalists. This includes an essay portion, their SAT score and a list of extracurriculars. Most semi-finalists go on to become finalists. If they decide you’re worthy, congratulations! You are now a National Merit Scholar, and have a $2,500 scholarship to any college. However, colleges often like National Merit Scholars and will offer you additional scholarships to come to their school. There are also corporation scholarships for the children of corporation employees, but they aren’t as common.

“It would be nice because I think it might help with college apps and paying for college,” Edelstein said.

Another Semi-Finalist from Community is Garnet Bernier.

“It’s not really important to me, [the scholarship] isn’t huge,” Bernier said.

Bernier was eligible because of his PSAT scores, and decided to go through the application process.

Mei Seyfarth is a junior at Community who just took the PSAT, and says she doesn’t really care about becoming a National Merit Scholar. “I guess I don’t know enough about it to care, but I’m sure we’ll find out more about it later on,” she said.  

AJ Jacobson is another current junior at CHS and has a different outlook. “I actually have pretty high hopes for [becoming a National Merit Scholar] because I feel like I did pretty good on the PSAT,” Jacobson said. Jacobson doesn’t know the required PSAT score to qualify for a National Merit scholarship, but feels they did well enough.

So what happens next? For both the juniors and seniors, a period of waiting follows. Good luck to Community’s current juniors, and congratulations and good luck to Community’s National Merit Semi-Finalists.