The 2016 finalists for the National Merit Scholarship Program were announced on Feb. 10, including senior Ryan Manny. Manny achieved the finals by virtue of his PSAT score, along with a secondary application that included an essay. His score exceeded the cutoff for Washington State, 220, by three points.
Approximately 16,000 semifinalists competed in the next level of the program in order to advance to the finals and earn one of the 7,400 National Merit Scholarships being offered, as well as to become eligible for a variety of other scholarships from various colleges. Of the 16,000 semifinalists, 15,000 advanced to the finals.
The PSAT is a College Board test, along with the SAT and the AP program, but it is managed in part by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Scores from the 11th grade PSAT qualify students for the National Merit Scholarship Program, though advancement past the semifinals is based on other qualifications — an essay, a recommendation from a principal and a list of achievements, among others.
Once a competitor reaches the finals, their advancement is dependent on a holistic evaluation of their application and any other qualifications, such as extracurriculars. The finalists will be notified if they receive one of the 7,400 scholarships sometime in June.
“I can feel the honor coursing through my veins already,” Manny said. “I’m excited to see which juniors get commended this year.”