Southwestern High School would like to congratulate David Damond Vance for his selection as a Semifinalist in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. David was one of 16,000 academically talented high school seniors who has the opportunity to compete for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million 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. Over 90 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the title of National Merit Scholar.
Over 1.5 million juniors in approximately 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 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 highest scoring entrants in each state.
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
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, established in 1955, is a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance 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 campions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.