The National Merit Scholarship Program is a nation-wide competition for high school juniors based on their PSAT scores. This scholarship is an incredibly competitive program, and out of the 1.5 million students that enter each year, only 16,000 make it to the semifinals.
This year, eight students at Calabasas High have made it to the semifinals.
The semifinalists from CHS are Mallory Cooper, Malyssa Eddy, Isabella Lozada, Joshua Piesner, Jacob Rosoff, Zachary Rosoff, Jackson Shapiro and Ela Trivedi. In addition to high PSAT scores, the students were chosen in honor of their hardwork and dedication both inside and outside the classroom.
“You need recommendations,” said Goldstein. “They look at your community service, and they look at what employment you may have. You don’t automatically qualify just by taking the test.”
Less than 1 percent of U.S. students are selcted into the National Merit Scholarship Program, making it highly selective. If they are a chosen finalist, students will have the opportunity to win scholarship money for college, as well as gain recognition from high schools and universities.
“The students get to put on their resume that they have joined the 360,000 recipients who have earned a National Merit Scholarship since [the program] has been in place,” said Goldstein.
After reaching the semifinals of the program in September, students can then apply for finalist standing. Applications for finals are due around October, and then based on students’ skills and accomplishments, finalists are chosen to win Merit Scholarship awards at the end of the school year.