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12 Mira Costa High School Seniors Named National Merit Semi-Finalists

Sep 14, 2022 08:24AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Twelve Mira Costa High School seniors have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program. They are among just 16,000 academically talented seniors in the country who will compete for nearly $28 million in National Merit scholarships in the spring.

Those students are:
  • Benjamin Blum
  • Andrew Cherry
  • Karyn Fu
  • Kyle Fukumoto
  • Tucker Gauss
  • Ethan Harrison
  • Alexander Holcomb
  • Heather Jensen
  • Cindy Lin
  • Dashiell Rumble
  • Kiran Shah
  • Jacob Tan

Students entered the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in their junior year. That test served as an initial screen of program entrants.

The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, is taken from the highest-scoring 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.)

*Note: The National Merit Scholarship Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The program does not measure the quality or effectiveness of education within a school, system, or state.


Finalists Compete for Scholarship Money


To become a finalist, the semifinalist must submit a detailed scholarship application, 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.

From over 16,000 semifinalists, more than 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists 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.

Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis.

About 950 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 180 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 160 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2023 will be announced in the late spring and early summer.

National Merit Scholarship in 68th Year


The National Merit Scholarship Program, now in its 68th year, is run by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. 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 340 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.

To date, nearly 368,000 young people have earned the Merit Scholar title.

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