Twenty-four students earned National Merit Semifinalist status, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced Monday.
The students recognized were: Rachel Arnesen, Marit Björnlund, Benjamin Bouvier, Ryan Brand, Jana Butman, Allegra Caldera, Madeline Carrington, Jordan Chadwick, Xian Chang, Laura Elmendorf, Alison Foreman, David Goldman, Michelle Isaacs, Lucas Karron, Liam Knox, Pia Kochar, Hanna Lee, Samuel Pearl-Schwartz, Emily Rogers, Jacob Rosenblum, Brandon Shapiro, Rhiannon Smith, Sofia Todd and Kevin You.
Students become Semifinalists by surpassing a state-by-state minimum PSAT score that’ss subject to adjustment every year. This year, Maryland’s threshold was 219, two points lower than last year’s cutoff and one point lower than the previous year’s. About 16,000 students around the country qualify each year, approximately 220 of which are from Maryland.
“We’ve never had 24 students qualify as Semifinalists,” head of guidance Frances Landau said. “We’re very pleased.”
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation will offer about 8,300 scholarships totaling $32 million next spring, according to its website. To be considered for one of these scholarships, all Semifinalists must advance to the Finalist standing by meeting certain requirements such as submitting a detailed scholarship application complete with an essay and list of extracurriculars. Finalists must also have an outstanding GPA and recommendation from a school official.
“I would like to be a Finalist, but it’s an honor just getting to this point,” Arnesen said.