Beyza Batca, Larry Han, Justin B. Palpant, Dominic Sirkin and Jeremy Weiss are named as National Merit Scholar Semifinalists. The five Leesville seniors are among 16,000 other semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
“After I became a semifinalist , I felt full-filled. It was my life’s dream,” Han said.
The National Merit Scholarship Program is a prestigious academic contest available to students who meet three conditions: must take the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) no later than their junior year, must be enrolled as a high school student and plan on entering college immediately after high school, and must be a citizen of the US.
National Merit Scholarships provide great college opportunities, as the Semifinalists are discovering.
“We have already been sent a ton of scholarship opportunities. It is pretty encouraging because it opens up a lot more college choices,” said Sirkin.
Becoming a National Merit Scholar is very competitive. Out of the 1.5 million entrants, around 50,000 students are recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program. Of those 50,000, about 16,000 students succeed in becoming Semifinalists, and 15,000 Semifinalists proceed to becoming Finalists.
Han and Sirkin have ambitious plans regarding college, and both feel that being a Semifinalist provides many opportunities.
“I have four colleges in mind. State, Duke, Chapel-Hill and MIT,” said Sirkin.
Han also plans on applying to academically rigorous school, such as the colleges in the Ivy League.
While the chances of being a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist are small, the rewards and benefits of winning such an esteemed competition are great.