LISD Reports 13-Percent Increase in National Merit Semifinalists

LISD Reports 13-Percent Increase in National Merit Semifinalists
Posted on 09/13/2017
2017 National Merit Semifinalists

2017 National Merit Semifinalists

Leander ISD Superintendent Dan Troxell, Ph.D., announced that 26 students were distinguished as Semifinalists in the 2018 National Merit Scholarship Program based on their outstanding performances on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

National Merit Semifinalists, who represent less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, include the highest scoring entrants in each state. These accomplished high school seniors will compete for scholarships worth approximately $32 million next spring.

  • Photos of the 2017 National Merit SemifinalistsCedar Park High School - Ryan Cormia, William Ingarfield, Mina Kim, Cristina O’Hanlon
  • Leander High School - Abigail King
  • Rouse High School David Simpson
  • Vandegrift High SchoolNikita Agarwal, Shruthi Balasubramanian, Anya Chintapalli, Kendall Cuddy, Hannah Curley, William Fisher, Alex Fontani Herreros, Vyshali Gondi, Rayhan Jhanji, Ashwin Kalidas, Viswanath Kasireddy, Victor Lai, Samiksha Mulpuri, Sonesh Patel, Caroline Risner, Megan Varghese, Evan Welliver
  • Vista Ridge High School - Cole Connor, Samuel Hargrave, Grant Larson

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 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 Merit Scholar title.

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 awarded by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 420 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 ensure that all students are on college-ready paths, on Wednesday, Oct. 11, LISD will administer the PSAT to all eighth- and ninth-grade students and the PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) to all 10th- and 11th-grade students. Both levels of the PSAT assess reading, math and writing skills; provide practice for the SAT; and connect students to scholarships and personalized online tools. In addition, 11th-grade students may be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship program and other award programs that look at PSAT/NMSQT scores.

“We are proud to offer the PSAT to all of our eighth-through 11th-graders, exposing all students to this nationally normed assessment, which highlights their strengths and weaknesses before taking SAT and/or ACT as juniors,” LISD Director of College and Career Readiness Lisa Nucci said. “Access to personalized practice and feedback on the PSAT through Khan Academy can be a game-changer for building student confidence before taking the SAT and/or ACT.”

The PSAT is a powerful college-readiness tool because it uses the same format and evaluates the same skills as the SAT. After the test, students receive personalized feedback on how ready they are for college and are provided free access to Khan Academy (click here for more information on Khan Academy) to help them improve. On the day the PSAT is administered, students will have the option to receive free information about college admissions and financial aid information, as well as universities and scholarship programs that are interested in them.

Visit the LISD College Readiness and Admission Testing website for more information about the PSAT and access the free resources available.