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Four Dist. 202 students named National Merit semifinalists

9/10/2015, 2:14 p.m.
The students are part of a field of 16,000 semifinalists nationally and now compete to be named finalists.
Emily Terian

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Phoebe Snydersmith

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Paul Wilkens

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Amanda Swanson

Central Campus senior Phoebe Snydersmith; Plainfield North High School seniors Emily Terian and Paul Wilkens; and Plainfield South High School senior Amanda Swanson are among about 16,000 National Merit Scholarship 2015-16 semifinalists nationwide.

The 2015-2016 school year is the 61st year of the prestigious program, which honors academically talented high school seniors and lets them compete for 7,400 National Merit Scholarship awards, worth more than $32 million. The awards will be announced next spring.

About 15,000 of the 16,000 2015-16 semifinalists are expected to be named Finalists, and about half of the Finalists will be named National Merit Scholars.

To become a National Merit Finalist, students must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier qualifying performance.

The semifinalist and a school official must also submit a detailed scholarship application, including the student's self-descriptive essay and information about the student's participation and leadership in school and community activities.

About 1.5 million high school juniors in over 22,000 high schools nationwide entered the 2015-16 National Merit Program by taking the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The pool of semifinalists comprises less than one percent of all United States high school seniors and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.

National Merit Finalists will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 scholarships.

About 1,000 corporate-sponsored scholarships will also be given by about 250 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet those organizations' criteria.

And, about 190 colleges and universities are expected to finance about 3,900 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists attending their sponsoring institution.

2015-16 Merit Scholarship winners will be announced between April-July 2016. They will join more than 315,000 other distinguished students who have earned the title of National Merit Scholar.