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Rachel Hurst, a student at the North Carolina School of Science and Math, has been named a National Merit Scholarship semifinalist.
The daughter of Mark and Robin Hurst of Calabash, Rachel previously attended Brunswick County Early College High School (BCECHS). After completing her studies at the School of Science and Math, Rachel would like to go to either UNC Chapel Hill or Duke University where she plans to specialize in molecular genetics.
Another Brunswick County student, Michael Rahal, a BCECHS senior, was also named a National Merit semifinalist. He was featured in a previously published story about the scholarship program.
This is the third consecutive year BCECHS has had a semifinalist in the distinguished scholarship program.
About the program
This year there are 16,000 semifinalists in the 58th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition to try to earn some 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million. Those awards will be offered in the spring.
To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level.
About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is a nonprofit organization established in 1955. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by about 440 business organizations and higher education institutions.
About 1.5 million juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2011 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.
The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes 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.
To become a finalist, a semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application in which they provide an academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities and honors and awards.
A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.
From the about 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level and in February they will be notified of this designation.
All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists.
Merit Scholar designees are selected on basis of skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference.
Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in spring 2013.
Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis.
About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by about 240 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located.
In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.
National Merit Scholarship winners for 2013 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 291,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.
For more information about the competition, visit NMSC’s website at www.nationalmerit.org.