The 2,500 Merit Scholar designees were chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists in the 2013 National Merit Scholarship Program. National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.
These Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from two standardized tests; contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.
This year’s competition for National Merit Scholarships began in Oct. 2011 when approximately 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.
Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than 1 percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named semifinalists on a state representational basis.