National Merit Finalists Announced

News  /  by Will Madonia '18  /  February 17, 2017

Lisa Kim '17/The Lawrence

This past Monday, Zandra Campbell ’17, Sydney Friedland ’17, Matthew Kim ’17, Brian Li ’17, Michael Man ’17, Panos Vandris ’17, Yiannis Vandris ’17, Ricky Williams ’17, Cathy Wu ’17, Jay Yalamanchili ’17, and Michael Zhao ’17 were notified of their selection as National Merit Finalists. Of the 1.6 million National Merit Scholarship entrants, fewer than one percent are honored as finalists, chosen on grounds of “abilities, skills, and accomplishments.” Founded in 1955, the National Merit Scholarships aims to “promote a wider and deeper respect for learning” by “[shining] a spotlight on brilliant students.”

The finalists began their application process on September 14, 2016, when they were notified of their semifinalist status after achieving PSAT/NMSQT scores in New Jersey’s top percentile. To advance to the finalist round, applicants submit SAT scores, a transcript, and a personal essay. Roughly half of the finalist pool will be awarded scholarships by July 17, 2017.

Winners will receive one of three $2,500 scholarships: the National Merit Scholarship, the corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship, or the college-sponsored Merit Scholarship. The corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship is awarded to winners with career plans that a sponsoring corporation “wishes to encourage,” or whose parents are employed by a corporate sponsor. College-sponsored scholarships are awarded to winners committed to attending a sponsoring institution. Semifinalists who do not qualify as finalists can submit detailed applications for a Special Scholarship from a corporate sponsor as well.

“I’m glad to have made it to the next step in the application process, because now the application isn’t just about a test score,” said Wu. “[The process] has been a good way to demonstrate what I have learned.”

“I have learned so much from my experiences talking with faculty, performing with my friends, and late-night conversations sleeping over Saturday nights in Woodhull,” said Kim, reflecting on the many facets of a Lawrenceville education. “I hope the application will provide the space for me to share all I’ve learned.”