Seniors recognized as National Merit semifinalists

Seven students awarded for high academic achievement


Seniors Ayato Kobayashi, Rebecca Muratore, Julia Ruskin, Zachary Katz, Sherry Shi, Julia Kim, and Jamie Littman were recognized as National Merit semifinalists.

Hannah Roth, Staff Writer

Seven Schreiber students were recognized as National Merit semifinalists this year.  The chosen students are seniors Zachary Katz, Julia Kim, Ayato Kobayashi, Jamie Littman, Rebecca Muratore, Julia Ruskin, and Sherry Shi.

The students were selected based on their scores in last year’s October Preliminary SAT exam, which doubles as the National Merit Qualifying Test.  Although both sophomores and juniors were able to take this practice exam, only the juniors’ scores are considered for the National Merit Scholarship Competition.

Many high schools encourage their students to take the PSAT during their sophomore year first because it will better prepare them for the test they will take the following year.  Juniors therefore usually walk into the exam with the knowledge that if they receive a certain score, they will become eligible to become semifinalists.

This year, the cutline index score for the class of 2018 semifinalists in New York was 221.  Only around sixteen thousand students were named semifinalists in the 63rd  National Merit Scholarship Competition out of the 1.6 million high school juniors who took the PSAT.  Within New York state, a total of 933 students earned this academic honor.

“We are all excited that we got to this point,” said Littman.

The selection process for National Merit Finalists now continues. Of the current semifinalists, approximately ninety percent will likely be named as finalists.

This decision will be based on the student’s’ PSAT score, as well as recommendations, an essay, and their academic and extracurricular records.  The National Merit Organization ensures that each Finalist is an active student and member in their community.  From there, around half of the Finalists will be awarded a National Merit Scholarship.

“Now we fill out an application similar to a college application, and about half of the semifinalists become finalists who then get the scholarship money,” said Littman.

Last year, six Schreiber seniors were recognized as National Merit semifinalists.  Becoming a National Merit semifinalist is a highly regarded academic honor.  The idea of the scholarships are to help high-achieving students maximize their academic potential by giving them an ability to stand out from their peers.

“I was really excited when I found out that I was recognized as a semifinalist and it is really an honor,” said Kim.

The semifinalists represent less than one percent of the total number of U.S. high school seniors.  The students will now be awaiting the mail in February to see if they have advanced to the Finalist standing.