About 1.5 million juniors in nearly 22,000 high schools entered the 2012 National Merit Program by taking the 2010 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, which represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.
These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,300 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $34 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. 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.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2012 will be announced nationwide beginning in April and concluding in July.
Scholarships are underwritten by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation with its own funds and by approximately 440 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.