About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2020 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who took the PSAT/ NMSQT test in 2018.Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools across the country entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants, according to a National Merit Scholarship Corporation press release, and the nationwide pool of semiﬁnalists includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.
To become a finalist, semifinalists must submit a detailed scholarship application that includes information about their academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received, according to the press release. Finalists will be notified in February 2020, and scholarship winners will be announced between April and July. From the 16,000 semiﬁnalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, according to the press release; of those, approximately half will win a National Merit Scholarship. Laura Bocek’s scores have placed her in the top 16,000 test takers in the nation and qualify her to advance to the next round. She will have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.
“Those being named Commended and Semi-Finalist students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented a spokesperson for NMSC. “These students represent a valuable national resource: recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”