Weather Forecast


Three area students are National Merit semifinalists

Three area high school seniors are among 16,000 semifinalists in the 2011 National Merit Scholarship Program.

The semifinalists in west central Minnesota include Emma S. Ostby of New London-Spicer High School, Johnna M. Bratt of BOLD High School in Olivia, and Samuel J. Benson of Willmar High School.

The list of semifinalists was released this week. They will compete for 8,400 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $36 million, according to a news release from the program.

About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to be finalists, and approximately half of the finalists will win a scholarship and earn the Merit Scholar title.

Scholarships are underwritten by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation with its own funds and by approximately 450 businesses and colleges.

About 1.5 million juniors entered the 2011 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2009 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. The semifinalists represent less than 1 percent of high school seniors.

To become a finalist, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed by his or her high school principal and earn SAT scores consistent with earlier performance. They are also judged by the scholarship application, which includes a student essay and information about participation in school and community activities.

Finalists compete for three types of scholarships. The program awards 2,500 scholarships distributed among the states.

The scholarships are worth $2,500.

About 1,000 corporate-sponsored awards will be provided by 250 business organizations for finalists who meet their criteria. Scholarships from 200 colleges and universities will be awarded to 4,900 finalists who will attend those institutions.