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Thursday 8 December 2022
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63 Students in Buffalo and Rochester Named as Semifinalists for National Merit Scholarship

As yet another school year begins, 63 high school students in the Buffalo and Rochester area have started out exceptionally well, being named as semifinalists for the 2016 National Merit Scholarship.

Graduation Day. Clipping path included.The students are all high school seniors and are part of a nationwide list of 16,000 semifinalists, which was released by the National Merit Scholarship Corp. on Wednesday morning.

Forty of the Western NYS students are from the Rochester area, and 23 students are from eight counties in and around the Buffalo area. There are 962 students from New York State who have been named as semifinalists, and who will be competing for the approximate 7,600 individual scholarships.

For a complete list of the semifinalists in New York State, a database is available through the Buffalo Business Journal, as is a slideshow naming the 63 honorees.

According to the official website of the National Merit Scholarship Corp., all students must take the PSAT/NMSQT qualifying test to be considered in the program, and this test must be taken by the student’s third year of high school (defined as grades 9 through 12), regardless of the student’s “grade classification or education pattern.”

The program is open to all students attending traditional high schools (public and private), as well as homeschooled students, so long as each is “progressing normally toward graduation or completion of high school, and planning to enroll full time in college no later than the fall following completion of high school.”

It’s estimated that around 1.5 million students take the qualifying tests each year, which are comprised of critical reading, mathematics, and writing skills.

Because average test scores vary from year to year, academic performance is determined on an annual sliding scale. PSAT/NMSQT scores have no bearing on a student’s acceptance into college, but many schools view these tests as indicators of students’ SAT scores. The national average for SAT scores is currently at 497 in critical reading, 541 in math, and 489 in writing.

Out of the 1.5 million test takers, approximately 50,000 high scoring students are entered into the Scholarship competition. Two-thirds of the highest-scoring students (approximately 34,000) receive Letters of Commendation for outstanding academic performance, and one-third (approximately 16,000) students are announced each September as Semifinalists in the program.

Finalists will be announced in February 2016, and winners will be announced in June.