We are incredibly proud of the following nineteen Bobcats who have been named 2018 National Merit Scholarship Finalists. The students are:

Nitya B.

William C.

Christopher H.

Jerry H.

Shrivats K.

Eish K.

Shreya K.

Alvin K.

Vinay K.

Bethany L.

Brian L.

Rishab M.

Sergey P.

Aaron S.

Anushree T.

Nikki W.

Patrick W.

Angela Y.

Lorne Z. 

The distinction means that these students are among 15,000 National Merit Scholarship Finalists nationwide. Each will have the opportunity to compete for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships—and earn the nationally recognized and coveted title of National Merit Scholar.

“These individual students have demonstrated academic excellence and mastery whenever the opportunity presents itself, and each one deserves this amazing honor,” said Head of School Toby Walker. “We are immensely proud of their achievements.”

The National Merit Scholarship Program is administered by the private, non-profit National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Each year, about 1.6 million high school juniors from 22,000 high schools all over the country are screened for the program when they take the PSAT exam. From there, the accolades come in four steps over the junior and senior years of high school:

Step 1: 1.6 million students are narrowed down to about 50,000 National Merit Commended Scholars by spring of the students’ junior year. For our current crop of National Merit Scholarship Finalists, this means they took the PSAT in the autumn of 2016, and were Commended Scholars by spring of 2017.

Step 2: At the beginning of the students’ senior year, 16,000 out of 1.6 million—or about 1% of those who took the PSAT—are named National Merit Semifinalists. These are the highest scoring students in each U.S. state, scoring in approximately the top 0.5% of all students in each state. Twenty-one BASIS Independent Silicon Valley students were named National Merit Semifinalists in September, 2017.

Step 3: Come February of senior year, about 15,000 students are named National Merit Finalists. To become a Finalist, Semifinalists submit an application that includes a personal essay, a record of academic excellence, recommendations from school officials, examples of leadership qualities or positions, and extracurricular achievements.

Step 4: National Merit Scholars—numbering about 7,500 nationwide—are announced in the spring. This year’s scholarship recipients will share about $35 million in scholarship money, and join more than 330,000 other distinguished young people who have earned a National Merit Scholar award.

We could not be prouder of these students, as well as each of the students who participated. Their tremendous fortitude and resolve is remarkable. Way to go, Bobcats—and best of luck going forward!

Please join us in congratulating these incredible students in the comments below.