We are incredibly proud of the following Bobcats who have been named 2020 National Merit Scholarship Finalists. The students are:
The distinction means that these twenty-one students are among 16,000 plus National Merit Scholarship Finalists nationwide. Each student will have the opportunity to compete for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships—and earn the nationally recognized and coveted title of National Merit Scholar.
"I am absolutely delighted that so many students in the class of 2020 have achieved this high honor. These students have accomplished something truly remarkable," said Head of School Toby Walker.
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 participate in the program when they take the PSAT exam. From there, the accolades come in four steps over the students' junior and senior years of high school:
Step 1: 1.5 million students are narrowed down to about 50,000 National Merit Commended Scholars by spring of the students’ junior year. For our current group of National Merit Scholarship Finalists, this means they took the PSAT in the autumn of 2018, and were Commended Scholars in the spring of 2019.
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. Twenty-four BASIS Independent Silicon Valley students were named National Merit Semifinalists in September, 2019.
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 7,600 nationwide—are announced in the spring. This year’s scholarship recipients will share about $31 million in scholarship money, and join more than 345,000 other distinguished young people who have earned a National Merit Scholar award.
We could not be more proud of each of these students, as well as each of the students who participated in the program. Every one of these students has shown tremendous fortitude and resolve; it is remarkable. Way to go—and best of luck going forward!
Please join us in congratulating these incredible students in the comments below.