Columbus City Schools Student Among Semifinalists in the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program
Friday, September 11 -- Congratulations to Centennial High School Senior Jada Bledsoe, who is among the 16,000 Semifinalists announced today in the 66th annual 2021National Merit Scholarship Program.
Bledsoe is one of many academically talented high school seniors who have an opportunity to continue in the competition for about 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $30 million that will be oﬀered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semiﬁnalists must fulﬁll several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. Over 90 percent of the Semiﬁnalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and more than half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.
National Merit Scholarship winners of 2021 will be announced beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 353,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.
NMSC, a not-for-proﬁt organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 speciﬁcally to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.
Steps in the 2021 Competition
Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2021 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2019 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semiﬁnalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semiﬁnalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
To become a Finalist, the Semiﬁnalist and a high school oﬃcial must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semiﬁnalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semiﬁnalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school oﬃcial, and write an essay.
From the approximately 16,000 Semiﬁnalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notiﬁed of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.
National Merit Scholarships
Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be oﬀered in the spring of 2021. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their speciﬁed criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or oﬃces are located. In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to ﬁnance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.