The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) awarded Craig B. Burnett, a 2018 graduate of Parkview High School, a 2018 National Merit Scholarship financed by U.S. colleges and universities. Burnett, who plans to study architecture and is the recipient of the National Merit Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Scholarship, is the twelfth Gwinnett County Public Schools student to receive a College-sponsored Merit Scholarship. (The other 11 winners were announced in June. Six other Gwinnett students were named National Merit Scholars in May, earning $2,500 scholarships.)
Officials of each sponsor college selected their winners from among finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program who will attend their institution. The scholarships provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship. This year, 178 higher education institutions underwrote Merit Scholarship awards through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Sponsor colleges and universities include 100 private and 78 public institutions located in 44 states and the District of Columbia. College-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners are a part of the distinguished group of about 7,500 high school seniors who will receive National Merit Scholarships for college undergraduate study worth approximately $31 million.
More than 1.6 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the 2018 National Merit Scholarship competition when they took the 2016 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, approximately 16,000 semifinalists were named. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring from each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.
To compete for Merit Scholarship awards, semifinalists first had to advance to the Finalist level of the competition by fulfilling additional requirements. Each semifinalist submitted a detailed scholarship application, which included a written essay and information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT® scores that confirmed the qualifying test performance. From the semifinalist group, some 15,000 went on to be named finalists, and more than half of the finalists were named Merit Scholarship winners in 2018.