Nine Darien High School seniors have been named National Merit Semifinalists: Julia Pfrommer, Shriya Desai, Kai Zhou, Nick Derby, Sean Huffert and Jack Roberson, Sophia Talwalkar, Skyler Bennett, Emma Williams.

These students will continue in the National Merit program and will be candidates to receive a scholarship from the program. “We are so proud of this exceptional group of students and wish them well as the process moves forward,” said Principal Ellen Dunn.

The approximately 16,000 semi-finalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semi-finalists must fulfi ll several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition.

Over 90 percent of the semi-finalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifi cally to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC 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.

A semi-finalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 Semifi nalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in February they will be notifi ed 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

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2020 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 345,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.