Last week, The National Merit Scholarship issued the announcement that a Southborough resident received a high honor. Matthew Walsh, who just graduated from St. Mark’s High School, received a $2,500 scholarship.
What makes the recognition especially sweet, beyond the check it comes with, is the high bar required to get it. Walsh was one of a small percent to be named a Merit Scholar®.
While the press release went out this month, the school got the news in May. At that time the school posted to its website:
Matthew Walsh ’19, a day student from Southborough, was named a National Merit Scholar. Head of School John C. Warren ’74 announced the honor at school meeting on May 15.
1.6 million high school students nationwide are candidates in the National Merit Scholarship program, but just one half of one percent of that number earn National Merit Scholar recognition and receive scholarship funding.
Congratulations, Matt, on an outstanding achievement.
The program’s press release explains:
Recipients of National Merit $2500 Scholarships were selected by a committee of college admission officers and high school counselors who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by Finalists and their schools. Evaluated were each Finalist’s academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned, contributions and leadership in school and community activities, an essay written by the Finalist, and the recommendation written by a high school official.
This year’s competition for National Merit Scholarships began in October 2017 when over 1.6 million juniors in approximately 22,000 U.S. high schools took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.
Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the state’s seniors, were named Semifinalists on a state-representational basis. Only these 16,000 Semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition.
Approximately 90 percent of the Semifinalists met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the Finalist level. By the conclusion of the 2019 competition, more than half of the 15,000 Finalists will be Merit Scholarship winners, earning the Merit Scholar® title.