Six members of the Class of 2020 are National Merit Semifinalists
Six members of the Class of 2020 are National Merit Semifinalists

Six seniors have been named Semifinalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. They are: Neil Badlani, Will Beyreis, Eashwar Kantemneni, Anushka Nair, Sylvia Nica and Renee Twyford.

Approximately 16,000 Semifinalists have been named in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors 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. About 15,000 Semifinalists are expected to advance to the Finalist level.

Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. Over 90% of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar title.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (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 the 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.


Six seniors named National Merit Semifinalists are, from left, Sylvia Nica, Eashwar Kantemneni, Neil Badlani, Will Beyreis, Renee Twyford and Anushka Nair.