Brammy Rajakumar ’19 has been recognized as a Semifinalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Brammy, who has attended Norfolk Academy since first grade, is one of 16,000 Semifinalists nationwide, selected from a pool of more than 1.6 million juniors in 22,000 high school who took the 2017 Preliminary SAST/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).
These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 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.
“Brammy is an outstanding student and citizen, whose contributions in and outside the classroom are widely recognized by her teachers. She is active as a Global Affairs Fellow; as a violinist in our school orchestra and in the regional Bay Youth Orchestra; and as a varsity tennis player, to list just some of her extracurricular pursuits,” said Headmaster Dennis Manning. “Brammy is living testament to our belief in the importance of students’ combining a robust life of the mind with artistic and athletic engagement and accomplishment. She is a truly well-rounded student, and in that way an exemplar of our school’s philosophy.”
Over 90 percent 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. 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 410 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.
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 his or her high school 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, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. 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.