School-awards logoPhan

The National Merit Scholarship Corp., which seeks to recognize academically talented students throughout the United States, has announced semifinalists for the 2024 scholarship program. Hundreds of students throughout Massachusetts qualified, and Arlington High School senior Ethan Phan is among them.

"I am honored to [be in the running to] win the National Merit Scholarship, I took several practice tests to study for the PSAT and I’m glad it paid off," wrote Phan in an email to YourArlington.

"This scholarship will help cover the cost of college so I can continue learning worry-free," wrote Phan.

He plans to further his studies at MIT and major in either mechanical or aerospace engineering, with a minor in Spanish. Phan further wrote that he would like to study abroad in Spain.

More than 16,000 students throughout the country were honored with the semifinalist title for 2024, which marks the scholarship's 69th year running the program, the news announcement says. These students have the opportunity to compete for 7,140 scholarships totaling almost $28 million, to be offered next spring.

About 95 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and approximately half of those finalists could win the scholarship(s), the corporation says.

The non-for-profit organization, operated without government assistance, has been running its scholarship program since 1955. Scholarships are underwritten using the corporation's funds, and roughly 340 organizations and higher-education institutions that share goals of honoring scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence. 
Steps in the competition

The corporation reported more than 1.3 million juniors entered the 2024 scholarship competition by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The nationwide pool of semifinalists, which represents less than 1 percent of U.S. all high-school seniors, includes the highest-scoring test-takers in each state.

In addition toqualifying prelimary test scores, the semifinalist was required to receive a recommendation from its high school, write an essay and achieve an SAT or ACT score that confirms the student's earlier test performance.

Once being listed as a semifinalist, the student and an official from their high school must submit a detailed application highlighting efforts of the student including their academic record, extracurricular activites, employment history and community-service hours. 


Sept. 14, 2022: 9 from Arlington named merit scholarship semifinalists

This news announcement was published Monday, May 27, 2024, based on information from the National Merit Scholarship Corp. and from local student Ethan Phan.