GUSD Schools Boast National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists

Pictured are the CVHS semifinalists in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program.


Nine Glendale Unified School District seniors have been named National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists to compete for a share of 7,500 scholarships. The National Merit Scholarship program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. Approximately 1.5 million high school students enter and contend for scholarship awards each year. To enter the academic competition, students take the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT) and National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT). The PSAT/NMSQT measures aptitude scores in reading, writing, language and math. National Merit semifinalists are the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

Crescenta Valley High School (CVHS) had five National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists; they are Miriam Awan, Ellena Kim, Nathan Kim, David Yoon Kim and Seon-Jae Yoon. National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists from Clark Magnet High School are Abdullah Ahmed and Matthew Keshishian. The Glendale High School National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist is Lilly Armstrong and the Hoover High School semi-finalist is Sarine Mardirosian.

“I did an SAT boot camp over the summer before junior year, and the skills I got from that boot camp could be used in the actual PSAT. I forced myself to do PSAT and SAT tests every weekend in the morning so I could get into the testing mindset,” Yoon said. “I want to be a biochemistry or bioengineering major. I’m really interested in dermatology as an occupation.”

The requirements for student entries are that they have to take the PSAT/NMSQT and be a high school student in the U.S. or take the PSAT/NMSQT and be a high school student studying outside the U.S. with a United States citizenship. Those who qualify for recognition as commended students through the National Merit Scholarship program number around 50,000 students nationwide with the highest PSAT/NMSAQT Selection Index scores. Approximately one third of the 50,000 high scorers, or about 16,000 students, are selected and notified that they have qualified as semi-finalists. Semifinalists are the highest scoring entrants in each state and have demonstrated superior scholastic aptitude based on the PSAT/NMSAQT test.

Semifinalists then submit scholarship application materials through their high schools, and those who meet all requirements and high academic standards advance to finalists in the national academic competition. Around 15,000 students nationwide advance to a finalist spot. From the National Merit Scholarship finalists, about 7,500 students receive college scholarship monetary awards of $2,500 or more based upon additional information the finalists provide including a student essay, student activities and leadership, and high school official’s recommendation letter.

Earning a position as National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist is a distinct honor.