Lemont High School senior Aashka Trivedi earned National Merit Semifinalist honors thanks to her performance on the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Seniors Arnav Anand, Erin Barndollar and Cameron Wehn were cited with National Merit Commended Students distinction.
Given to high school juniors, more than 1.5 million students took the PSAT/NMSQT in October 2021. Approximately 16,000 students are named as National Merit Scholar Semifinalists, and roughly 34,000 students are designated as Commended Students. Of those named as National Merit Semifinalists, approximately 95 percent attain Finalist standing, and around half of those earn a National Merit Scholarship and receive Merit Scholar accolades.
The scores compiled by Lemont High School’s four honorees ranked them among the top five percent of all U.S. students from the Class of 2023 who took the PSAT/NMSQT last year.
As a National Merit Semifinalist, Trivedi will continue in the competition for some of the nearly $30 million of National Merit Scholarships that will be offered in Spring 2023. To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, semifinalists and their high schools 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, and honors and awards received.
The nationwide pool of National Merit Semifinalists includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of National Merit Semifinalists is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. Semifinalists will learn if they become National Merit Scholar Finalists in February 2023.
Lemont’s Class of 2016 included a school record three National Merit Semifinalists, while the Class of 2018 set a school record for National Merit honorees (the total of National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists and National Merit Commended Students) with 16 students recognized as National Merit Commended Students.
Lemont’s National Merit Scholarship Finalists have included Jessica DeArcangelis ‘09 and Michael Fischer ‘09 in 2009; Therese Castrogiovanni ‘11 and Rita Kuseliauskas ‘11 in 2011; Kim Gannon ‘13 in 2013; Alexandra Albrecht ‘14 in 2014; Spenser Bailey ‘16, Taylor Campos ‘16 and Misbah Chagpar ‘16 in 2016; Aubrey Molitor ‘20 and Taylor Shimkus ‘20 in 2020; and Molly Thornber ‘22 and Isabella Wilton ‘22 in 2022. Diana Vera ‘15 also earned semifinalist accolades in 2014.
The National Merit Scholarship Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955. Its scholarships are underwritten by its own funds and approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share its goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.