For the first time in Gabrielino High School’s history, five students have been named finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program and will be considered to receive National Merit Scholarships awarded later this year. These students include seniors Jannelle Dang, Angelina Liang, Christopher Lung, Hugo So and Benjamin Vuong.
In order to be considered a finalist, students must meet or exceed the PSAT standard for their state and be marked qualified by the corporation after completing an application process where information on the student’s academic record, community service, and awards are listed. Each of the students are also required to submit a letter of recommendation and write an essay.
The winners are set to be announced by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) in March, and roughly 8,000 students will be chosen to receive one of three types of scholarships. These awards include receiving a grant of $2,500, being selected for a corporate sponsorship, or obtaining a college sponsorship.
As one of the top privately-funded programs in the country, NMSC began in 1955 and has awarded approximately $1.5 billion to over 380,000 students for undergraduate study. The corporation’s mission is to honor and recognize the academically talented students across the United States in order to help them become successful in their respective careers.
“Being a finalist helps me as a lot of the schools I applied to, such as USC, will now offer half to full tuition coverage for attending,” Vuong stated.
In general, scholarship winners represent fewer than one percent of the initial entries. However, students who are not chosen to receive scholarships have their names are placed on an elite list that is sent to every college that the NMSC partners with, which makes them more likely to receive other scholarships.
Fellow finalists Dang, Liang, Lung, and So all have high aspirations for their future and know that becoming a finalist has given them another step in the right direction. Dang wishes to pursue a career as a teacher, Liang hopes to enter the psychology or neuroscience field as a researcher, Lung wants to study bio-engineering, and So plans to gain admittance into Stanford University.
“[The title] doesn’t mean everything to me, but it is something that keeps me working hard,” So stated.