PSAT and National Merit Semi-Finalist Status

Hadley Rosengrant, Writer

Every year students across the nation take the PSAT/NMSQT, the precursor to the SAT and the national merit semifinalist-qualifying test. The PSAT isn’t just a practice run for the SAT, but it is the only way to become a National Merit Semi-Finalist. National Merit scholars are eligible for many different scholarships, and becoming one is no easy feat.

Bob Jones High School ranks second in the state in the number of National Merit semi-finalists with fifteen, second only to Mountain Brook High School in Birmingham. James Clemens had twelve. In an email, Robby Parker said, “Once again, Madison City leads the state with the most NATIONAL MERIT SEMIFINALISTS by any district, no matter the size. Being named a NATIONAL MERIT SEMIFINALIST is akin to being named an ALL AMERICAN in athletics. It is the best of the best. I am so proud of our kids and their teachers.” Mrs. Lambert shared in an email, “This is a big deal and the only way to be a National Merit Scholar is by taking the PSAT as a junior.”

Bradley Spindle, a semi-finalist, shared, “National Merit status definitely opens the door for my future. It really solidifies my college plans. Because of my National Merit status, my college decision has been affirmed. The college I have been planning to attend offers a 4 year full tuition scholarship for National Merit finalists. So, the impact in the regard of money is huge, especially for me because I will be spending a majority of my savings to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints before going to college. With the near certain chance of receiving that scholarship, there is a weight taken off my shoulders in figuring out money for college. Because of this status, I can apply for other scholarships to cover books, room and board, and other expenses that come with college so it is just a major blessing.”

Mrs. Lambert’s weekly newsletter stated that this year’s PSAT on October 16 will be administered to all 10th graders at no cost, but that 11th graders may choose to take it for $17. “This test (for juniors) leads to the National Merit Scholarship program so we encourage 11th graders to take this. Usually, we will have a large number of 11th graders participateJuniors need to go ahead and pay the $17 to our fee payment office.” You can email Mrs. Rock at [email protected] in the fee payment office if you have any questions about the fee payment.

How should a student prepare for this test? Spindle said, “I took Mrs Dauma’s PSAT prep class, studied on Khan Academy, and took practice tests. To underclassmen, I would say that it is definitely worth the effort put into preparing for it. Obviously not everyone can be a National Merit semi-finalist, but preparing for this test will also be a major benefit to studying for the ACT and/or SAT. I can definitely attribute part of my score on the ACT to the studying I did for the PSAT. Yeah, and just, why not go for it? The chance of qualifying for National Merit is worth it in and of itself, but studying like that is beneficial in more ways than just that.”

Congratulations to our National Merit Semi-Finalists:

Bradley Spindle – Horizon, West Madison, Madison, Discovery, BJHS

Kyle Fitzpatrick – Rainbow, Discovery, BJHS

Thomas Teper – Madison, Discovery, BJHS

Jean-Pierre leRoux – West Madison, Discovery, BJHS

Benjamin Garrett – Discovery, BJHS

Sulekha Ramesh – Rainbow, Discovery, BJHS

Evan Krohn – West Madison, Columbia, Discovery, BJHS

Skylar Elliott – West Madison, Discovery, BJHS

Marielle Baumgartner – Rainbow, Discovery, BJHS

Joy Duan – Mill Creek, Heritage, Rainbow, Discovery, BJHS

Juanita Monteiro-Pai – West Madison, Discovery, BJHS

Michael Guthrie – Rainbow, Discovery, BJHS

Sherry Lee – Madison, Discovery, BJHS

Lynne Clark – Horizon, Discovery, BJHS

Reedham Kalariya – BJHS