IB student named Finalist in National Merit Scholarship Program

McAllen ISD student David Li has been named to a prestigious group of national scholars that places him in the top one percent of students nationwide who took part in the program.

Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced this month that Li was one of approximately 15,000 Finalists in the 65th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Li is a student in the International Baccalaureate Programme based at Lamar Academy. His home campus is McAllen Memorial High.

The IB is a globally recognized, rigorous curriculum. It aims to educate all students to become lifelong learners and productive citizens in an ever-changing global society through comprehensive, academically challenging program of studies that uses technology and community resources. McAllen ISD offers the Primary Years Programme (grades 1-5), the Middle Years Programme (grades 6-10) and the Diploma Programme (grades 11-12).

The National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships that will be offered this spring. The Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in May, 2020.

To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, students must fulfill several requirements. About half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title.

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 400 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

More than 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Finalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalists and a high school official submitted a detailed scholarship application, in which they provided information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

 Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered this spring. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.