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UPDATED: Eight students at Arlington High School and one from Belmont Hill have been named semifinalists in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarships.

Officials of the National Merit Scholarship Corp. announced these names of AHS students: Anna E. Berggren, William S. Bouck, Aryan N. Deshpande, Meredith Gast, Gregory Lubashev, Armaan A. Merchant, Marko Rasin and Brendan Rubel.

Cameron Connell, an  Arlington resident and Belmont Hill student, is also a semifinalist.

Over 16,000 named in competition

Among more than 16,000 semifinalists for the 2023 competition, these academically talented high-school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring.

To be considered for a merit scholarship, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to finalist. About 95 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship.

The not-for-profit organization, which operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 to conduct the annual scholarship program.

Scholarships are underwritten by the corporation's funds and by about 340 business organizations and higher-education institutions that share goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Steps in the 2023 challenge

High school juniors entered the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship qualifying test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of all U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official 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, 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.

Those advancing to finalist are expected to be notified in February 2023. 

May 13, 2021: 2 Arlington students win

This news announcement was published Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, based on information from the National Merit Scholarship Corp. It was updated later that day to add a student at Belmont Hill School, an independent boys school in Belmont.