The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) awarded 15 Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) seniors 2020 National Merit Scholarships financed by U.S. colleges and universities.

Mill Creek High School students were among those awarded College-Sponsored Merit Scholarships were:

•Claire M. Grant — Probable career field, social work; National Merit University of Georgia Scholarship

•Madelyn K. Hurd — Probable career field, geology; National Merit University of Georgia Scholarship

The National Merit Scholars are part of a group of students nationwide judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills and potential for success in rigorous college studies. Officials of each sponsor college selected their winners from among finalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program who will attend their institution. The scholarships provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

This year, 167 higher education institutions are underwriting Merit Scholarship awards through the National Merit Scholarship Program. Sponsor colleges and universities include 92 private and 75 public institutions located in 43 states and the District of Columbia.

College-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners are a part of the group of about 7,600 high school seniors who will receive National Merit Scholarships for college undergraduate study worth more than $31 million.

More than 1.5 million juniors in some 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship competition when they took the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, approximately 16,000 semifinalists were named on a state-representational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.

To compete for Merit Scholarship awards, semifinalists first had to advance to the finalist level of the competition by fulfilling additional requirements. Each semifinalist was asked to submit a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an "outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT® scores that confirmed the qualifying test performance." From the semifinalist group, some 15,000 met requirements for finalist standing, and more than half of the finalists will be Merit Scholarship winners in 2020.

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