Blaine student earns National Merit Scholarship

More than 2,500 winners of National Merit Scholarships financed by U.S. colleges and universities have been announced by National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

They include Tobey Thomas, Coon Rapids, a senior at Blaine High School, who has been awarded a University of Minnesota National Merit Scholarship.

Thomas’ likely career field is medicine.

Officials of each sponsor college selected their scholarship winners from among the finalists in the 2012 National Merit Scholarship program who plan to attend their institution.

These awards provide between $500 and $2,000 annually for up to four years of undergraduate study at the institution financing the scholarship.

The college-sponsored Merit Scholarship winners are a part of a group of about 8,300 high school seniors who will receive National Merit Scholarships for college undergraduate study worth over $35 million.

Earlier this spring, winners of corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards and National Merit® $2,500 Scholarships were announced.

About 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools entered the 2012 National Merit Scholarship competition when they took the 2010 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 1 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 2012.

NMSC, a not-for-profit corporation that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 to conduct the National Merit Scholarship program.