Sherando High School Senior Named 2017 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist

For Immediate Release
September 15, 2016
Contact: Steve Edwards, Coordinator of Policy and Communications
540-662-3888 ext. 88235


Frederick County Public Schools announced today that Sherando High School senior Ben Gustafson has been named a semifinalist in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program. According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, Gustafson is among approximately 16,000 students from across the country who will have the opportunity to continue in the competition for approximately 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth a total of about $33 million. About 1.6 million high school juniors in more than 22,000 high schools entered the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The semifinalists represent the highest-scoring entrants on the PSAT/NMSQT in each state.

To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, semifinalists and their high schools must submit a detailed scholarship application which includes information about the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment as well as honors and awards received. A semifinalist also must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the PSAT/NMSQT.  

Schools Superintendent David Sovine says, “Being named a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist is an outstanding achievement and an honor for any student. Ben is to be commended for his hard work and commitment to learning. He has served the past few years as a member of my Student Leadership Council and I’ve been very impressed with his leadership as well as his many achievements as a student. I wish him well as he advances in the National Merit Scholarship competition.”   

National Merit Scholarship Program finalists will be announced early next year with the recipients of the National Merit Scholarship awards being announced beginning next spring. There are three types of National Merit Scholarships that will be offered in this year’s competition. Every finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit Scholarships worth $2,500 each that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate sponsored Merit Scholarship awards provided by approximately 230 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria. In addition, about 190 colleges and universities are expected to fund about 4,000 college sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.