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Olson, Van Bruggen named scholarship semifinalists

Breanna Olson of Ellendale and Cara Van Bruggen of Valley City are area semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation announced Sept. 11.

These high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship award, semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the finalist level. Over 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship.

Juniors enter the program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application.

Finalists chosen will be notified in February. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2019: National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis; 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards provided by approximately 230 corporations and business organizations for finalists who meet their specified criteria; and 180 colleges and universities are also expected to finance some 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2019 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July.