Brahmas compete for Merit Award

Ten senior semifinalists are undergoing consideration for the $2,500 scholarship.

Catherine Liu, staff writer

Out of the 16,000 students who qualified nationwide for the National Merit Scholarship, ten were Diamond Bar High School seniors.They qualified by scoring in the top one percent nationally on the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, administered during their junior year.

Ruiyan Cao, Brian Chang, Alex Cheng, Matthew I. Ho, Sungjoo Jeon, Alvin Lee, Eric Peng, William Shao, Crystal Song and Amy Xia will all have the chance to compete for a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship as well as the corporate and college-sponsored merit scholarships.

In order to be eligible as a finalist, participants must submit their SAT score, a teacher recommendation, their first choice college, their GPA and an essay about an experience they had, a person that influenced them or an obstacle they had to overcome.

The necessary score needed on the PSAT to become a semifinalist varies by state. According to Compass Prep, the cutoff for California is one of the highest, as it is set at 222 out of 228. This is calculated by NMSC, converting the scores from a 600-1520 scale.

“When I first got my score I was really happy that I did so well,” Song said.

Song said she had expected to do well since she received a high score on her SAT. Meanwhile, Xia who had never taken the SAT said that she was not expecting a high score.

“I had tennis going on, I had a lot of AP classes and that was the time when I was also preparing for the ACT, so I never really had time to study for the PSAT,” said Xia.

Xia said she plans to take the actual SAT in November in order to apply as a finalist. Applications must be sent in by November and finalists will be named in March.

“Just being a semi-finalist already is a pretty big achievement considering that [acceptance] is only one percent,” Cheng said.