Augusta Prep senior Mayah Nussbaum has been named National Merit Scholarship Program semifinalist for the 2023-2024 school year. Nussbaum is in the running for a National Merit Scholarship, which will be announced later in the school year.
Also, seniors Annabelle Claire Mwonya and Chance Ruiz have each received academic honors from the College Board for the 2023-2024 school year. Mwonya was awarded the National African American Recognition Award (NAARA), while Ruiz received the National Hispanic Recognition Award (NHRA).
The College Board National Recognition Programs celebrate students' hard work in high school and showcase their strong academic performance. The academic honors for rural area, Black, Indigenous, and/or Latino students are an opportunity for students to share their strong academic achievements with colleges and scholarship programs that are seeking to recruit diverse talent.
The criteria for eligible students include:
- GPA of 3.5 or higher.
- PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 assessment scores that are within the top 10% of assessment takers in each state for each award program or earned a score of 3 or higher on 2 or more AP Exams in 9th and 10th grade.
- Attend school in a rural area or small town, or identify as African American/Black, Hispanic American/Latino, or Indigenous/Native.
In the National Merit Scholarship Program, Nussbaum is in the one percent of all high school seniors to reach the semifinalist stage. According to the National Merit website, "the National Merit® Scholarship Program
is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. Approximately 1.5 million high school students enter the program each year.
High School students who meet published program entry and participation requirements enter the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) at the specified time in the high school program, usually as juniors. Each year's PSAT/NMSQT is the qualifying test designated for entry to a particular year's competition. For example, the 2022 PSAT/NMSQT is the qualifying test for entry to the competition for scholarships to be awarded in 2024.
Registration for the test is by high school rather than individual student. Interested students should see their counselor at the beginning of the school year to make arrangements to take the PSAT/NMSQT at the school in the fall.
Of the 1.5 million entrants, some 50,000 with the highest PSAT/NMSQT® Selection Index scores (calculated by doubling the sum of the Reading, Writing and Language, and Math Test scores) qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship Program. In September, these high scorers are notified through their schools that they have qualified as either Commended Students or Semifinalists.
In early September, more than 16,000 students, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, are notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists. To ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, Semifinalists are designated on a state-representational basis. Semifinalists are the highest scoring entrants in each state. Qualifying scores vary from state to state and from year to year, but the scores of all Semifinalists are extremely high. NMSC provides scholarship application materials to Semifinalists through their high schools. To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists must advance to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and all other requirements explained in the information provided to each Semifinalist.
In February, more than15,000 Semifinalists are notified that they have advanced to Finalist standing. High school principals are also notified and provided with a Certificate of Merit to present to each Finalist.
All winners of Merit Scholarship awards (Merit Scholar® designees) are chosen from the Finalist group based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments—without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. A variety of information is available for NMSC to evaluate: The Finalist's academic record, information about the school's curriculum and grading system, PSAT/NMSQT Selection Index score, the high school official's written recommendation, information about the student's activities and leadership, and the Finalist's own essay.
Beginning in March and continuing to mid-June, NMSC notifies approximately 7,250 Finalists that they have been selected to receive a Merit Scholarship® award."