15 MSMS Students Named Semifinalists in 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program

By Caleb Youngblood, Public Relations Coordinator

September 14, 2022

The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science is proud to announce that fifteen of our students have been named Semifinalists in the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSC). Of the 1.5 million students who entered the 68th annual NMSC program, only 16,000 were chosen as Semifinalists.

The following students will have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,250 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $28 million that will be offered next spring:

  1. Daniel Caton
  2. Chloe Dobbins
  3. Andra Dusin
  4. Madison Echols
  5. Nathan George
  6. John Hagood
  7. David Johnson
  8. Danielle McConnell
  9. Vivek Nagarajan
  10. Ryan Neal
  11. Elsa Pfrenger
  12. Dylan Randall
  13. Mandy Sun
  14. Lauren Varner
  15. Richard Zheng

Competition entrants had to take the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as a junior. All MSMS juniors partake in this exam each October with the other national entrants. These fifteen students now reside in a nationwide grouping of Semifinalists who represent less than one percent of high school seniors in the U.S.

In order to advance, Semifinalists and a high school official are required to submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. About 95 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, with approximately half of the Finalists winning a National Merit Scholarship and earning the coveted “Merit Scholar” title.

Finalists will then compete for three kinds of scholarships: corporate-sponsored, college or university-sponsored and National Merit Scholarship Corporation awards. In addition to the honor and recognition that comes along with being named a National Merit Semifinalist or Finalist, the award can often be leveraged to secure additional scholarships to a variety of colleges or universities. Beginning April 2023, The National Merit Scholarship Corporation will announce the National Merit Scholarship Finalists.

NMSC was formed in 1955 as a non-profit organization that operates without government assistance. Approximately 340 business organizations and higher education institutions align with NMSC to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program in the pursuit of academic excellence.

To learn more about the scholarship program, visit www.nationalmerit.org.