Rutgers Prep Student Named National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist

Ajay A. Patel, a senior at Rutgers Preparatory School on Easton Avenue, was named a semifinalist in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship program.

Patel is one of about 16,000 students nationally named semifinalists in the 59th annual program.

Patel will compete for 8,000 National Merit Scholarships worth about $35 million.

About 90 percent of the semifinalists are expected to make the finals, and about half of those are expected to win scholarships, according to a press release from the organization.

To become a semi-finalist, Patel had to be one of the highest-scoring entrants from New Jersey in the 2012 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

To become a finalist, “the Semifinalist and their high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received,” according to the release. “A Semifinalist 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 qualifying test.”

Semifinalists who move on will be notified in February, the release said.

“Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2014,” according to the release. “Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 240 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 200 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,500 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.”

Winners will be announced in four stages, from April through July 2014.

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