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Township Student Wins National Merit Scholarship

Elizabeth Williams of Somerset, a student at Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School, is the recipient of a 2021 National Merit $2,500 scholarship.

Williams’ chosen field of study will be neuroscience, according to a press release about the award.

Williams was one of 2,500 scholarship awardees from more than 16,000 finalists in the 2021 National Merit
Scholarship Program.

National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, according to the release. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

These scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®); contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the Finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official, according to the release.

This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2019 when more than 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools took the PSAT/NMSQT, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named semifinalists on a state representational basis. Only these approximately 17,000 semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition.

From the semifinalist group, some 16,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition. By the conclusion of the 2021 program, about 7,500 finalists will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received a total of nearly $30 million in college scholarships.

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