The National Merit Scholarship is a prestigious award that high school juniors for exceptional achievement in the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT). To be more specific, the scholarship is only awarded to the top half percent of the state’s seniors. Last year, Gresham Connors took the PSAT and scored in the 99th percentile for New Hampshire, and is now considered a semifinalist for the scholarship. In order to receive the full scholarship which can go up to $2,500, the contestant must submit their SAT scores to show that they were able to keep up with a strong test score, and must submit a personal essay.
One of the reasons why Manchester gives the PSAT is that it allows them to give a standardized test to examine how well students are doing in the district. One of the problems our district has faced is the large opposition to voluntary standardized testing such as the Science NECAPs last year and Common Core testing two years ago. By using the PSATs and SATs, the district is able to increase participation since many parents and students feel as if taking the test will help them in the future.
To the students taking the PSAT tomorrow, remember to get a full night’s sleep and relax when taking the test! If you’re a sophomore taking the PSAT, the test is a good way to show you how good you are at standardized testing in general, and the score reports help you understand which AP classes you might do well in. If you’re a junior, remember that you have the same opportunity as Gresham and by aiming for the top you might be able to be commended for your skills too!