By Dia Gill | Web Editor-in-Chief
Come fall of their senior year, AHS students are searching frantically for scholarship opportunities. One avenue through which seniors receive scholarships is the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. The organization recognizes students with exceptional performance on their junior PSAT. According to its mission statement, the program seeks “to recognize and honor the academically talented students of the United States.” From the class of 2019, one student, Caroline Wadley, has been named a National Merit Semi-Finalist, along with eight Commended students and three National Hispanic Scholars.
The Commended students are Matthew Aleksa, Colleen Maynard, Erin McLain, Micah Morefield, Autumn Mulinix, Riley Surber, Victoria Wendt, and Viki Zinyemba. The three Hispanic Scholars are Edwin Cardona, Elizabeth Howard, and Grace Newton. All of the aforementioned students have the potential to be eligible for a number of scholarships through the NMSC program.
“Many universities have scholarships reserved for Finalists and Semi-finalists. The National Merit Scholarship Program also has some scholarships they award,” said Assistant Principal Mrs. Stephanie Bode.
Since 2010, Avon High School has had anywhere between two and six Semi-Finalists each year. This year is unique as the first time since 2008 that there has only been one Semi-Finalist in the senior class. To determine who qualifies for recognition, NMSC assigns a selection index to each student, as well as a cutoff for each state. Selection indexes are calculated by adding the math, reading, and writing section scores, which range from 8-38, and then multiplying the sum by two. After seeing her own selection index, senior Caroline Wadley was hopeful that she’d be recognized.
“It was a 221 and last year Indiana’s selection index was 219. I didn’t see it going up any higher than 221 so there was a part of me that thought it was likely that I would get it, but you don’t want to be too expectant,” she said.
To prepare for the test, Wadley made use of the resources provided by the school.
“I just did the PSAT practice tests that they gave us. I still have my one from sophomore year, and I did the one from junior year,” she said. “I went over my PSAT from sophomore year, looking at where I went wrong.”
Wadley is now in the process of applying for Finalist status. Of the 16,000 students that are named Semi-Finalists, 15,000 typically move on to the Finalist stage. Along with that application, Wadley is also currently working on college applications to Stanford, Purdue, and the University of Michigan.
“My dream school is Stanford. I would love to go there; however, it is in California and it has a four percent acceptance rate. I most likely will end up at Purdue. I’m also applying to the University of Michigan, but that’s just to see if I get in.”
Wadley hopes to pursue a career in civil engineering.
“I did a summer camp at Purdue the summer after freshman year and we explored different engineering and technology disciplines and that’s where I was first exposed to the major of construction and building management. From there some exploration and physics classes led me to civil engineering,” she explained.
Next week, on Oct. 10 current underclassmen will be taking the PSAT. For the juniors hoping to qualify for scholarships, Wadley has some advice.
“I know the school doesn’t make a big deal out of it and it just seems annoying, but take it seriously. This is college money. You want college money. Don’t go out buying test prep books, but take practice tests. Do prepare yourself for it, go to bed early the night before, eat breakfast, come in with a confident mindset, and then just take it seriously,” she said.
Photo by Dia Gill