4R scholar Ryan Friess has been named a National Merit Semifinalist in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program. Ryan was one of 16,000 Semifinalists from across the country who were selected from a pool of 1.6 million students at over 22,000 high schools. Semifinalists are chosen from students participating in the PSAT each fall. Like students at most other high schools, Parnassus School of Rhetoric scholars take the PSAT exam in the fall of their 3R year.
This was one of the most competitive years ever for the National Merit Scholarship competition, and this year’s cutoff score was above the 99th percentile! Ryan and Minnesota’s 282 other Semifinalists had to meet the highest minimum score threshold the state has ever seen.
Ryan was the only public school student from the Osseo-Maple Grove area to be named as a National Merit Semifinalist.
Ryan and his fellow Semifinalists will have the opportunity to continue in the competition to be named a National Merit Finalist and be awarded a National Merit Scholarship. Last year, National Merit Scholarships granted to finalists amounted to over $30 million shared amongst approximately 7,500 students. Being a Semifinalist or Finalist comes with meaningful status conferment and even some financial perks. Over 200 colleges and universities offer automatic scholarships for National Merit Finalists.
In order to become a Finalist, Semifinalists have to complete a detailed scholarship application, which details the students’ academic record, participation in extracurricular activities and community service, leadership abilities, employment, an any honors or awards received. Semifinalists must also write an essay and sit for the SAT exam. National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced in April.