Clay Cantrell, a senior at Foresthill High school was recently named as a National Merit Scholarship Corporation Semifinalist in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Semifinalists entered the competition by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants.
The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing the top scoring one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. In Placer County, there were 8 students named as semifinalists, two from Rocklin, 4 from Granite Bay and one from Truckee.
Semifinalists have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring. In order to qualify as a finalist, the Semifinalist must submit a detailed scholarship application which highlights their outstanding academic record, leadership abilities and school and community activities. They also have to be endorsed by their principal, write an essay, and earn high SAT scores comparable to their PSAT scores. From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar
If Clay advances to finalist, he would like to attend the University of Alabama, since that institution awards a full ride, 5 year scholarship to National Merit Finalists. Clay is a member of CSF, FFA, the robotics club,the track team and is a student board member at FHS.