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National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists

Flora Voit (’24) and Laura Thapaliya (’24) have qualified for the National Merit Scholarship.
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Laura Thapaliya (‘24) and Flora Voit (‘24), the semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship. When asked about her plans for the future, “To go to college, planning to get a four year degree at least and then see where that takes me,” Thapaliya said.

   The National Merit Scholarship is a scholarship for students that have a PSAT score within the top 1% of their state. According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation News, more than 16,000 Semifinalists have made it. Approximately 7,250 National Merit Scholarships are available to these academically advanced high school seniors, which amount to nearly $28 million in value, and will be awarded the upcoming spring. This year Flora Voit (‘24) and Laura Thapaliya (‘24) have qualified for the requirements in the Florida PSAT score cutoff line, being eligible to earn this scholarship requiring hard work, practice and commitment. Flora Voit (‘24) gives us insight on how it is to accomplish this honor.

   “I was kind of surprised.  I wasn’t exactly sure when they announced it. So you know, I wasn’t thinking about it. And then they told me I had gotten it and I’m really excited because it’s a really big honor. It helps you get admitted to colleges and also the scholarship opportunities are really good. Now I’m planning to apply to FSU, UF, and Boston University. A few others, but those are the ones I know I’m going to apply to. Some colleges will give out a lot of money if you get the National Merit Scholarship. So right now I’m also looking at those to figure out what would be the best choice.” Voit said

   Voit is thinking about continuing with a STEM major in college due to her love for math and physics.

   Another academically talented student, Laura Thapaliya (‘24), who spoke about her prioritizing school, preparing, and utilizing past papers to study for the PSAT and SAT also made it in the cutoff line.

   “The National Merit Scholarship is a scholarship that’s based on my PSAT score that I took in junior year, and then it’s a process where I apply and I’m possibly awarded money for college. The scale is different for every state but my PSAT score has to meet a certain requirement. Usually it’s above about 1200 on a scale they have, but PSAT scores are important,” Thapaliya said.

    Thapaliya mentions that she used Khan Academy, an educational organization designed to help students with almost any subject, practice and even using past papers by creating custom learning plans.

   “I’m applying to a lot of places. University of Florida, FSU and USF, and then out of state I’ve thought about University of Alabama, Tennessee. And then dream schools, MIT, Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton.” Thapaliya said.

   “Just make sure you study for the PSAT sophomore year and that you intentionally take it and take the SAT junior year because that’s a requirement,” Thapaliya said.

   These seniors have put up a great example for underclassmen and students everywhere. They have truly shown that this is excellence.

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