From the Desk of Dr. Louise Losos

Each year, as many as 1.5 million high school students across the United States are considered candidates for the National Merit Scholarship Program. Of those, approximately 8,000 are selected. Dr. Louise Losos is well acquainted with the program’s rigorous selection process–she was the principal at Clayton High School, which produced the most National Merit semi-finalists in the state of Missouri. Here, she outlines the steps:

Students must meet minimum requirements to enter, which includes taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as a high school junior. Of the 3.5 million students who take the test, 1.5 million advance to the next stage.

Of those 1.5 million students, approximately 16,000 are chosen as semi-finalists and are notified via their high schools.

Finalists are picked from students who have demonstrated outstanding performance throughout high school, who have achieved high scores on the SAT, who intend to attend a four-year college, and who meet other criteria.

Dr. Louise Losos formerly led Clayton High School, rated one of Missouri’s top 100 high schools by Newsweek.