WILTON — Rishabh Raniwala, a senior at Wilton High School, has won a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship. His probable career field is public policy. Rishabh is also a member of Wilton Library’s Singularity Technology robotics team.

Rishabh was one of 15,000 finalists in the 2020 national Merit Scholarship Program. About 7,600 students were named “Merit Scholars” and received more than $30 million in college scholarships.

In each state, the winners were judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

These scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®); contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2018 when over 1.5 million juniors in approximately 21,000 high schools took the PSAT/NMSQT, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named semifinalists on a state-representational basis.

From the semifinalist group, some 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.