Wilton High School students Rachel Pak and Derek Thomas were named semifinalists in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
The seniors are two of the approximately 16,000 semifinalists in the 61st annual scholarship program.
As semifinalists, they will have an opportunity to continue competing for some 7,400 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million that will be offered next spring.
To advance to the finalist level, each semifinalist and his or her school must submit a detailed scholarship application detailing:


  • An outstanding high school academic record;

  • School and community activity participation;

  • Demonstration of leadership ability;

  • Employment;

  • Honors and awards received.


Each semifinalist must also have the endorsement and recommendation of a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm his or her earlier performance on the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

On Sept. 10, Wilton High School announced it is “pleased to recognize” Rachel and Derek, pointing out that “the nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than 1% of United States seniors.”
Approximately 90% of the semifinalists are expected to attain finalist standing, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, and about half of the finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship and be named Merit Scholars.
Last year, five Wilton High School students were named semifinalists. Two of the five — Evaline Xie and Grace Nickel — were named 2015 Merit Scholars and each received $2,500 scholarships.

Click here  to learn more about the National Merit Scholarship Program.