Six Wilton High School seniors have been named National Merit Semifinalists in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program. They are Elizabeth R. Healy, William J. Heffernan, Nicholas D. Johnson, Nickia A. Muraskin, Stephanie T. Xie and Brandon W. Zheng.

These students took the fall 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test as juniors. Nationally, more than 1.5 million students took the exam and approximately 16,000 were named semifinalists. This represents less than 1% of United States high school seniors.

These students have the opportunity to continue in the competition for 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth about $33 million that will be offered next spring.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, to become a finalist, semifinalists and their high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes information such as the student’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received.

Students must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the their performance on the qualifying test.

About 15,000 semifinalists are expected to advance to the finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of finalists.