Talissa Chapin of Woodville has earned nomination for the National Merit Scholar Award. Submitted photo
Talissa Chapin of Woodville has earned nomination for the National Merit Scholar Award. Submitted photo

Submitted by Dave Brandvold, High School Principal, Baldwin-Woodville School District

BALDWIN, WI – Approximately 16,000 Semifinalists were named and nominated for the prestigious National Merit Scholar Award.  Recognition is limited to school populations in each state and is proportional to the number of graduating seniors each year. 

Baldwin-Woodville High School (B-WHS) was fortunate to have senior Talissa Chapin named as one of the semi-finalists. 

Talissa qualified through her PSAT scores, which has placed her in the top 1% of students in the country.  Talissa will now have the opportunity to compete to become one of the final 7500 students to receive a National Merit Scholarship in the spring. 

NMSC is a non-profit organization that operates without government funding and was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.  NMSC’s goals are to honor the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Talissa is the daughter of Wesley and Tiffany Chapin of Woodville.

Talissa is now the third B-WHS student in a row to achieve this honor, joining Rebekah Dix and Tyler Franklin.

According to the website, the National Merit® Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®) — which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.6 million entrants each year—and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements.

Semifinalists - In early September, about 16,000 students, or approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers, are notified that they have qualified as Semifinalists. To ensure that academically talented young people from all parts of the United States are included in this talent pool, Semifinalists are designated on a state-representational basis. They are the highest scoring entrants in each state. NMSC provides scholarship application materials to Semifinalists through their high schools. To be considered for a National Merit® Scholarship, Semifinalists must advance to Finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and all other requirements explained in the information provided to each Semifinalist.

Finalists - In February, some 15,000 Semifinalists are notified by mail at their home addresses that they have advanced to Finalist standing. High school principals are notified and provided with a certificate to present to each Finalist.

Winner Selection - All winners of Merit Scholarship® awards (Merit Scholar® designees) are chosen from the Finalist group based on their abilities, skills, and accomplishments—without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference. A variety of information is available for NMSC selectors to evaluate: the Finalist's academic record, information about the school's curricula and grading system, two sets of test scores, the high school official's written recommendation, information about the student's activities and leadership, and the Finalist's own essay.

Types of Merit Scholarship® Awards - Beginning in March and continuing to mid-June, NMSC notifies approximately 7,500 Finalists at their home addresses that they have been selected to receive a Merit Scholarship® award. Merit Scholarship awards are of three types:

• National Merit® $2500 Scholarships - Every Finalist competes for these single payment scholarships, which are awarded on a state-representational basis. Winners are selected without consideration of family financial circumstances, college choice, or major and career plans.

• Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards - Corporate sponsors designate their awards for children of their employees or members, for residents of a community where a company has operations, or for Finalists with career plans the sponsor wishes to encourage. These scholarships may either be renewable for four years of undergraduate study or one-time awards.

• College-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards - Officials of each sponsor college select winners of their awards from Finalists who have been accepted for admission and have informed NMSC by the published deadlines that the sponsor college or university is their first choice. These awards are renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study.

Merit Scholarship awards are supported by some 420 independent sponsors and by NMSC's own funds. Sponsor organizations include corporations and businesses, company foundations, professional associations, and colleges and universities.