Seniors honored for achievement on PSAT


Photo by Jake Dobbs Christopher Bower and Meagan Ford high five to celebrate getting their commending letter given to them by the school for the National Merit Scholarship.

Saba Mahmoudi

Proud and surprised, seniors Meagan Ford and Chris Bower received an award for being in the top 2% of highest scoring students in the nation who took the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

In early October, Ford and Bower received a commendation letter from a National Merit Scholarship Corporation, in recognition for their outstanding work on the PSAT during the fall of 2013.

“Even if I did not get the money (Merit Scholarships), I am proud of the achievement itself,” Bower said.

Out of the 1.5 million students who take the test, around 50,000 with the highest scores are chosen to qualify for recognition in the National Merit Scholarship program. By the end of September, those students are notified by their schools that they are either a commended student or semifinalist. About two-thirds are commended and one-third are semifinalists.

Although commended students do not continue in the competition, some still become candidates for scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses.

For both Ford and Bower, the English section of the test was easier than the math portion of the test, mainly because of its timeliness. Being timed and under pressure often affects students’ answers.

“I panicked on the second math portion because I had no calculator and I had to do each one by hand,” Ford said. “I was on a time crunch and that made that situation really stressful.”

Neither of them did much studying to prepare for the test. However, they have taken the test multiple times before.

“I have taken the test three times before, so I just looked at the sample questions (to prepare for the test), ” Bower said.

Beside studying and preparing for the test, it is really important to be prepared emotionally and to be ready to take the test with a calm state of mind.

“How you feel means as much as what you know and learn from what you got wrong the last time,” Ford said.

For those students who are planning to take or have taken the test as a freshman or sophomore, do not worry if you performed poorly.

In order to participate and qualify for the scholarship, students must take the test during their junior year, no matter how high they scored previous years.