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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Two students selected as National Merit Finalists

    By Annie Phun

    Editor in Chief   

      Selected as National Merit Scholarship Finalists, seniors Carlos Pondevida and Kevin Quach will be considered to receive an academic scholarship from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) later this year.    

      In order to be considered a Finalist, students must meet or exceed the PSAT standard for their state and be marked qualified by the corporation after completing an application process. This year, California is tied with six other states for having the highest cut-off score of 1490.

     “It was really difficult to manage my time [during the selection process] because, on top of academics, I’m a four-year cross country and track and field athlete,” explained Pondevida. “But being named a Finalist shows me that all my hard work is [paying off].”

      Roughly 8,000 students out of the 15,000 applicant pool will be chosen to receive one of three types of scholarships. These awards include receiving a grant of $2,500 from the NMSC, being selected for a corporate sponsorship, or obtaining a college sponsorship.

      Those selected to receive sponsorships must pursue the career that the corporation encourages or attend the college that is offering the sponsorship in order to claim their award. The awards are renewable for up to four years of undergraduate study.

      Winners are set to be announced by the NMSC in May.

      As one of the top privately-funded, not-for-profit organizations in the country, the NMSC was founded in 1955 and has awarded approximately $1.6 billion to over 380,000 students for undergraduate study. The corporation’s mission is to honor and recognize the academically talented students across the United States in order to help them become successful in their respective careers.

      “My plan right now is to go into biology and later get into medical school,” stated Quach. “I want to become [a doctor].”

      Quach’s first choice of college is the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

      Similarly, Pondevida also plans to go into the biomedical field but wants to become either a biomedical engineer or a bio-engineer.

      “I want to help create the tools that will help revolutionize our medical field,” said Pondevida. “The best place to do this is at USC.”

      In general, scholarship winners represent fewer than one percent of the initial entries as almost 1.5 million high school juniors take the PSAT each year. However, Finalists who are not chosen to receive scholarships have their names are placed on an elite list that is sent to every college that the NMSC partners with, which makes them more likely to receive other scholarships.   

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    Two students selected as National Merit Finalists