Bensalem High School senior Kathleen Ho is a semifinalist in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Ho will join more than 16,000 academically-talented high school seniors to compete for 7,500 National Merit Scholarship awards, worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring.
Over 1.5 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors.
To become a finalist, the semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT or ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.
From the approximately 16,000 semifinalists, about 15,000 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. Merit scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin or religious preference.
Ho has been a principal’s honor roll student throughout high school. She is a member of the tennis team, Mathletes, National Honor Society and Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science. Out of school, Ho enjoys crocheting and going on long walks. She plans to dual major in aerospace engineering and mathematics.