Ben Bates, a senior at Everest Collegiate High School, has been selected as one of only 15,000 National Merit Finalists in the country. The incredible honor involved more than a qualifying high score on the PSAT; it took years of dedicated work on Ben’s part, producing high grades in a rigorous curriculum, and making himself a standout among some 1.5 million entrants.

In September, Ben was notified of his status as Semifinalist, meaning he was one of the highest scoring entrants in the state of Michigan. Last week he received his certificate in the mail announcing that he is a Finalist. In the coming months, the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) will notify approximately 8,300 Finalists that they are National Merit Scholars, winning an award of up to $2,500 and eligibility for other scholarships. But this pales in comparison to the scholarships and awards offered to NMS Finalists by Texas A&M University, the school Ben plans to attend next year. The University gives nearly $100,000 in scholarships and awards to out-of-state Finalists, without requiring Merit Scholar status.

Congratulations on this achievement, Ben! You have earned every bit of this recognition, and the tuition aid that comes with it!

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®)—a test which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.5 million entrants each year–and by meeting published program entry/participation requirements. The mission of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) is to recognize and honor the academically talented students of the United States.