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National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalist

Thursday, October 6, 2016

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) oversees the awarding of 7,500 college tuition scholarships, worth at least US$2,500 each and renewable for all four years of university. Students who are U.S. citizens (or permanent residents) and who intend to enter a university in the United States are eligible for these competitive merit scholarships.

Each year, over 1,600,000 students around the world enter the scholarship competition, based on their scores on the PSAT test in October or November of Grade 11. Only the top 1% of the original candidates are selected as Semi-Finalists, totalling only 16,000 students around the world. The competition is organized so that the top 1% in each of the 50 U.S. states are chosen, and therefore the criteria for selection differ from one state to another.

However, for students outside of the U.S., the competition is far harsher, as these students must achieve a selection index equivalent to that of the highest-ranking state. This makes selection as a Semi-Finalist much harder for students at international schools, and it indicates the magnitude of Isaac Burkhalter's achievement!

Isaac is the son of Ted and Susan Burkhalter. He has been a student at Saint Maur since Grade 8, having previously lived in Uzbekistan, the Netherlands, and the U.S. state of Virginia. He is an IB Diploma candidate with strong academic interests in Physics, Engineering, Economics, and Business. He is co-president of the senior class and is active in the Senior Band, Jazz Band, Orchestra, and Rock Band, as well as a key member of the varsity teams for Cross Country, Basketball, and Soccer. Last June Isaac was unanimously chosen by a panel of teachers and administrators as the winner of the Harvard Book Award, sponsored by the Harvard alumni club of Japan.

Isaac is the first Saint Maur student in a number of years to be selected as a Semi-Finalist. He will advance to the next stage of the competition by December, and early next year will be considered for one of the 7,500 scholarships. The final decision, based on academic achievement, as reflected by Isaac's internal transcript and external test scores, will be announced next spring.

Congratulations, Isaac, and the entire Burkhalter famiily!