Darien High Graduate Gets National Merit Scholarship Award

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The National Merit Scholarship Corp. on Monday announced 800 more scholarship winners around the country, including one Darien High School graduate who will be attending Tufts University.

The National Merit Tufts University Scholarship was awarded to Kristen Moran. She joins other Merit Scholars from Darien High School announced earlier this year (the semifinalists were announced in February). The latest announcement of Merit Scholarship winners is made up of students selected by each college or university, which awards scholarships of between $500 to $2,000.

National Merit Scholarship finalists 2016

Darien High School Principal Ellen Dunn with Darien’s National Merit Scholarship finalists last February. Kristen E. Moran is in the center, to the left of Dunn.

This final group of winners brings the total of this year’s scholarships to 7,300.

According to the announcement Monday from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation:

This year’s competition for National Merit Scholarships began when over 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools took the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. In

September 2015, about 16,000 Semifinalists were named on a state-representational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifi nalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.

To become a Finalist, each Semifinalist had to complete a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay, describing leadership positions and contributions in school and community activities, showing an outstanding academic record, and being endorsed and recommended by a high school official. Semifinalists also had to take the SAT and earn scores that confirmed their performance on the initial qualifying test. From the Semifinalist group, about 15,000 attained Finalist standing, and about half of the Finalists were chosen to receive National Merit Scholarships.