Thirteen Idaho high school seniors have won the prestigious National Merit Scholarship for 2013. It comes with $2,500 for college and a lot of bragging rights. Most of this year’s winners could get together on their lunch break.
Nine of the 13 Scholarship winners go to schools in Boise or Eagle. Eagle High has two. Boise High has two. Two more go to Centennial (located in Boise but part of the Meridian School District.) Timberline has one. And Boise private schools Riverstone and Bishop Kelly have one each. But Boise and Eagle only account for about 15 percent of the state’s population.
Two more winners are homeschooled in the towns of Kimberley and May. Another attends a private school in Moscow. Only one attends an Idaho public school outside the Treasure Valley, Madison High in Rexburg. But the National Merit Corporation cautions against using the list to draw conclusions about a school, district or state education system, saying the prize is for individual effort. achievement
The most important step required to become a national merit scholar is to get a high score on the PSAT exam. Students can take that their Sophomore or Junior years. Of this year’s graduates, fewer than half took the test. Students have to pay about fifteen dollars for the test. That’s cheap compared to the SAT for which the PSAT is a trial run.
Last year the State started paying for all students to take the SAT. The PSAT is not required but the state has begun setting money aside for students who want to take it. This year saw a jump in both Idaho Sophomores and Juniors who took the PSAT. So next year a little more than half of Idaho high school grads might have a shot at National Merit Scholarships.
Copyright 2013 Boise State Public Radio