Story by Anjali McDaniel

New ideas, new opportunities, and new lifes start when students are offered the National Merit Scholarship for their hard working dedication throughout their high school careers.

“The National Merit Scholarship is a way to acknowledge students who did well during school,” senior Sunjay Jayaram said.

Sunjay is a student who was offered the National Merit Scholarship. He says he feels appreciative for this scholarship and is happy that his hard work paid off in the end.

“I feel appreciated [knowing that I got the National Merit Scholarship]. I’m going to NYU in the fall,” Sunjay said.

The National Merit Scholarship is an academic scholarship competition for university scholarships administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation offered to students who score in the top 1% of the PSAT.

“I think scholarships are important,” sophomore Elliott Fish said, “because they help pay for colleges.”

Students are not rewarded scholarships by not doing any work. The student striving to get a scholarship must work in some way to earn a scholarship to pay for their college. The work may not always be easy, but it’s something students should do, so that they can have an easier path to college.

“[The steps I’m taking to ensure that I get a scholarship in the future is] getting good grades and doing my work,” freshman Amaya Sowell said.

Not all scholarships are offered to students  based on their academic performance. Scholarships can also be rewarded to people with extraordinary athletic abilities.

“I’m relying on my skills for football [to get a scholarship], so I can go to school for free,” junior Gage Zirke said.

There are different consequences that students must face if they don’t receive a scholarship for college. One thing that can be a long term consequence for students without a scholarship is the excessive amount of student loans they have to pay back to the college they borrowed money from.

“It’s important that students get scholarships because student loans are not fun to pay back,” social studies teacher Lauren DeSplinter said.

Students are advised to stay on top of their school work and do extra work to help them receive scholarships in the future when the time for applying to colleges starts. The hard work students can go  a long way.

“Maintain decent grades,” DeSplinter said, “you don’t have to have straight A’s, which is a common misconception, [participating in] community service is really important, and provide leadership in clubs and stuff.”