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National Merit Semifinalists

StudiorumStudiorum Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
I am trying to compile a list of private high schools in the United States that typically produce high percentages of National Merit Semifinalists or Commended Students. If anyone knows of any, or can point me in a direction which might help me access this information, I would sincerely appreciate the help.

Thank you in advance for any help with this.

Replies to: National Merit Semifinalists

  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal Registered User Posts: 2,838 Senior Member
    Why? They don't become semi-finalists because of the high school. It's more about those kinds of kids going to those kinds of schools in the first place.
  • StudiorumStudiorum Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    I don't disagree with you at all, but I do believe the process is somewhat synergetic. If anyone has any schools or resources I can research, I would appreciate it.

    Thank you, again.
  • DataminerDataminer Registered User Posts: 38 Junior Member
    You probably have an idea which private high schools are good. You can then google their website and see how many NSM they have.

    Or, you can look up national merit semifinalists announcement and count for each school. For example, Texas's list is here http://www.thesismag.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/2018-National-Merit-Semifinalists-Texas.pdf

    However, the numbers of NMS in private schools don't compare from school to school though because the numbers of students in each school are widely different. Take example of Hockaday, St Mark's, and St John's in Texas. The first two each has 100 seniors, the last 165. Also, Hockaday is girls school, St Mark's boys, and St John's coed.

    If you can draw some conclusion from your research, please share with us.
  • Kathy VKathy V Registered User Posts: 64 Junior Member
    My kids' high school, Blue Valley North in Overland Park, KS, had 24 National Merit Finalists and 10 perfect ACT scores last year out of a class of 422 students. But this is a public school, so maybe not what you're interested in.
  • SatchelSFSatchelSF Registered User Posts: 1,055 Senior Member
    edited August 27
    It all comes down to the intelligence of the students. Look at percentages of NMSF.

    Tops in the country is always Davidson Academy in Reno, usually 70%+ of the small class. (Keep in mind though that the selection index in Nevada is fairly low.). These kids are screened for +3sd in intelligence for admission (no doubt many lower slip through though).

    Other high percentages include a number of elite private day schools (boarding schools generally do not fare well in this metric) - I think St. John's in Houston is particularly noteworthy, and so is Harker in San Jose - and some of the famous public magnet schools like Thomas Jefferson in Virginia and Stuyvesant in NYC.

    For privates with perennially high relative % NMSF, and apologies to those which are left out (this is not a complete list) check out Roxbury Latin, Collegiate, Regis (NYC), Harker, Trinity, sometimes College Prep in Oakland, St. John's and sometimes Andover and Exeter (though not lately). Lots of smart kids at Albuquerque Academy as well, but again the selection index for NM is always low.

    Numbers of NMSF have zero to do with quality of instruction imo, only with how smart the kids are upon entrance.

    Hope that helps!
  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 Registered User Posts: 5,364 Senior Member
    I don't think that NM necessarily reflects raw intelligence as much as expectation and preparation- with a bit of a nod to location.

    NMF cutoffs vary by state: last year the cut off for Wyoming was 1340 while in Massachusetts it was 1480. A lot of the good private schools are in states like Massachusetts, and have students who are heavily prepped for the PSAT, both in terms of general education and specifically for the test.

    Having had kids / been related to kids / known friend's kids at many independent schools along the northeast corridor, % of NM students would not be in the top 10 of reasons to pick a school in terms of college admissions benefits. It's just not that big of a boost (and if you are thinking of sending a kid from Nepal to boarding school in the US, I'm guessing that the possible scholarships are not the motivator).
  • emptynesteryetemptynesteryet Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
    Tend to agree what is considered nmsf in one state is not the same in another.
  • StudiorumStudiorum Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    Thank you so much for all of the great information. I am not in Nepal- can’t figure out how that came up or how to change it. I am in Texas, and am doing research for a thesis.
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