I’ll start with the statement that I like Alabama, and believe they are doing a great job of attracting high stats students. Illinois, where I live, is losing a lot of good students to Alabama.
The issue of the number of National Merit Scholars at Alabama sometimes comes up here on CC, and it’s important to note there are around 50,000 National Merit Scholars each year (a worthy achievement).
That number then gets whittled down to commended scholars (~34K most recently), National Merit Semifinalists (~15K-16K), and finally National Merit Finalists (~14K).
Just wanted to bring some perspective to this, but also acknowledge Alabama is doing well at attracting high stats students, enrolling 322 National Merit Scholars in this year’s class.
There aren’t 50,000 National Merit Scholars. From your link, there are 50,000 National Merit “High Scorers”, which split into 34,000 National Merit Commended Students and 16,000 National Merit Semifinalists. The 16,000 Semifinalists turn into 15,000 Finalists, and then those become around 8,000-9,000 National Merit Scholars, the last winnowing down. The end distinction is a little…weird in some ways, since every student who gets a college National Merit scholarship is a National Merit Scholar – meaning that every National Merit Finalist at Alabama is a National Merit Scholar, but not every finalist at Harvard is.
There is a huge benefit to knowing that is you are a NMF you are getting in Alabama and you know the cost, when the merit scholarship selection process at so many other schools seems murky and arbitrary.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER
Stay informed with the latest from the CC community, delivered to you, for free.