West student named finalist for National Merit Scholarship

Navy Swapp, Staff Writer

This year, senior Maliya Suntych is being considered for a National Merit Scholarship. After meeting the requirements and going through the processes of applying, she has been the only Spartan in 2020 to be named a National Merit Scholarship Finalist.

The National Merit Scholarship is offered to students based upon their PSAT/NMSQT scores. The Corporation collects all scores from people that have taken the exam, and grants the top 50,000 scores to qualify for the semifinalist position. 

Suntych scored a 1450 on her PSAT during her sophomore year, which was in the top 50,000 of all the scores. Because of this, she became a semifinalist for the scholarship, and from there has continued to work on the process to be given it. After becoming a semifinalist, Suntych filled out paperwork to further see if she would be considered as a finalist. She explained, “Once you find out you’re a semifinalist, then you fill out an application and then they pick those people make it to finalists.”

From the entirety of the semifinalists, 15,000 are then chosen to be finalists. In February, students received their letters. Winners are then chosen from these 15,000. Suntych was one chosen from these semifinalists, and is now waiting to hear if she received any scholarship money.

As a finalist, Suntych has to continue the process for the corporation to choose. “I don’t have to fill out any more personal information. I just have to say which schools I want to go to, and then if I get a scholarship, that’s where they’ll send the money if I go there.”

Although she has already completed most of the application process, becoming a finalist has led Suntych to look over the schools she is considering one more time. In some instances, finalists are offered greater scholarships at their school of choice.  She explained, “I think I need to look at a few other schools and see if there are any that I can add to my list and apply to because I now know some of them offer full rides for being a finalist.”

In previous years, Greeley West students have scored high enough to be considered for the National Merit Scholarship. School counselor, Ms. Deli Sambur, explained, “Maliya has made it farther than many of the participants previously. Some students have been semifinalists and fewer have become finalists.”

Regardless of if Suntych is given any scholarship money, becoming a finalist is difficult to attain. Less than 1% of all students who take the PSAT qualify for this scholarship. This is a high honor and it is not to be overlooked. She explained, “A lot of schools will offer different Merit scholarships with their school for being picked as a finalist. You can get guaranteed scholarships that way even if you don’t receive it through the National Merit Organization.”