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New Salem - February 27, 2008

Counselor’s Corner

Dr. Gaylynn Becker
National Certified Career Counselor
National Certified School Counselor
New Salem High School

New Salem’s
National Merit Scholarship Finalist!

Congratulations Bryce Tellmann! Bryce has just advanced to “Finalist” standing in the 2008 National Merit Scholarship Program! He accomplished this through distinguished academic performance and high potential for future academic accomplishments.

National Merit Scholarship awards that have yet to be awarded will be based upon several factors. The school’s curriculum and grading system are two of the factors. Other factors that are considered are the student’s PSAT/NMSQT results, SAT results, activities, demonstrated leadership and the Finalist’s essay. Last but not least is a school official’s written recommendation.

My guess is that approximately 10 to 20 students in North Dakota have attained this designation. Way to Go Bryce!

The Preliminary Scholastic Achievement Test also known as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is administered each October in high schools across the country. The cost for taking the exam in 2007 was $ 13.00. Although only juniors can compete in the scholarship competition, sophomores are allowed to take the PSAT/NMSQT.

The PSAT/NMSQT consists of assessments in the following areas:
1. Critical reading
2. Mathematics
3. Writing skills.
The National Merit Scholarship Program began in 1955. More information about the National Merit Scholarship Program can be found at

The students with the highest scores are identified from each state. Only some of the top academic students from each school take the assessment. Then of those who do take the PSAT/NMSQT in October of their junior year, only about the top 1% are identified as either National Merit Scholarship commended students or semi-finalists.

Semi-finalists proceed in the competition and must take the SAT their senior year on one of the designated SAT test dates. Only some of the remaining semi-finalists are designated as finalists – such as Bryce’s current attainment. Next, only about ˝ of these remaining finalists will receive scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP).

Colleges offer big scholarships to NMSP Finalists. In North Dakota these scholarships usually range somewhere between $ 3,000 to $ 5,000 per year. “Finalists” are also eligible to receive additional scholarships from local, private and state scholarships, etc.

Make Your Parents Happy!
So more New Salem High School students can receive this and other scholarships, I hope that students take their studies seriously and do not simply sit in class and put in time. Instead, I hope students do their best every day. I hope they learn all that they can. Learn not just enough to get that “A”, “B”, or “C”. Instead learn the concepts teachers are providing instruction on so that when you are presented with that concept the next time, you already have mastered it.

Students who do the above will find it easier to maintain that high academic standing. This will not only help students receive good grades, pass classes, have parents who are happy that their son or daughter is doing well in school, but it will also help students to achieve their career goals! Of course, this will also help students realize “Their Field of Dreams!”

For more information on the National Merit Scholarship Program go to If you have any questions on career, counseling, or assessment topics, please contact me at either New Salem High School at 843-7610, or at my residence at 222-3222.

Have an excellent academic day!