Seth Sahloff with interim OGHS Principal Mark Fuerst - Putnam Sentinel
Mark Fuerst (right), interim OGHS Principal hands Seth Sahloff (left) a certificate naming him a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. (Photo submitted)

OTTAWA — Seth Sahloff, an Ottawa-Glandorf Senior with plans to attend Florida State University this fall, majoring in actuarial sciences, recently learned he has been named a National Merit Scholarship Finalist.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) - which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.6 million entrants each year - and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements.

Test scores then whittle the 1.6 million down to 50,000 students who qualify to receive additional recognition. Approximately two-thirds will receive official letters of commendation recognizing their academic achievement. The remaining one-third, roughly 16,000 students, are then declared semifinalists.

Semifinalists are designated on a state-representational basis. They are the highest scoring entrants in each state. Semifinalists advance to finalist standing in the competition by meeting high academic standards and all other Merit Scholar requirements.

Approximately 15,000 students (of the original 1.6 million) reach the finalist stage, and this year Sahloff is among them - a remarkable achievement. He will soon learn if he is also among the 7,500 finalists who will then be selected to receive a financial scholarship. This may include a $2500 National Merit Scholarship, a corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship award, or a college-sponsored Merit Scholarship award.