Sanders achieves National Merit Scholarship

  • Raelyn Sanders is one of only 2,500 students nationwide named as National Merit Scholarship winners.
    Raelyn Sanders is one of only 2,500 students nationwide named as National Merit Scholarship winners.

    Raelyn Sanders, a member of the Stephens County High School Class of 2020, has been named a National Merit Scholarship winner.
    She is one of only 2,500 students nationwide named as National Merit Scholarship winners.
    The designees were chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding finalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program.
    National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.
     The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.
    These scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®); contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.
    NMSC finances most of these single-payment National Merit $2500 Scholarships.
    Corporations and company foundations that sponsor awards through NMSC also help underwrite these scholarships with grants they provide in lieu of paying administrative fees.
    Scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.
    Sanders will attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.
    This year’s National Merit Scholarship Program began in October 2018 when over 1.5 million juniors in approximately 21,000 high schools took the PSAT/NMSQT, which served as an initial screen of program entrants.         Last fall, the highest-scoring participants in each state, representing less than 1 percent of the nation’s high school seniors, were named semifinalists on a state-representational basis.
     Only these 16,000 semifinalists had an opportunity to continue in the competition.
    From the semifinalist group, some 15,000 students met the very high academic standards and other requirements to advance to the finalist level of the competition.
    By the conclusion of the 2020 program, about 7,600 finalists will have earned the “Merit Scholar” title and received a total of over $30 million in college scholarships.
    Sanders was notified Monday that she has been selected as an Archer Presidential Scholarship winner at Belmont University.
    The Archer scholarship is Belmont’s most competitive scholarship, providing full tuition, room, board, books and fees for four academic years (eight semesters) of continuous study.
    Selection criteria include a review of academic and leadership accomplishments along with a minimum composite score of 30 on the ACT or SAT score of 1,390.
    Recipients are chosen with values and leadership in mind and they apply those skills throughout their experience at Belmont.
    The Archer Scholars meet often during their time on campus to hear from a variety of speakers and each recipient is paired for four years with a mentor from Belmont’s senior leadership team.
    Sanders was one of only 12 candidates invited to interview for the award out of the 1,200 freshman applicants.
    She is the daughter of Clint and Rachel Sanders of Toccoa.