PSAT scores make a difference

High schoolers named semifinalists in national scholarship program


Two students in the East Meadow School District were among 16,000 high schoolers nationwide who earned recognition as semifinalists in the National Achievement Scholarship Program.

Daniel Wang from W.T. Clarke High School and Harrison Zucker from East Meadow High School each took the PSAT exam in fall 2011 and were recently notified by mail that their scores qualified them for this national distinction.

“I wasn’t really sure if I would make it,” said Wang, “[but] I was kind of anxious to find out.” Wang said he received a letter on the first day of school, but wasn’t allowed to share the news until recently.

Wang took two practice tests, he said, and studied a little from a book, but didn’t expect to score so well. “I wasn’t taking it (the PSAT) thinking I could get into the scholarship program so I was surprised when I got my score.” Wang has known his score since last winter, but did not know if he qualified for the program until September. He was asked not to tell others what he scored, he said.

While the PSAT has passed, the work is far from complete. To earn a spot as a finalist, the students will need a letter of endorsement by their respective principals, continue an academic record reflecting “very high academic performance,” earn a high score on the SAT exam, write an essay and plan to enroll in college full time in fall 2013.

In February, 15,000 students will be named finalists and in March, 1,300 will receive Special Scholarships while 8,300 will quality for one of three National Merit Scholarships. National Merit Scholarships available include a National Merit $2,500 Scholarship, a corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship and a college-sponsored Merit Scholarship.

Approximately 1.5 million students took the PSAT last October, an exam that tests critical reading, mathematics and writing skills.

The East Meadow School District did not return a call seeking comment.