By AVA WELSH
This year, 22 UHS students qualified as semifinalists for the National Merit scholarship. This number decreased from last year’s count of 48 semifinalists.
The scholarship is based on students’ scores on the PSAT taken during their junior year, as well as the SAT itself. Semifinalist Michelle Chow (Sr.) said, “The ACT is bigger now, and if you want to become a National Merit semifinalist you have to take the SAT as well. I think that’s why the number went down.”
Dr. Kevin Astor (Principal) said, “I think there might be some factors in the popularity of the ACT versus the SAT but I’m not worried, we’re still preparing strongly.”
Around Orange County, UHS still has one of the higher numbers of National Merit semifinalists. Seven students qualified from Irvine High School, 13 from Woodbridge and 28 from Northwood. All IUSD schools observed a decrease in National Merit semifinalists this year.
Over the years UHS has had a significantly higher amount of national merit scholarship finalists, and this year’s shows the most dramatic drop of the past five years. Allison Vaught (Jr.) said, “It’s still an impressive amount, I’m happy for Uni.”