Lakeview Student Aims High


Caitlin Mark, reporter

Lakeview senior Kylie Schwartz was one of the 1.5 million students that entered the National Merit Scholarship Program and she is now ranked in the top 1.5% of high school students. Through her efforts, Schwartz recently received the Letter of Commendation through the program. She said she hopes that other Lakeview students see how her work provided a great addition to her resume when applying to colleges and scholarships.

Each year the program is held and students from all over the country apply in hopes to be recognized academically for a chance at a scholarship. Students have the opportunity to win the National Merit $2500 Scholarships, Corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards, or College-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards.

The requirements to apply for the scholarship program are to take the PSAT no later than the third year in grades ninth through twelfth (junior year is most popular time to take it),  be enrolled as a high school student that plans on completing school and planning on attending college, and attend high school in the United States, the District of Columbia, or U.S. commonwealth and territory.

When asked how she heard about applying for the scholarship, Schwartz replied with,Mrs. Schnurrenberger told me about the benefits of taking the PSAT. Also, all of my friends in Texas, which is where I lived for ten years, were required to take the test at their schools. I grew up hearing about it, so I was definitely more informed than my peers at Lakeview. I think that the school needs to do a better job of informing students about the PSAT and National Merit Scholarship.” 

During Schwartz’s junior year, she took the PSAT where her scores were then sent to the National Merit Scholarship Program. Students scores are then calculated by doubling the sums of all areas on the test. The index score then determines if a student’s score will be used for entry and higher recognition or if a student’s score will not be used for further entry. In September, around 50,000 out of the 1.5 million entries are notified by their school if they have become semifinalists or if they have qualified as Commended Students.

Her PSAT score was ranked in the top 1.5 percent in the United States. In the past two years Schwartz has been one of the top students at Lakeview to rank that high along with 2022 graduate Carly Hawn.

Only 34,000 students out of the 50,000 students with the highest scores on the PSAT are commended. Schwartz was one of those 34,000 in which Mr. Herrotlaz said, “Kylie being one of the 34,000 that was commended is a pretty big deal here at Lakeview.” 

Commended students are no longer able to compete for the National Merit Scholarship, but some of them do become candidates for Special Scholarships sponsored by corporations and businesses. Schwartz also said, I received the Letter of Commendation, which is a high honor and I can put it in my achievements on my resume. This will be beneficial when applying for colleges” when it came to explaining to what she was awarded from the program. 

More than 16,000 test takers are chosen as semi-finalists and then 15,000 are chosen to be finalist. Finalists are chosen by abilities and skills. In the following months around the beginning of March continuing to mid-June about 7,25o finalists are notified that they have been chosen for either three of the scholarship awards. Most students who take the test are awarded nothing, so for Kylie to be commended is a major accomplishment for future colleges to see her listed on her resume.

Earlier Schwartz said that Lakeview should try and be more vocal about the Merit Scholarship so students can begin preparing for the PSAT earlier on in their high school career. She offered this advice to underclassmen, I definitely recommend taking the PSAT. There are so many benefits, including being considered for the scholarship, as well as the scores being sent to colleges. You never know if you don’t at least try.”

Schwartz plans to major in biomedical engineering but is still deciding on a school and preparing applications.

Congratulations Kylie, we wish you the best of luck for your bright future ahead of you!