Oakdale’s Very Own National Merit Scholar Semifinalist

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by Gabby Redpath

The PSAT not only prepares students for the SAT but also prepares students for college. The National Merit Scholarship helps to finance college. College is expensive; winning a scholarship can assist a student in paying their way through the college of their choice.

To win the National Merit Scholarship, students must compete against a group of their most intelligent peers. Each state has a select group of commended students and semifinalists.

Here at Oakdale we have four commended students and one semifinalist. Seniors Matt Beveridge, Anna Hartman, Alexandra Servey, and Nathaniel Shelley all were awarded Letters of Commendation; Senior Qianze Zhang continued on to be considered a semifinalist.

“Because I studied so much, I expected to do well,” says Zhang. Her daily independent studying routine proved to be effective; she recommends studying at home rather than taking an expensive class.

“Don’t let your books sit at home and rot. Just an hour a day really adds up,” Zhang says. She did not allow studying to take over her entire life — as it shouldn’t — but she still dedicated a good amount of her time to preparation.

In order for semifinalists to continue to be finalists, they must complete an essay similar to a college application essay. Being able to express personality and writing abilities within 500 words is a difficult yet important task. Hopefully Zhang has what it takes to move on to the next round and win the scholarship.

“Test scores do not define your intelligence, and they definitely don’t define you.” Zhang is not only proud of her accomplishments but also encourages others not to be discouraged by scores that don’t meet their expectations. Tests of this caliber are a fantastic way to prepare for college; remember the “P” in PSAT stands for practice.