Park High Students in The Running for the National Merit Scholarship

Ashlan Mortensen, Geyser Staff Writer

When preparing for the PSAT their junior year, seniors Bobby Durgan and Summer Melin never thought that it could yield such bountiful opportunities. This exam tests three different areas: reading, writing and language and math. Out of all the students that take the test every year, only the top 1% of the test takers are eligible for the National Merit Scholarship, determined by their median scores on the PSAT. Last year, there were 1.5 million juniors that took the test and 16,000 students were in the top 1%. These semi-finalists must submit an application for the scholarship along with their SAT or ACT score, from which 7,600 students will be selected to receive full ride tuition to the school of their choice.  

Melin is unsure what school she would like to go to yet, “but I am interested in Swarthmore, Boden or BYU-Idaho,” she said. Melin had actually forgotten about the PSAT until she was told that she was a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship. “It’s cool, I didn’t think that I actually did that good on the PSAT,” she said. Melin is unsure what she will major in but says, ”I think that I will try different classes to figure it out.”  Her tip to future juniors who will take the PSAT is “ Don’t stress about it, and if it goes badly, don’t worry about it too much.”

The other Park High senior in the running for the National Merit Scholarship is Bobby Durgan. Durgan would like to attend Moody in Chicago or study at the University of Montana.  “If I get the scholarship, I will apply to some other places,” he explained.  Durgan thinks that it is cool that he is a semifinalist and hopes to become a finalist. While in college, he would like to study law but he is still unsure what branch. Durgan’s tip to juniors preparing to take the PSAT is to review the general topics like grammar.  

Park High counselor Abby Kinsey said that “It is very cool that we have two students who have made it to the semi-finals this year,” explaining that a much larger school like Bozeman High School had six National Merit Semi-Finalists this year.  Per capita, Park High’s performance is impressive, she said.

Durgan and Melin will  find out if they were awarded the scholarship in February. 

Senior Bobby Durgan in his 2022 senior photo.
Senior Summer Melin in her 2022 senior photo