Each October, all BSM juniors take the PSAT test, which also serves as the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. This offers students the opportunity to be recognized nationwide, either as National Merit Scholars, or Commended Scholars.
This year, Benilde-St.Margaret’s did not have any semi-finalists but, had five students recognized as commended scholars–Glenna Greer, Patrick Hunter, Sarah Karels, Hugo Lindsay, and Hannah Scherer. Out of the 1.5 million students who took the test, these students placed in the top 34,000.
Students were pleased to find out the news, satisfied that their hard work had paid off. “I was very excited when I found out the news. It has always been a goal of mine and I am very happy I achieved it,” said Patrick Hunter.
Students have to score very highly on the test to become a semi-finalist or to be commended. Students awarded semi-finalist honors must fill out another application to become a finalist. The application includes an essay and letters of recommendation, among other things, so it is no easy task to complete. However, in most cases, students who put the time and effort into the application move on to become finalists, and historically, many BSM students have, “I do not know of any student who filled out the application that did not become a finalist” said Amanda Anderson, guidance counselor at Benilde-St. Margarets.
Not all students at BSM understand the caliber of the PSAT, so they tend to not prepare or take it seriously. In an effort to help the students perform better on the test, the guidance department gave out more information and practice opportunities over the summer. “We have great test takers it’s just that they don’t know enough to prepare or care that much. We took a few more steps to help the students be ready for the PSAT this summer, giving them information on how to prepare.” said Anderson.
Along with preparation, hopefully the accolades that BSM’s commended scholars are receiving now will prompt students in the future to aim for higher scores. Scherer, Karels, Hunter, Greer, and Lindsay will serve as role models to future students so that they see where their hard work will get them.