Senior Qualifies for National Scholarship

Senior Collin Nelson was recently selected as a semi-finalist for the National Achievement Scholarship, which recognizes high-achieving African-American high school students. Receiving a high score on the PSAT has enabled many students nationwide to receive scholarships offered through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC).

Nelson did not take the PSAT with the intent of receiving the scholarship, but on the day of the test, he asked to be considered for associated scholarships.

“I am being recognized on national level for all my hard work. I did my best on the PSAT and was rewarded for it,” Nelson said.

The National Achievement Scholarship Program under the NMSC notified Nelson that he qualified for the scholarship, allowing him to begin the application process. Although the foundation uses PSAT scores to determine students who qualify, several other factors such as grades and service are considered. Out of the 17 National Achievement Scholarship semi-finalists in Maryland, Nelson was the only one from RHS.

According to MCPS, the county accounted for a quarter of the semi-finalists in Maryland. There are 1,600 semi-finalists from around the country and in January, 800 of them will be selected to receive the $2,500 scholarship. If students do not ultimately win the scholarship, the NMSC still informs colleges of the names of the finalist. As a result, students can enhance their visibility to the colleges which they are applying to.

English teacher William Jameson had Nelson as a IB 11 English student last year. “He’s so dedicated. I can never remember a time where he whined or complained,” Jameson said.

Nelson said he hopes that his national recognition will show colleges his dedication to academics. Additionally, he hopes that the scholarship will reduce the amount of student loan money he needs when he majors in political science. Upon completing his political science major, he plans to attend law school. Besides the National Achievement Scholarship, Nelson hopes to be awarded other scholarships he applied for as well.

“If you want to apply for a scholarship like this, take the PSAT seriously. Treat it like the real SAT and do your best, and study if you need to, to get the best score possible,” Nelson said.

Seniors across the country are undergoing the stressful college application process. As exciting as college is, many students are applying for scholarships to prepare for the financial obligations that come with paying for tuition. There are thousands of scholarships both nationwide and internationally that students can apply for based on their varying abilities.

Students can find information about scholarships through the RHS College and Career Center. Janet Harris, the college and career coordinator, wants to help students find scholarships that best fit their ability. She posts a monthly newsletter on the school website that has a list of upcoming scholarship deadlines.

“In a lot of cases, students will say that they can’t afford college tuition, so getting a scholarship makes all the difference,” Harris said.