National Merit Scholarship: Mariah Ragsdale

By Mackenzie Schutte

Eastern Senior, Mariah Ragsdale, is one of this year’s National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists. Becoming a finalist means she could receive full tuition, plus $8,000 for educational purposes.

In order for Ragsdale to become a semifinalist, she was required to have a PSAT score from the late 100’s to early 200’s. She scored 219, which is one more than the average of semifinalists in Kentucky.

Being able to score well on tests is sometimes natural for some people. “I didn’t really study, I just took a bunch of practice tests on Kahn Academy,” Ragsdale said.

Ragsdale is now going to proceed to the next step and fill out the finalist application. This consists of writing a 500 word essay and offering details about honors and awards, service acts, SAT score, extra-curriculars and work experience.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships began in 1955. According to, in early September, about 16,00 students, were notified that they qualified as semifinalists.  They make up approximately one-third of the 50,000 high scorers on the PSAT.