Caution: Using numbers of Semifinalists to compare high schools, educational systems, or states will result in erroneous conclusions. The National Merit® Scholarship Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The program does not measure the quality or effectiveness of education  within a school, system, or state. For more information about the competition, please visit

Thirty-three seniors from all high schools across Leander ISD have been recognized as Semifinalists in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program.

“I’m excited to see the continuous improvement of learners at all high schools in Leander ISD,” LISD Advanced Programs Director Shirley Bachus said. “Not only are all schools represented, but we continue to grow in the number of learners earning this award. As the College Board shifts the test from paper to digital this year, we will continue to monitor and support students in their efforts to achieve this recognition.”

Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC®) announced the names of more than 16,000 Semifinalists in the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program this September. These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million that will be offered next spring. To be considered for a Merit Scholarship® award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 95 percent of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalist standing, and approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning the Merit Scholar® title. 

2023–2024 National Merit Semifinalists from Leander ISD:

  • Sujith Kumar Alluru, Vista Ridge High School
  • Alexander Bendle, Rouse High School
  • Josiah Bishara, Vista Ridge High School
  • Devon Chau, Vandegrift High School
  • Theodore Chau, Vandegrift High School
  • Abby Christiansen, Leander High School
  • Sanil M Desai, Cedar Park High School
  • Blake Fieleke, Vandegrift High School
  • Caitlin Garrett, Vandegrift High School
  • Alexander Gilsbach, Cedar Park High School
  • Anjali Gorti, Vandegrift High School
  • Rahul Gupta, Vandegrift High School
  • Cameron Hong, Vandegrift High School
  • Kevin Huang, Vandegrift High School
  • Haley Judd, Vandegrift High School
  • Noa Kim, Cedar Park High School
  • Nathan Li, Cedar Park High School
  • Samuel Li, Vandegrift High School
  • Carter Luppino, Vandegrift High School
  • Lucille McElmurry, Vandegrift High School
  • Cole Mutter, Vandegrift High School
  • Paige Radloff, Vandegrift High School
  • Henry Ralian, Vandegrift High School
  • Pranav Rao, Vista Ridge High School
  • Rachel Reynolds, Vandegrift High School
  • Diya Shetty, Vista Ridge High School
  • Rebecca Tang, Vandegrift High School
  • Ryan Tosh, Glenn High School
  • Thienmy Tran, Vista Ridge High School
  • Lauren Washburn, Cedar Park High School
  • Bowie Wu, Cedar Park High School
  • Amy Xu, Vandegrift High School
  • Sophia Zhang, Vandegrift High School

NMSC, a not-for-profit organization that operates without government assistance, was established in 1955 specifically to conduct the annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Scholarships are underwritten by NMSC with its own funds and by approximately 320 business organizations and higher education institutions that share NMSC’s goals of honoring the nation’s scholastic champions and encouraging the pursuit of academic excellence.

Steps in the 2024 Competition

Over 1.3 million juniors in about 21,000 high schools entered the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. The number of Semifinalists in a state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the national total of graduating seniors. To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalist’s academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test. 

From over 16,000 Semifinalists, more than 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation. All National Merit Scholarship winners will be selected from this group of Finalists. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

National Merit Scholarships 

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2024. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 840 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 160 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria, such as children of the grantor’s employees or residents of communities where sponsor plants or offices are located. In addition, about 160 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 3,800 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution. 

National Merit Scholarship winners of 2024 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join nearly 375,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title.