Seven Conway high school students have been named National Merit Finalists, according to a news release from the school.

The recognition means Conway students are among the best of the best students nationwide.

The students are nationally among about 15,000 semifinalists who were notified last month that they had advanced to Finalist standing, according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation’s website. The group runs the Merit program, which is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships, the website said.

"Being a finalist opens all sorts of doors for me," wrote Jackson Longo, 18, in a survey about the award. "It is a huge honor to be selected and is one of the greatest highlights of my high school career."

Students said the recognition will open doors for them — including scholarships to attend college. Longo said he has a shot at the Presidential Scholarship for the school in Tulsa he wants to attend, thanks to his status as a Finalist. For other students, the recognition gives them better odds at getting into choice schools.

"For me, it means a better chance of being accepted to my dream schools, but also (it) offers me some backup options," wrote Selene Spatz, 17.

All students called the recognition an honor.

Finalists are: Longo, Spatz, Alanna Davis, Elisa DeTogni, Anna Udochi, Ashten Yarberry and Keegan Fletcher.

Students said they are excited about the recognition. They knew where they where when they were told they were finalists.

"I was having a normal day at school when I was told to go to my counselor’s office," wrote Udochi, 18. "She told me then that I was a Finalist, and it made me super-duper happy because I was so worried that I wouldn’t make it!"