Six students from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program, including Devika Maetha of Conway.

Metha is the daughter of Rahul and Kaberi Metha.

About 1.5 million juniors in some 22,000 high schools across the nation entered the 2011 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the PSAT. The highest scoring entrants in each state were selected as the 16,000 semifinalists. There were 203 semifinalists in Arkansas. 

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, a semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the high school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the PSAT. The student and a high school official must submit a detailed scholarship application, which includes the student’s essay and information about the his or her participation and leadership in school and community activities.

Approximately 15,000 semifinalists are expected to advance to the finalist level and it is from this group that all National Merit Scholarship winners will be chosen. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.