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Cookeville High Student a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist

Cookeville High Dean of  Students Claudia Zavala and Hope Roberson

Hope Roberson is one step closer to earning a National Merit Scholarship. The Cookeville High senior has learned that she is a semifinalist in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program.

More than 1.3 million juniors representing more than 21,000 high schools entered the program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as the initial screening of program entrants. Hope is included in a nationwide pool of semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, including the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

“I knew I did pretty well on the test,” said Hope. “I’m excited about being a semifinalist.”

The daughter of Charles and Laura Roberson, Hope is pretty good at taking tests. A few months ago, she scored a perfect 36 on her ACT exam. 

“I felt confident, but I didn’t think I had made a 36,” Hope said. “I didn’t expect that at all. It was very surreal.”

Being a semifinalist for the prestigious National Merit Scholarship is also somewhat surreal for Hope. She plans on pursuing a career in nursing and has narrowed her collegiate choices to Tennessee Tech, Lipscomb University, and Harding University. 

“In my household, my parents have always told me to do my best,” said Hope. “I’ve always had the drive to succeed.” 

Hope will 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. 

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.