WOODLAND HILLS—Nicolette Gelnak, of Woodland Hills who attends Agoura Hills High School, was one of 300 California students to receive $2,500 from National Merit Scholarships. The California students were chosen out of 15,000 finalists for the 2019 National Merit Scholarships Program.

As a junior at Agoura High School, Gelnak served as the Commissioner of Fundraising on her student council. Gelnak won the AP Scholar with Honor Award which is an award given to students who receive a 3.25 on all AP exams taken, and scores 3 or higher on four or more of the exams taken. Gelnak aspires to pursue a career in academia.

The finalists are judged in each state to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s high school graduating seniors.

The finalists are selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors. They appraise a substantial amount of information submitted by both the finalists and their high schools. Their academic record, including the difficulty of the subject studied and the grades earned, results from standardized tests, contributions and leadership in both school and community activities, an essay written by the finalist, and a letter of recommendation by a high school official are all items appraised by the committee.

More scholarship winners are expected to be announced next month. On June 5 and July 15 more than 4,000 merit scholarship awards will be handed out. By the end of this year’s competition, a total of 7,600 finalists will have earned the “merit scholar” title and will have received over $31 million in college scholarships. On April 17, more than 1,000 recipients of merit-scholarships were named.

The National Merit Scholarship Corporation was founded in 1955 and is a non-profit corporation that functions without government assistance. Most of the scholarships are subsidized by approximately 400 independent corporate and college sponsors who value and share NMSC’s goals of encouraging academic excellence at all levels of education and celebrating academically talented youth.