December 15, 2017
School & Youth
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  • After taking the PSAT his junior year, Clifford Jamieson has been declared a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship. He will be in the running for an array of scholarships toward his college education.
    After taking the PSAT his junior year, Clifford Jamieson has been declared a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship. He will be in the running for an array of scholarships toward his college education.

Meet National Merit Scholar Semifinalist Clifford Jamieson

Alena Carhart
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October 4, 2017

SPHS Senior Is One Of The Highest Scoring Entrants In Maryland

From a pool of 50,000 high-scoring test takers in the United States, only 16,000 are chosen as National Merit Scholarship semifinalists, and senior Clifford Jamieson is one of them.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, less than 1 percent of the nation’s high school graduating seniors will qualify as semifinalists. Jamieson is one of the 300 students in Maryland who qualified in 2017. To qualify for the National Merit Scholarship, a student has to take the PSAT in his or her junior year and be among the top-scoring students. Those who achieve that status will be considered a commended student – about 34,000 students fit that criteria – and a third of them are considered as potential semifinalists. Fifteen-thousand students will be named finalists and get the opportunity to receive $2,500 scholarships, corporate sponsorship and college sponsorship awards.

To prepare for the rigorous selection process, Jamieson utilized the College Board PSAT practice packet. “I remember taking that home and reading through it and practicing, even though the freshman [and sophomore] tests were just for practice. I took those first two tests seriously and got a good night's rest, a good breakfast and some practice in beforehand,” said Jamieson. “I followed pretty much the same process for the SAT: practicing in test conditions as often as possible, grading my practice tests, and seeing where I could improve and learn more.” In doing so, he was able to excel on both the PSAT and the SAT.

During his free time while school is in session, Jamieson serves as one of the Mock Trial captains, president of the SPHS Class of 2018 and treasurer of the student body, a member of the WoodsWork youth committee and a performer in Rock ‘N’ Roll Revival. He is able to do all this while having a full school schedule. During summer, he volunteered with WoodsWork for the last week in June, swam and dove for Severn River Swim Club, “engaged in some small-scale solar eclipse glasses entrepreneurship,” was a lifeguard at his neighborhood beach and mowed lawns. Along with these activities, he took an online microeconomics and macroeconomics class at University of Maryland.

He plans on continuing his education at a four-year institution. “There are plenty of fields I'd like to explore further, from biology to computer science to economics, and for this reason, I'm not declaring any major for now,” expressed Jamieson. “I'd like to get to know more about other subjects in the next few years, and then make a more informed decision about my main focus of study later on.”

When spring arrives, Jamieson will learn if he reached the status of National Merit Scholar finalist.


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