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Old 09-19-2011, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Plano, TX
2,057 posts, read 3,423,785 times
Reputation: 1772
Default National Merit Semi-Finalists: 2008-2012 Cumulative Totals - plus 2013 NMSFs

More fun with numbers!

We now have 5 years of posted NMSF data for the area schools. Looking at the combined data might give a clearer picture than just focusing on the performance of one particular class. Here are the cumulative totals for
Dallas-area schools between 2008-2012. (Minimum 4 NMSFs per year on average.)

---

217 Plano Senior

206 TAMS

170 Plano West

118 St. Mark's
114 Flower Mound (LISD)
110 Plano East

88 Hockaday

72 Coppell

67 Highland Park

57 Cistercian
51 FM Marcus (LISD)

44 Southlake Carroll
42 Greenhill
42 Jesuit

38 Hebron (LISD)
38 Allen
35 Garland
33 Pearce (RISD)
30 Martin (AISD)

29 ESD
28 Heritage (G-C ISD)
28 Keller
27 Ursuline
27 Lamar (AISD)
26 Newman Smith (C-FB ISD)
26 Grapevine
24 McKinney Boyd
20 McKinney
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Plano, TX
2,057 posts, read 3,423,785 times
Reputation: 1772
And on a percentage basis...

That same grouping of schools (that is, those with an average of 4 or more NMSFs per year), ranked as a percentage of graduating class.

---

28.4% St. Mark's
23.8% Cistercian
21.7% TAMS

14.7% Hockaday

7.5% Greenhill

6.0% ESD

3.4% Plano West
3.4% Jesuit
3.2% Plano Senior

2.8% Ursuline
2.8% Highland Park
2.8% Flower Mound (LISD)
2.2% Coppell

1.5% Plano East
1.3% Pearce (RISD)
1.3% Southlake Carroll
1.2% FM Marcus (LISD)
1.0% Garland
1.0% Newman Smith (C-FB ISD)
1.0% Hebron (LISD)
1.0% Heritage (G-C ISD)

0.9% Grapevine
0.8% McKinney
0.8% Keller
0.7% Lamar (AISD)
0.7% Martin (AISD)
0.6% McKinney Boyd
0.6% Allen
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:20 PM
 
1,987 posts, read 2,108,339 times
Reputation: 1053
Thanks for posting--very interesting.

I wonder how many of the non-private schools have "PSAT Boot Camp" programs like Flower Mound does? It's a great thing for the kids and I know other schools were thinking of implementing something similar.
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:30 PM
 
15,955 posts, read 25,114,548 times
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Note: Lamar High School in Arlington, despite having 27 National Merit Semi-finalists, is ranked as "Academically Unacceptable" according Texas' crazy rating system.
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Texas
27,801 posts, read 22,309,657 times
Reputation: 32933
Semi-finalist?

Does that even count for anything?

I became a semi-finalist totally by accident. I just showed up at school, they said they had some test for me to take (PSAT), and then I got a letter in the mail asking me to write an essay and send in my SAT score.

It's the finalists that mean something, no? The scholarships, putting it on your resume, etc, right? Do people actually walk around saying they were a 'semi-finalist'?
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:40 PM
 
255 posts, read 405,927 times
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Semifinalist status matters for two reasons: first, because the finalists are never publicized so the public never knows who made the cut from semi-finalist to finalist -- and second, as a practical matter, for college applications semi-finalist status is what goes on the resume because the vast majority of college applications are due before finalist status is determined. 16,000 semi-finalists are selected and of that group 15,000 go on to be finalists -- so virtually all semi-finalists become finalists except those who don't turn in the paperwork, who have terrible grades, who score much lower on their SAT than they did on the PSAT or who have disciplinary issues. Of the finalists, approximately half become National Merit Scholars -- most because they have chosen to attend universities that offer National Merit Scholarships to to students who name that university as their first choice school; a few from corporations that sponsor scholarships for the finalist children of employees, and a few awarded by the National Merit Corporation itself.
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Old 09-19-2011, 03:46 PM
 
Location: Plano, TX
2,057 posts, read 3,423,785 times
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Following up with some analysis and hot sports opinions on these:

1) The raw totals are fun and all (especially since it puts my beloved Plano Senior on top), but the %age numbers are probably more meaningful. One way in which the raw total IS valuable concerns the social setting of the school for top students. The "whiz kids" tend to find each other and self-congregate in a given school, no matter the size. In that context, the PISD schools and Flower Mound seem to offer the largest "critical mass", with averages of 20+ other brainiacs per graduating class.

2) Among private schools, it's no surprise that St. Mark's and Cistercian are the cream of the crop for boys, and Hockaday for girls. I'd say Greenhill underperforms relative to its reputation, and ESD perhaps overperforms a bit.

3) Parish and Lakehill are nowhere to be found on this list. I'd probably send my kid to TCA before those schools.

4) The top-tier Catholic schools, Ursuline and Jesuit, perform in-line with Plano and Plano West. That's always been my perception of those schools, although at least one frequent poster on here disagrees with me. They ARE better (by this measure) than HP, though.

5) LOL at Southlake getting beaten by Pearce.

6) McKinney and Allen might be the caboose of this list, but at least they're on it. The best Frisco ISD school averages 3 NMSFs per year, and they get worse from there.
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Old 09-19-2011, 04:47 PM
 
Location: Plano, TX
2,057 posts, read 3,423,785 times
Reputation: 1772
Quote:
Originally Posted by stan4 View Post
It's the finalists that mean something, no? The scholarships, putting it on your resume, etc, right? Do people actually walk around saying they were a 'semi-finalist'?
What SMS_Parent said.

Semi-finalist == Finalist, unless you burned down your school, are flunking out (back in the day, I made finalist with a 3.1 GPA - indicating the cutoff must be pretty darn low), sent in an essay insulting the educational establishment, or (most likely) don't bother to send in the requested materials.

Finalist -> Scholar depends very little on relative merit, and far more on where your parents work or what particular school you choose. For example, U of Tulsa = automatic Scholar, Princeton = not a Scholar (unless you snare one of the very few given by the organization itself). So you could have a goof-off NMSF barely able to squeak into a 2nd-tier school, yet being a Scholar, and a stellar NMSF easily gaining admission to the Ivy League, but not being a Scholar.
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Old 09-19-2011, 05:21 PM
 
8,050 posts, read 10,526,704 times
Reputation: 5467
Quote:
Originally Posted by stan4 View Post
Semi-finalist?

Does that even count for anything?

I became a semi-finalist totally by accident. I just showed up at school, they said they had some test for me to take (PSAT), and then I got a letter in the mail asking me to write an essay and send in my SAT score.

It's the finalists that mean something, no? The scholarships, putting it on your resume, etc, right? Do people actually walk around saying they were a 'semi-finalist'?
Semi-Finalist is important because that's what goes on the college applications. Finalists aren't announced until after colleges have made decisions.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:54 PM
 
2,190 posts, read 4,028,454 times
Reputation: 1337
Quote:
Originally Posted by Big G View Post
Following up with some analysis and hot sports opinions on these:

1) The raw totals are fun and all (especially since it puts my beloved Plano Senior on top), but the %age numbers are probably more meaningful. One way in which the raw total IS valuable concerns the social setting of the school for top students. The "whiz kids" tend to find each other and self-congregate in a given school, no matter the size. In that context, the PISD schools and Flower Mound seem to offer the largest "critical mass", with averages of 20+ other brainiacs per graduating class.

2) Among private schools, it's no surprise that St. Mark's and Cistercian are the cream of the crop for boys, and Hockaday for girls. I'd say Greenhill underperforms relative to its reputation, and ESD perhaps overperforms a bit.

3) Parish and Lakehill are nowhere to be found on this list. I'd probably send my kid to TCA before those schools.

4) The top-tier Catholic schools, Ursuline and Jesuit, perform in-line with Plano and Plano West. That's always been my perception of those schools, although at least one frequent poster on here disagrees with me. They ARE better (by this measure) than HP, though.

5) LOL at Southlake getting beaten by Pearce.

6) McKinney and Allen might be the caboose of this list, but at least they're on it. The best Frisco ISD school averages 3 NMSFs per year, and they get worse from there.

Plano schools all always score near the top. But when you put in percentages, I can now see why the Save Plano West crew (or whatever they go by now) is fighting so hard to stay "smaller."
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