Heritage High School senior Duncan Cox has reached another tier in the United States Department of Education National Merit Scholar rankings.
In September of 2016, Cox was notified that he’d been recognized as one of 16,000 semi-finalists across the nation after scoring in the top 1% of high school students taking the PSAT during his junior year. That test is a qualifier for the National Merit Scholarship.
Just this week, Duncan was notified through his principal, Kim Hass, that he’s now been recognized as one of only 15,000 finalists.
To get this this level, in addition to taking the PSAT, Duncan submitted an essay, obtained a school recommendation, had his qualifications reviewed, and was initially selected as a semi-finalist. The final level of recognition is that of recipient, and will include only half of the 15,000 finalists. Cox will need to submit yet another essay for consideration as a recipient.
Cox said the recognition means a great deal.
“It means I might have a better chance of getting into the schools I’d like to apply to,” he said. “Some schools have scholarships for just being a finalist, and now I can be considered for those as well, that are separate from the National Merit Scholarship. Alabama, for instance, pays the complete costs of the first year of school.” Cox has applied to Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Georgia Tech, Washington University, Stanford, and Yale, and has already been accepted for enrollment at UT Knoxville and Alabama.
Initially, Cox said he’s considering a major in mechanical engineering, but acknowledges that may change over time. For now, he’s enjoying the fact that his achievements have opened up new doors of post-secondary assistance.
Hass said she’s thrilled at the recognition, saying, “I’m like a proud parent to know he’s the first from Heritage to ever achieve this. As a result of his achievements, we can now encourage other of our students to at least pursue this. We now have 17 scheduled to take the pre-PSAT for this year.”