California’s selective index, which is the state-specific cutoff minimum PSAT score needed to achieve semifinalist status, is back up to 223, as it was in 2013, after dropping to 222 last year. California’s 2016 index tied with Massachusetts for the second highest cutoff under international students, the District of Columbia and New Jersey, which all had cutoffs of 225.
The number of Harvard-Westlake semifinalists is an increase from last year’s total of 25 students, but this year’s total is also lower than 2013’s record 54 semifinalists.
“We are pleased that the number increased from last year’s 25 even as it appears that the California cutoff, at 223, is the highest it’s ever been,” Upper School Dean Sharon Cuseo said. “Compared with other years, it’s a very solid showing. [It’s] not the highest and not the lowest. But, [it is] very impressive given the very high bar this year.”
The 16,000 semifinalists have the opportunity to apply for 7,400 National Merit Scholarships by submitting an application by October 7 that includes a personal essay as well as their academic transcripts, a letter of recommendation from their deans and a confirmation that they plan to attend college in the fall of 2016. Additionally, to qualify to become a National Merit Finalist, the semifinalist must score well on the SAT.
This list of semifinalists from the Harvard-Westlake class of 2016 is below.
Miles Van Tongeren