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Ryan Oliver Named National Merit Scholarship Winner

May 14, 2020

Radnor High School Senior Ryan Oliver Named 2020 National Merit Scholarship Winner

Ryan Oliver Radnor High School senior Ryan Oliver was recently named a 2020 National Merit $2500 Scholarship winner. He is among 2,500 Merit Scholar designees selected from a talent pool of more than 15,000 Finalists in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. 

Ryan joins classmates Asa Hartman and Amia Korman who were named corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship award winners in April. A total of 21 RHS seniors were named finalists in this year's competition. 

National Merit $2500 Scholarship winners are the Finalists in each state judged to have the strongest combination of accomplishments, skills, and potential for success in rigorous college studies. The number of winners named in each state is proportional to the state’s percentage of the nation’s graduating high school seniors.

These Scholars were selected by a committee of college admissions officers and high school counselors, who appraised a substantial amount of information submitted by both the Finalists and their high schools: the academic record, including difficulty level of subjects studied and grades earned; scores from the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®); contributions and leadership in school and community activities; an essay written by the Finalist; and a recommendation written by a high school official.

NMSC finances most of these single-payment National Merit $2500 Scholarships. Corporations and company foundations that sponsor awards through NMSC also help underwrite these scholarships with grants they provide in lieu of paying administrative fees. Scholars may use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university.

NMSC will name winners of college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards on June 3 and July 13.

More About Ryan

Ryan Oliver is co-leader of the mixed a cappella ensemble Pro Musica and a co-leader of the male a cappella group B Sharps. He is also a founding member of Radnor's barbershop quartet, Fourtissimo. Beginning in sophomore year, he has auditioned through the ranks of PMEA choral ensembles, from Districts, Regionals, and All-State through the NAfME All-National Choir in 2018 and 2019 and NAfME All-East Choir in 2019.

Ryan plays trumpet in the school band and orchestra and sings with the Meistersingers. He served as one of four drum majors for the marching band this past season, and shares the lead trumpet part in the school jazz band. He also has participated in Radnor plays and musicals over the past four years, most recently playing Jean Valjean in Les Misérables.

Outside of music, Ryan competes with the school math club, is an elected member of the Honor Council,serves as vice president of National Honor Society, and is president of the Tri-M Music Honor Society. He plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania to major in Engineering with a possible minor in Music.

2020 National Merit Scholarship Competition

Over 1.5 million juniors in approximately 21,000 high schools entered the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. In September 2019, some 16,000 Semifinalists were designated on a state representational basis in numbers proportional to each state’s percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state and represented less than one percent of the nation’s seniors.

To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship, Semifinalists had to fulfill requirements to advance to Finalist standing. Each Semifinalist was asked to complete a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn 
SAT® or ACT® scores that confirmed their qualifying test performance. From the Semifinalist group, some 15,000 met Finalist requirements.

By the conclusion of the 2020 competition, about 7,600 Finalists will have been selected to receive National Merit Scholarships totaling over $30 million. Winners are the Finalist  candidates judged to have the strongest combination of academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.