Arcadia High's Students Continue Strong Showing in National Merit Scholar Program

2023 Arcadia High Nat Merit Scholars
Arcadia High has 11 Semifinalists (photographed above with their school counselors and Arcadia High Principal Dr. Angie Dillman) in the prestigious National Merit Scholarship Program.

11 Arcadia High students have been recognized as Semifinalists in the 69th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Arcadia High’s 2024 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists join an elite group of students that represent the top 1% of high school seniors across the nation. Over the past 30, Arcadia High School has had at least 11 or more students earn this celebrated distinction, with a total of nearly 700 students from Arcadia High named Semifinalists in the last three decades.

Arcadia High’s 2024 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists: (Alphabetical order by last name)

Isaac Cheng, Hongji Dai, Casey R. Kim, Kaitlyn A. Kwan, Caroline J. Li, Jeffrey Oo, Steven H. Shi, Philip Tan, William Wong, Felicia Ye, and Katelyn A. Yu

Students begin their National Merit Scholarship Program journey during their junior year of high school when they take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). Over 1.3 million juniors from about 21,000 high schools across the country took the 2022 PSAT/NMSQT, which operated as the initial screening tool for entry into the National Merit Scholarship Program. The nationwide cohort of this year’s Semifinalists represent the highest-scoring entrants from each state. 


National Merit Semifinalist

Arcadia High’s 2024 National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists received notice of this honor through a surprise announcement by their school counselors.

Of the approximately 16,000 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists selected, more than 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level and will be notified of this designation in February 2024. To be considered for a finalist spot in the National Merit Scholarship Program, Arcadia High’s 11 semifinalists will work closely with their school counselors to submit a detailed scholarship application, which will include information about their academic records, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and rewards received. Each Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SATor ACT scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test to be considered for advancement in the program. 

National Merit Scholarship finalists will be eligible to compete for nearly 7,140 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $28 million, which will be announced next spring. 

In addition to Arcadia High’s consistently notable National Merit Scholarship Program participation, Arcadia High School was recently ranked in the top 4% of the best public high schools nationally, according to U.S.  News & World Report. Likewise, Arcadia High holds a position in the top 2% of the best public high schools in the state and is listed in the top 10 Best Public High Schools in L.A. County, according to Arcadia High graduates are represented in every Ivy League school and in top universities across the country, with Arcadia High’s Class of 2023 earning an impressive 100% graduation rate. For additional details on the National Merit Scholarship program, visit, and for information about Arcadia High School, visit