Ashwin Bardhwaj: A National Merit Semifinalist

Senior Ashwin Bardhwaj makes a step towards getting a full-ride to college


Photo by McKenna Crenshaw

Ashwin Bardhwaj, the semi-finalist who can win his ride to college.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition between tens of thousands of high school students across the nation. Senior Ashwin Bardhwaj, is a semifinalist in the competition.
The scholarship program uses the PSAT scores to find a group of students who are eligible to compete. There are several levels to this scholarship and Bardhwaj is in the semi finalist stage, getting ready for finals. After the finalist portion, there is the winner selection. Here, they will then designate scholarships, and whether or not it’s a corporate or a financial scholarship. Depending on the college, the student will get a full ride or other benefits.
Bardhwaj did not specifically apply for the program, he scored high enough on the PSAT which met the NMSC program entry requirements. He was on the list of semifinalists the organization sends out to the schools. This allowed a door to open for him and he wanted to see where he could take this opportunity.
“[The National Merit Scholarship] will open opportunities for me a lot. Just having the opportunity for a little more financial freedom to apply to schools and I think that’s a real big thing,” Bardhwaj said.
Bardhwaj plans on staying locally for college. He applied to nearby UC’s, ivy leagues, etc. He is highly interested in more of the nearby ivy leagues and plans on majoring in the STEM field. After he receives his bachelor’s degree he will then decide if he will be attending postgraduate school. The opportunities that will open up for him is the determining factor for his plan in STEM.
Balancing his time with scholarship applications, college applications, and high school activities such as being a part of the Mission Hills High School band The Cardinal Alliance could be hectic, but Bardhwaj has supporters alongside him.
“My teachers have helped me, my counselor, Ms. Baker, has been helping me through a lot of the application process, and also my parents who have been really supportive,” Bardhwaj said.
Bardhwajs’ main priority for now is finishing and enjoying his full last year here at Mission Hills High school. He still has a few more steps, but he is at a great start because of this scholarship program. This National Merit Scholarship will grant him more academic support and give him opportunities for his future.