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Out-of-Door Scholars Earn National Merit Recognition

The Out-of-Door Academy College Counseling Office is pleased to announce that senior Connor Lea has been named a National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist. In addition, Megan Dowdell ’22 and Samantha Malcolm ’22 have been recognized as Commended Scholars, and Andres Espinel ’22 was named a National Merit Hispanic Scholar.
Each year, more than 1.5 million students in the U.S. sit for the PSAT 11 in October of their junior year. Of that total, only 16,000 students qualify as Semifinalists. This small pool of students are identified as the highest scoring entrants, roughly the top 0.5%, from each state. As a Semifinalist, Connor will now have the opportunity to continue in the competition for National Merit Scholarships worth more than $32 million and earn a Merit Scholar® title.

Approximately 34,000 students, 3-4%, are identified as Commended Scholars recognized on the basis of a nationally applied selection index score. These students receive Letters of Commendation in recognition of their outstanding academic promise. Both groups, Semifinalists and Commended Scholars, make up the top 50,000 of the total 1.5 million test takers annually.

These honors are a testament to student mastery of the PSAT as well as their focus and determination in academic pursuits.

Early exposure to standardized testing beginning with the PSAT 8/9 and ODA’s customized college counseling process for each student, including test preparation through Revolution Test Prep, has helped students become familiar and comfortable with taking the test. These strategies have proven to yield outstanding results for dedicated students and consecutive record-high test scores by recent graduating classes. In addition to the positive outcomes, the program has helped to reduce the anxiety associated with taking the SAT and other standardized tests.

“Connor, Megan, Samantha, and Andres should be exceptionally proud of these recognitions,” said Mr. Darryl Calkins, Co-Director of College Counseling. “They are an example of what can be accomplished through hard work and determination. They are testament to the fact that standardized testing isn’t something to be intimidated by, but rather something that can be mastered through measured practice and focus.”

Out-of-Door is proud of the overall increases in our students’ average test scores and the achievements of these four exceptional seniors who have earned national recognition.

The Out-of-Door Academy

LOWER SCHOOL |  Historic Siesta Key Campus  |  Pre-K – Grade 5
444 Reid Street, Sarasota, FL 34242  |  941-349-3223  |  Fax: 941-349-8133

  |  Uihlein Campus in Lakewood Ranch  |  Grades 6 – 8 |  Grades 9 – 12
5950 Deer Drive, Sarasota, FL 34240  |  941-349-3223  |  Fax: 941-907-1251
The Out-of-Door Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, physical ability, religion, sex, age, gender, sexual orientation, or national origin.
The Out-of-Door Academy is an equal opportunity employer.

© 2021 The Out-of-Door Academy