Rachel Nixon is a National Merit Semifinalist

Senior Rachel Nixon is the only student in the school to earn the opportunity to become a National Merit Scholar

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Josie Julien

“Use the PSAT practice book, don’t just throw it away like most people do.” That’s the advice senior Rachel Nixon would give to underclassmen preparing to take the notorious test. Nixon followed that advice, and it really could pay off – literally.

Rachel Nixon is a National Merit Semifinalist, meaning her PSAT score exceeded the cutoff for Missouri, and she is eligible to become a Finalist, earning the title of National Merit Scholar. She needs to submit an application, which consists of her test scores, grades, and an essay. She will find out in February if she qualified for the honor.

“I didn’t really know what to expect, because I hadn’t taken the SAT nor the PSAT,” Nixon said. “I thought I did okay, but I wasn’t sure if it was good enough.”

So far, it seems as though her score could be good enough, and if she continues on in the process, she could earn some huge awards for college. She’s already looking at Missouri S&T and Truman State University, but schools such as Wichita State and North Dakota State offer her amazing scholarships.

“They would cover full tuition, full room and board, and some other schools even give extra stuff for travel abroad,” Nixon said. She didn’t consider these schools before she knew about her opportunities, but now that she does, many more doors have opened.

Nixon suggested the PSAT was easier than the ACT, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have its own trouble spots.

“[The test] didn’t have a science section, and it also didn’t have any writing,” Nixon said, “but it had different challenges, like vocabulary.”

Last year, 32 students in the St. Louis area received this honor, one from FHC. Maybe this year there could be one more. Next year there could be even more, as long as no one throws away that practice book.