Madison Highland Prep Senior Dodge Flynn took on the challenge of applying for the National Merit Scholarship and has been named a finalist for the prestigious award.
The process to become a National Merit Scholar is arduous and competitive. Each year, 1.6 million students apply for the scholarship, which has been around since 1955.
Students must take the PSAT or National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT) during their sophomore or junior year of high school. Afterward, they must take the SAT or ACT and earn scores that confirm their performance on the previous test.
The student’s school must also provide transcripts that show the student has maintained academic excellence each year of their high school career.
What makes this scholarship even more difficult to achieve is that the score to qualify changes year to year. The score to qualify is relative and based on how well all students perform.
Flynn met every qualification for the scholarship, including writing an essay and getting recommendations from his teachers.
Flynn has kept himself busy during his high school years. When he entered high school, he was a year younger than others in his grade. He is also advanced in math, and the school has provided ample opportunities to challenge him.
Beyond academics, Flynn has kept his mind sharp with plenty of extracurricular activities.
He played basketball all four years; he’s president of the chess club; he participated in the academic decathlon; and he plays the saxophone. He also started an esports gaming club with one of his friends in school.
Flynn also participates in a bowling league. “I started in the league this year,” he said, “and won the first two tournaments I participated in.”
With so much going on, many may ask where he finds inspiration to keep pushing through.
“My dad grew up needing to earn everything,” Flynn said. “Now, I have the opportunity to make use of my resources to become the best person I can be. My grandma is also an Italian immigrant, so the hard-working mentality has been a core foundation in my family.”
That mentality is still pushing him forward. Although he hasn’t chosen a college yet, Flynn is hoping to major in data analytics and business science. He wants to get into statistics and is looking at financial management. Eventually, he would like to analyze data for a corporation.