Two Cobb Students Named 2023 Merit Scholarship Winners


National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) has released the names of the first group of winners in the 68th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. Approximately 840 distinguished high school seniors have won corporate-sponsored National Merit Scholarship awards financed by about 107 corporations, company foundations, and other business organizations. Two of those seniors are Cobb Schools' students at Walton and Wheeler.

Scholars were selected from students who advanced to the Finalist level in the National Merit Scholarship competition and met the criteria of their scholarship sponsors. Corporate sponsors provide National Merit Scholarships for Finalists who are children of their employees, residents of communities the company serves, or who plan to pursue college majors or careers the sponsor wishes to encourage.

Most of these awards are renewable for up to four years of college undergraduate study and provide annual stipends that range from $1,000 to $10,000 per year. Some offer a single payment between $2,500 and $5,000. Recipients can use their awards at any regionally accredited U.S. college or university of their choice.

Funding for these National Merit Scholarships is provided by corporate organizations that represent nearly all sectors of American industry. Sponsors from the business community have underwritten awards in all 68 competitions, expending or committing more than $858 million to support the intellectual development of the nation's scholastically talented youth.

To be considered, the current winners entered the 2023 National Merit Scholarship Program when they took the 2021 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. In September 2022, more than 16,000 Semifinalists were designated on a state-representational basis in numbers proportional to each state's percentage of the national total of graduating high school seniors. Semifinalists were the highest-scoring program entrants in each state, representing less than one percent of the nation's seniors.

Semifinalists had to fulfill requirements to advance to Finalist standing. Each Semifinalist was asked to complete a detailed scholarship application, which included writing an essay and providing information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to have an outstanding academic record, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, and earn SAT® or ACT® scores that confirmed their qualifying test performance. From the Semifinalist group, over 15,000 met Finalist requirements.

By the conclusion of the 2023 competition, more than 7,140 Finalists will have been selected to receive National Merit Scholarships totaling nearly $28 million. Winners are the Finalist candidates judged to have the strongest combination of academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

The two first-round winners from Cobb School District for 2023 are:

Tianyue Xu, Walton, Probable career field: Law


The State Farm Companies Foundation believes in developing visionary youth through the power of education. Each spring, the Foundation awards 100 scholarships to legal dependents of employees, agents, and retirees of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries (State Farm®). State Farm Companies Foundation is a tax-exempt private foundation funded by State Farm, the largest auto insurer in the U.S.

Angie Y. Zhu, Wheeler, Probable career field: Finance


Norfolk Southern's educational aid program furthers educational opportunities by supporting higher learning. In addition to these scholarships, which are supported by Norfolk Southern Foundation, Norfolk Southern has an employee tuition assistance program and a matching gifts program. Norfolk Southern operates approximately 21,300 route miles in 22 eastern states, the District of Columbia, and Ontario, Canada.

Congratulations Tianyue and Angie! Your hard work and dedication have paid off, and you are among the top in the state and the nation. Well done! Great job supporting these National Merit Scholars, Walton, and Wheeler!