Two Racine Unified students have been chosen as National Merit Scholarship semi-finalists after scoring among the top 16,000 high school juniors who took the PSAT (preliminary SAT).

Alyssa Ertl from Washington Park High School and Benjamin Schultz from Walden III High School were notified earlier this month of their achievement. They now have the opportunity to earn one of just 7,400 National Merit Scholarships.

In order to qualify, both students need to have an outstanding academic record, be recommended by an official at their school, write an essay and score in the top 1 percent of all students taking the PSAT.

A total of $32 million will be handed out next spring, and recipients will be announced between April and July 2016.

Ertl and Schultz could be eligible for one of three types of scholarships distributed by the National Merit Scholarship program; $2,500 general award, corporate sponsored awards for the children of participating companies, and college sponsored awards from the student’s first choice college.