The new TTU students and National Merit finalists are Sarah Gray of Cookeville High School, David Franklin of Livingston Academy and Christopher Kelly of Oakland High School in Murfreesboro.
The three were among 15,000 finalists selected nationwide out of a pool of 1.5 million students who took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
"These students are among our most academically talented," said Jim Gray, associate director of admissions for TTU who is also Sarah Gray's father. "This is a very elite group of students."
The National Merit Scholarship Program began in 1955. The program focuses on high school students who enter by taking a preliminary test. The test contains a mixture of questions that evaluate students in a number of areas from critical reading to math to writing skills.
Finalists must have an outstanding academic record throughout their high school careers and be recommended by their high school principals. Finalists are students who are high achievers both academically and in their schools and communities.
The National Merit Program operates without government assistance. Scholarships are funded by 450 business organizations that share the goal of honoring scholastic champions.