The National Merit Scholarship Program announced today that 279 students from Minnesota have been named semifinalists for 2017.

The Minnesota seniors are among about 16,000 semifinalists named as part of the annual academic competition. The students, who were selected based on scores on a PSAT qualifying test, will compete for some 7,500 scholarships worth about $33 million, to be awarded this spring.

The nationwide pool of semifinalists represents less than 1 percent of U.S. high school seniors and includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state. These seniors, most of whom will advance to finalist status, must submit a scholarship application that includes an outstanding academic record, a recommendation from their schools, an essay, and SAT scores than confirm the results of the PSAT.

In 2016, 303 students from Minnesota qualified as National Merit Semifinalists.

In addition to scholarships awarded by the non-profit National Merit organization, about 1,000 corporate-sponsored awards and an additional 4,000 college-sponsored awards will be chosen, according to the group. Some colleges award full-tuition (or more) scholarships to National Merit Semifinalists or National Merit Finalists.

National Merit Scholarship winners will be announced between April and July of 2017.

See the complete Minnesota list, organized by city and high school.