Eckstein named a National Merit Finalist, looks to future at West Point
Published 3:06 pm Thursday, February 27, 2020
Making the best use of time has made all the difference for Adam Eckstein, who has been named a National Merit Finalist.
“I studied about an hour out of each day beginning in July,” the St. Aloysius senior said, adding that additional study time continued up until he took the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in October.
Eckstein said he also did a lot of practice tests in preparation for the scholarship program, which is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships.
Approximately 1.6 million high school students enter the National Merit Scholarship Program each year with 15,000 being named as a finalist.
Once being selected as a finalist, Eckstein said he was “surprised.”
“I did not think I scored high enough. It was definitely a shock, but then I was happy,” he said.
“We are so proud of Adam and as he said, he has used his time wisely. It’s amazing to me how much he has accomplished,” St. Aloysius school counselor Jordan Amborn said. “Just to list the number of things he excels in and participates in is amazing. He has taken advantage of what we have to offer.”
Eckstein was a member of the school’s swim team that won the state championship. He is also a member of the school’s tennis and cross country teams.
Outside of sports, he is on the school’s math and science team, Quiz Bowl team and Retreat Team.
In being named a National Merit Finalist, students receive scholarships directly from schools.
Eckstein said he was offered a full scholarship to both Mississippi State University and the University of Mississippi, but has decided to follow family tradition and attend a military academy.
Eckstein has accepted an appointment to the U.S Military Academy at West Point.
Both of Eckstein’s parents, Jeff and Adrienne Eckstein attended military academies. His brother Luke is a graduate of West Point and his sister, Adrienne, is currently attending the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Col.
Eckstein said there was no pressure from the family to attend a military academy.
“My parents were OK with me going where ever,” he said, adding he did visit other schools, namely California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. “I went out and swam with them. But I think I’m just more comfortable with West Point. I have been there and know what I am doing.”
While at West Point, Eckstein said he plans to study aerospace engineering.
In addition to being named a National Merit Finalist, Eckstein also scored a 35 on his ACT test.
This past December, he said he tried for a perfect 36.
“I didn’t get a 36, but my science (score) went up, so I got a super score, which is what a lot of colleges are looking for now, so I do have a 36 super score,” he said.
Eckstein credits much of his academic success to the faculty and administration at St. Aloysius.
“Without the rigorous academics provided there, I would have been unable to become a National Merit Finalist,” he said.
Amborn said winners of the National Merit Competition will be announced “closer to summer” and those winners will receive $2,500.
“No one is born knowing how to take a standardized test,” Eckstein said and advised those prepping for the PSAT to take the practice tests. “Start early. It doesn’t even take that much work if you study a couple of months ahead and study 30 minutes a day. You have 24 hours, just use your time wisely.”