Five Gahanna Lincoln High School students have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship program.

Five Gahanna Lincoln High School students have been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship program.

Shahmeer Azmat, Ajda Gokcen, Aaron Gyde, Megan Jashinski and Sai Pranav Uppati represent the top 1 percent of the 1.5-million juniors from 22,000 national high schools to take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test in 2008.

Uppati is looking at Yale, Harvard, Columbia or another Ivy League school "if I gain admission and if I can afford the cost after receiving aid. I am applying to selective schools like that and few safety schools just in case."

Eventually, the path leads to medical school.

"I hope to be a cardiologist when I finally start my career," he said.

Gyde is also looking at the Ivy League. "If not, OSU is likely," he said. "I will at least begin with the thought of one day going into law school. Speech and debate has introduced me to the lovely world of proving a point and I would like to continue doing so. Depending on my counseling and ability to handle college, I will later decide" on a major, Gyde said.

"I intend to apply literally to 10 different schools," Gokcen said. "It's a matter of what I can afford." She plans to major in electrical engineering and computer science. Ohio State is on the list. So, too, are M.I.T., Carnegie Mellon, University of Michigan and Cornell.

"I'm applying to Columbia and the University of Chicago," Azmat said. "I'm heading for a really big city."

Jashinski is looking at a number of different universities.

"It depends on what programs I get into," she said.

She said she will definitely go into a scientific field.

Uppati was typical of the group. "I really don't study because as long as I pay attention in class, I have good enough memory to remember stuff, so for most of my tests I rarely study."

"I study for calculus," Azmat said.

The semifinalists compete to be a National Merit Scholar and receive a $2,500 scholarship.

They must complete an application, take the SAT and receive an endorsement from Gahanna Lincoln High School to move to the finalist round of the competition.

Each student will be notified in February if he or she is selected as a finalist in the National Merit Scholarship Program.

About 15,000 students will move to the next round.