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Merit scholarships, medium size schools, science major

Lisam128Lisam128 Posts: 16Registered User New Member
Hi, am wondering if people can weigh in. D is a hs junior and interested in science major -chem, bio, marine, environmental. Obviously she's not sure yet and will probably get a Masters. We are on the east coast-originally from PA and now in FLA. She wants to go oos to a medium size school (abt 10 tp 15k students) in a pretty area ( think georgetown or chapel hill). Though we earn over 150k we are caught in the housing crash and dont have substantial retirement money. We really can't afford a 50k year school and she will have to get a merit scholarship. Her stats.... 750 cr, 740 math, 720 writing. PSAT probably close to NM competition but only if we get lucky. 4.0 UNweighted GPA. Took AP ENvirnmental last year and got a 5. This yr has AP LIT, AP calc AB, AP Chem, AP Govt and AP Econ. She plays 2 varsity sports and is captain of her competitive soccer team outside of school. She has a part time job, club and honor society memberships.
What schools do you think could be a fit which could give merit money? I know chances are higher for merit awards if you are statistically stronger than the general applicant pool. But she also wants to get into a challenging program that will hopefully encourage women in STEM. thanks to all who weigh in!
Post edited by Lisam128 on
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Replies to: Merit scholarships, medium size schools, science major

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Posts: 36,786Registered User Senior Member
    University of Alabama, Birmingham has about 11,000 undergraduates, 4,000 graduates, and big merit scholarships based on GPA and ACT/SAT. Subtracting the $15,000 Blazer Elite scholarship from the cost of attendance of $20,546 to $25,400 (depends on dorm and meal plan) gives a net cost of $5,546 to $10,400.

    What's wrong with the Florida schools?
  • bookwormbookworm Posts: 4,872Registered User Senior Member
    If she is interested in marine, why rule out Miami? With her stats, shw would receive a nice merit scholarship.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,381Registered User Senior Member
    What schools do you think could be a fit which could give merit money? I know chances are higher for merit awards if you are statistically stronger than the general applicant pool. But she also wants to get into a challenging program that will hopefully encourage women in STEM. thanks to all who weigh in!

    ==========

    You may not realize this, but most good schools are going to have "challenging" programs in STEM because that's where the higher stats kids are concentrated in....even if students in other majors may have lesser stats.

    So, your D should be looking at schools where her stats are high....because the STEM majors will still be rigorous. "High stats kids" are not equally spread out amongst all majors...they're pretty much concentrated within about 8-10 majors.

    That's why state schools, which may have more modest middle quartile scores, will still have challenging courses in STEM.

    and...I imagine that most are anxious to get more women and typically have supporting programs and groups for women in engineering/science...at least that's why I've seen.

    When you say that you want merit, can you clarify. At a $55k+ school, how much merit would you need? Can you pay $20k per year? If so, then you'd need about $35-40k in merit...which is a FULL TUITION scholarship at a private. You'd essentially be left paying for room, board, fees, books, and misc. Obviously, if you can "only" pay $20k per year, a $15k merit scholarship ($60k total) is not enough.

    Full tuition scholarships are obviously VERY expensive for a school to award, so typically most schools give few....to a few targeted students.

    Getting a full tuition scholarship typically requires a student's stats to be within the top 3-5% of a school. At a very small number of schools, the top 10% might get free tuition (that's pretty rare....and I can only think of one school that does that).

    If your D makes NMF, then she'll have some schools offer her near-full rides and such. With her current stats, there are schools that will offer her full tuition...but they won't be ranked like G'town or UNC...they will be a few mid-tiers and some 3rd tiers.

    Your D may want a top school like G'town or UNC, but at those schools too many kids have high stats, so merit wouldn't be awarded.

    Once you know how much you can pay, then you'll know how much merit you'd need.
  • Lisam128Lisam128 Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    Ucb ....yes I would like her to consider university of Alabama. Do you know anything about the area surrounding the school? As far as FL state schools, they are either too big or small or set in rough areas.
    Bookworm.... We haven't completely ruled out university of Miami and should go see it. We live further north and are nervous about the crime, congestion, and though it may seem silly...all that sun. Our family has a history of skin cancer.
    Any other suggestions for schools to help develop her list? While we would prefer east coast for travel, she is open to other areas of the country provided the size of school and area around it is dynamic.
  • absweetmarieabsweetmarie Posts: 1,905Registered User Senior Member
    Scour this thread: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/52133-schools-known-good-merit-aid.html

    Lots of good information. Agree with mom2collegekids, however, that you should clarify what "merit money" means to you and what you would consider enough. Your D's stats sound good and she will likely be attractive to many schools. You may find that the schools where she is most attractive will be safety schools that she would not automatically consider top choices. It all depends on what you consider a good deal. If you're okay having $15K to $25K lopped off the full price, you'll likely find options if you do your research (YMMV; that's a wide and off-the-cuff range). If you need to take a bigger bite out of the total cost, you will need to do MORE research to find schools that will be generous and that you and your D will find acceptable.
  • parent56parent56 Posts: 7,658Registered User Senior Member
    lisam.. are you asking about UA or about UAB.. 2 different schools. ucbalumnus was talking about uab
  • Lisam128Lisam128 Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    We could pay abt 20k per year. I'm hoping people can weigh in on specific Opportunities in her university size range that do provide good merit support. I am also hoping to help her find a STEM program that is innovative and particularly encouraging to women but maybe that's a distraction in this discussion.
    What is a ymmv?
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Posts: 62,381Registered User Senior Member
    Your mileage may vary...YMMV

    If you can pay up to $20k per year, then you're essentially needing full tuition scholarships...so your $20k can pay for room, board, fees, books, transportation, and misc.

    I'll find the automatic scholarship thread for you.... :)


    edited...found it...

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/848226-important-links-automatic-guaranteed-merit-scholarships.html?highlight=automatic+scholarships


    I strongly suggest that you sit down with your D and fully explain what your budget is and what she needs to get...essentially full tuition scholarships...which aren't largely found. There are some, but they may not be at the schools that she's thinking of.
  • Lisam128Lisam128 Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    Parent.... I am not up on the Alabama university system so thank you for clarifying. It will help my search! Know anything ant the area arround the university of Alabama, Birmingham?
  • absweetmarieabsweetmarie Posts: 1,905Registered User Senior Member
    YMMV means "your mileage may vary."

    You really ought to look at that merit aid thread; it's gold.

    If you're looking for STEM programs that are innovative and encouraging to women, look at the all-women schools (Mt. Holyoke I think is known for science, not sure about Smith; but merit at the levels you're looking at are unlikely to be there). Case Western is known for good aid. You may also find that a school such as Rose-Hulman (dominantly male, to the tune of 80/20 male/female ratio) might be trying to lure more women. That's in Indiana, so may not be geographically desirable. You may find that your D is highly desirable at some of the master's-level schools (what U.S. News calls "regional universities"); these are good schools that are a little less selective but have a wide range of programs and may be willing to pay bucks for top students (I don't know; worth checking out).
  • parent56parent56 Posts: 7,658Registered User Senior Member
    UAB is very strong for anything science/health related. campus is surrounded by hospitals, school receives more research money than all other alabama schools combined.. incredible opportunities for undergrad research. should look at the sci/tech honors program...
    uab does have marine biology concentration
    UAB - Marine Biology Track

    it is an urban campus.. but is all together around a green area..not spread all over town.. but it is downtown in the city. she definitely qualifies for the blazer elite. and could try for biology scholars (paid selective program) to bring cost down even more.
  • parent56parent56 Posts: 7,658Registered User Senior Member
    Lisam... my S2 goes to uab...so feel free to pm or ask questions here...it is a wonderful school that doesnt get alot of attention on cc...

    UA is in Tuscaloosa... about 30K students. wonderful school also
  • bajammbajamm Posts: 835Registered User Member
    How about Tulane in New Orleans? They have about 8,000 undergrads and 5,000 grad students and give out lots of merit aid, most of which is given automatically with admission application, though there are a couple of scholarships that require extra applications.

    They do have a good science program, too.
  • Lisam128Lisam128 Posts: 16Registered User New Member
    Yes we had the discussion with her abt cost and what it may mean in term of where she can get in and what we can afford, which is why she is struggling to come up with a list of schools. She definitely understands the pressures involved.
    As far as an all womens school, that just doesnt interest her.
    I will check out the link, case western and rose hulman.
    Thanks for the info!
  • mathmommathmom Posts: 23,391Registered User Senior Member
    RPI has about 5000 students and gives merit scholarships. I have a friend who studied environmental oriented biology there (she's now a grad student at Cornell). Years ago my son was offered $10,000 a year there. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) :: Architecture, Business, Engineering, IT, Humanities, Science
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