Take a look at Ramapo in NJ - it is small, but good merit, and I believe it has some special music program, one of my director's sons goes there for this, so that is why I've heard of it.
Echoing what the others have said - it really does not matter if you get accepted somewhere if you cannot afford to go there. Not many schools will meet your need, but there are some that will. Make sure you are running the NPC (net price calculators) and see what likely will be offered to you. Talk to us and glean from our knowledge. We love to help!
I used to think that the EFC meant that was all I'd have to pay, and everything else would be magically taken care of.
That might happen at like 10 schools for the perfect scores, perfect GPA, with a special dispensation from God, but so many places don't cover it, and if you do not plan well, you end up either not being able to afford to go, or in enormous debt (you AND your family, because you won't be able to get all the loans you would need on your own).
This sounds scary, and if you don't plan and pay attention now, it will be.
Don't let that happen. Talk to us :) Tell us your stats, people here are knowledgeable and desire to help. We've all spent years learning, only have a couple kids who are now on their way, and want to use what we know to help others :)
My knowledge base is deep in scholarships, especially for economically underprivileged and minority students. My foster son was both of these, and won the Gates Millennium and Horatio Alger scholarships, as well as one from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Many of these have application dates closing in October, so ask and we shall do our best.
We might not always be huggy, squishy and nice, but we will do our best to be forthright and helpful.
Please remember - if you want to "get out", that can happen much more easily in four years when you have no debt. If you invest heavily in the college - be active, make friends, hang out at the student center, whatever - you will have a great experience. It may be "in your backyard" but it isn't a tiny school where only your high school friends are attending. Make the most out of the inexpensive experience, and then you can not only "get out" you can "stay out" by stay out, I mean not have to come and live in your childhood bedroom because you have so much debt you cannot afford to live anywhere on your own. I know it can be hard to see this far ahead when you are young, but think beyond 4 years.
You could go on exchange for a semester, have money from an on campus job you use to travel etc. Think big, but think in a financially savvy way!
@MACmiracle and @NJWrestlingmom
Neither of my two kids is majoring in engineering, and yes my daughter is in the school of business.
There was a parent with a 2016 Eng major (same class as my D). He was offered less money than she, and when we privately chatted about it, she went ahead and contacted Rowan and received more money. I searched for the conversation so I could provide evidence, but alas, I could not find it.
My opinion is that ENG majors actually were more competitive to get admitted to Rowan, and received lower amounts of merit aid at Rowan.
1. Applying to college costs money. More than I think people realize. Application fee, College Board fee to send SAT score, Common Ap fee, SAT subject test fee etc. I've seen kids spend 2,000 or more just on applying.
If you really have no chance of getting accepted, don't waste the money! Pick his favorite and apply to ONE, but otherwise? Save the $$. Narrow it to affordable schools. We applied to (gasp!) only three.
2. Talk with him about the money, debt acquisition and consequences. Make sure he gets a job ASAP, so he develops that essential connection between "two hours scooping fries = this new shirt's cost". Also advise him finding some volunteer work. Lots to learn from that!
3. Don't let him get all wrapped up in the "NAME" and "LOCATION" traps. Especially in competitive high schools, people start yapping about that early. (at least in NJ they do)
Read Col Conf for a year and you'll see what I mean :)
4. We sat my daughter down the summer between her sophomore/jr year and went over money with her. She was SO MAD! Huffed and puffed at the mere idea of going to community college (throw in a teenage girl snide tone here, please, for full dramatic effect!)
Then we took her on a few college tours to places we could ~potentially~ afford. Suddenly she perked up. She knew the money deal, and suddenly she saw a goal to shoot for.
Being honest and open really helped us. In the end she found herself totally happy at an in-state school, honors program, is getting her degree in 3 years and acquiring zero debt.
She has friends who are going to walk a different path. Dream big name school (i.e. Penn State), tens to a hundred thousand in debt. We'll see what happens to their long term prospects. Maybe they will do better because of the name, maybe they will earn tons more than her right out of the gate AND be able to repay the debt while living in a dream location .....maybe...