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List so far (common app, deadlines? Fin Aid?)

theonekidtheonekid 329 replies124 threads Member
Help me out.. I need to get this list down..

Brown U
Cal Tech
Columbia U Columb C
Cornell U
Dartmouth C
Duke U
Harvard C
New York U
Princeton U
Stanford U
Swarthmore C
U Calif Berkeley
U Calif Los Angeles
U Calif San Diego
U Calif Santa Barb
U Chicago
U Pennsylvania
Yale U


What I'm wondering is:

- Which of these does not offer an application "fee waver"?
- Which offers a completly different app when compared to the rest of the schools on my list?
- Which has little or no Financial Aid (a great determining factor in my narrowing down of this list).
- What is each school known for (ex. Chicago for Econ, etc)
- Any other schools similar to the schools on my list that I'm missing (mainly those with good fin aid)?

BTW: Even though I like computer science (AI in particular).. I am really not sure what I want to do in college yet...
(Also, on college board.. the deadlines for the UC SAT's are not listed, Are they Nov 30?)

Thanks, hopefully I can cut the list down a bit with your help.
edited October 2005
16 replies
Post edited by theonekid on
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Replies to: List so far (common app, deadlines? Fin Aid?)

  • theonekidtheonekid 329 replies124 threads Member
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  • SBmomSBmom 5697 replies28 threads Senior Member
    Uh, don't you think this may be too many reaches, not enough match/safeties?

    If fin aid is impt to you, why aren't you applying to generous merit aid schools?

    Do you know your EFC?
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  • theonekidtheonekid 329 replies124 threads Member
    I dont know my EFC and I'm applying to all this reaches. because given the case I dont make it .. I have ELC to fall back on.
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  • bettinabettina 1224 replies12 threads Senior Member
    Run your numbers through an EFC calculator. This site has one. Most schools will offer need based financial aid from this. My daughter was offered pretty much the same by all her schools, including UC's, but Brown gave the Sidney Frank scholarship which replaced loans with grants. There are also schools that offer merit aid, but you have none of these on your list-- well UChicago gives some but it is very difficult to get.

    And a good way to whittle the list down is to learn something about the schools. Some of these schools are extremely different in culture from each other.
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  • FresnoMomFresnoMom 1015 replies29 threads Senior Member
    Fee Waiver

    For the UCs, you can apply online for a fee waiver. If you apply to more than four campuses, it will be $60 for each campus.

    For the other schools, I think you just need a signed form from your Guidance Counselor. There is a form on the College Board site.

    Brown U has its own application
    Harvard and Princeton both accept the Common Application
    Stanford U has its own application

    Many colleges accept the Common Application. Check on each website.

    Hope that helps
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  • SBmomSBmom 5697 replies28 threads Senior Member

    I will go out on a limb to say that unless your family is quite poor and you are a *stellar* applicant-- like 4.0 UW & 2300+ SAT territory-- you are doing something foolish.

    Even if your EFC is doable, you could wind up with a Fin Aid package that is 50% loans, 50% grants, and your family may not be able to take on that kind of debt. EFC = cash. FA Package = grants, work, & loans.

    You need to pare your list down and then add in some schools with better Fin Aid possibilities. I would recommend:

    3 high reaches where EFC isdoable and known for high % grants
    3 matches where merit aid is likely
    3 safeties with merit aid OR
    3 schools with formulaic admission policies, where you are likely to get in and you can afford full pay (i.e. state schools)

    If you happen to be an academic star (like Natl Merit F) you can look into the schools offering free rides to NMFs.

    Others to check out at various selectivity levels:

    Johns Hopkins
    Wash U in St Louis

    also look at others on merit aid thread.

    Do not wax yourself into a financial corner. Your list is very reach heavy, even for a extremely high stat applicant with no financial concerns. Focus on giving yourself lots of choices. Then take a flyer on two or three dream schools if you want.

    I can help you more if you post your aprox stats, and if you can share your family's aprox income or your EFC. If you are 1st generation college, URM, athlete, or some other hook, mention that. Then mention what qualities you really want to find in a school.

    I recommend you do a search and read:

    -evilrobot's thread about accepting a big merit aid offer at Vandy over Yale

    -andi's thread about her kid being denied at all of his reach-heavy list of schools

    -the parent's forum thread on merit aid.

    PLEASE-- there is plenty of time. You can still reach high if you want, but you need to think of a few financial safeties as well.
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  • theonekidtheonekid 329 replies124 threads Member
    Unfortunately I haven’t taken the SAT's so I'm reluctant to post my stats..
    but here is what I can say so far:

    -URM (Hispanic - was born in the USA but lived in Mexico City up to 4th grade)
    -First Generation - (No one in my family that I know of has attended anything past High School)
    - Top 4% (I did get two B's, in English and Art first semester of 9th grade. I'm taking the most rigorous program my school offers which is the path to the IB Diploma)
    Lot's of small stuff... but I will only mention the "worth noting" things. which are not very impressive either.
    - Worked since the summer after 8th grade up to half way into11th grade... but it was only 8-10 hours every week
    Note: I’m not sure if I can count this as actual work though since even though I did work it was something I did for a very small restaurant (originally a fast food place that has been transformed) my father and uncle (and my aunt) had bought. One of the reasons I did this was so they wouldn’t have to hire more workers at a higher wage… I decided to stop receiving an “income” after a while from this job though and just let the money be used to help pay rent, school expenses, etc. I noticed that by keeping the money I “wasted” a lot of it on things I didn’t really need.
    I should also have mentioned that my time in Mexico was spent with my grandparents who I will never be able to thank enough (they have done too much for my brothers and I to list). I think that a great factor in my deciding to take the type of job I did was because my grandparents, having left everything they had back at home (friends, family, “a life”, etc), also worked in the restaurant to try to help us when they didn’t really have to. I felt I too should do something because I didn’t feel it was fair for my grandparents to be working extra hard when they didn’t really need to. My reasons for working are quite complex and I doubt I have explained them correctly so I’ll probably leave this “work experience” out of my application entirely.

    - Joined Key Club last (11th), I am the Vice President this year (12th)
    - Joined Science Olympiad 11th grade, Treasurer this year.
    - Participated in Boball (robotics program) since 10th grade until now.
    - Internship over the summer.. over 150 hours.. and still going.
    - JV Soccer 9th grade , Varsity Tennis last year..
    - Etc, etc

    - Parents are divorced, father makes under 40K (business is not going so well…) . I have no idea where my mother is or what she makes, she might be a “house wife” living at home”.
    - The downfall is that my father has a house under his name that is currently being paid by another family member. We don’t really “own” the house (since we will never live in it or make decisions on anything regarding the property), but on paper we technically do.

    With all that said… I would say I would be extremely lucky to get something above 1800 on my SAT's since I am a very bad test taker.
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  • theonekidtheonekid 329 replies124 threads Member
    BTW: I could not find the threads recommended, except for Andi's which I've read before.

    I probably need to learn more about each schools "culture" and "focus", if anyone can help point me in the right direction.. that would be great since I'm not really sure where to find this info. (I know UChicago and Swarth. are pretty hard academically, I'm not really sure if this is what I want though).
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  • SBmomSBmom 5697 replies28 threads Senior Member
    okay, theonekid. thanks for the helpful info. Some advice:

    DO NOT leave off your work experience; it really shows what sort of person you are (to be a team player in your family and to desire to contribute.) You are the sort of person I would want at my school, if I was picking!! Consider doing one of your essays on this topic.

    I assume you are a Calif resident because you have a few UCs on your list. You will probably have a very good chance at UCs because you have great grades, a rigorous program, & have done this despite disadvantages. You will be awarded "bonus" points for overcoming the disadvantages. Even if your SATs are not stellar you should have a good shot at UCs. Pick 3-5 (at all levels of selectivity) to be careful.

    Your 1st generation, URM, low-income status will probably help you at private schools as well. Make sure to give some thought to where you will fit in, as well as schools you think might want to gain diversity by admitting kids like you. Pick schools known for generous aid.

    Go to an EFC calculator (on this site, FAFSA, or on the site of a school you are interested in) or call the Financial Aid office of schools that interest you for a ballpark idea of your EFC.

    Definitely get an idea for the UC system EFC to know if UCs are realistic financial safeties or not. Your dad's home ownership may present EFC problems at some schools, but others do not consider home equity; make sure to research this angle.

    If you don't know where your mom is, does this mean your dad has sole custody? Otherwise, your mom's income can be used against you in a financial aid decision, even though she may not be willing to contribute any of it. This is another impt question re EFC and probably also varies by school.

    I would suggest you focus on well-endowed schools that want to have economic & cultural diversity and are known for giving heavy grants and few loans in their financial aid packages. If your EFC is very low, you can include need-based schools that tend not to give too many loans and instead give more grants. If EFC is high-ish (due to home equity,) focus on merit-aid schools.

    Don't really know if you are male or female; if female check out the women's colleges (Smith, Mt. Holyoke, Bryn Mawr) for excellent academics, generous aid, and a committment to diversity.

    Personally I am a big fan of going far from home but travel can be expensive. Consider the expense of travel as you consider your choices. Some Calif privates that you should check out: Stanford, Pomona, Harvey Mudd, Claremont McKenna, Occidental. All have wonderful academics and would be reasonably accessible for pre admission visits/visits home.

    Consider one or two major financial and admissions safeties.

    Berea is a school that is 100% free to anyone with family income under ~$40K. (Christian focus)

    Wells is a tiny former womens college now coed with excellent FA and you can take classes at Cornell.

    Lots of other gems like these exist; you can find them.

    Some wonderful schools do not require SATs (in case they come out badly.) Places like Bowdoin come to mind. However, I believe Bowdoin is need based-- you'd have to check EFC & FA pkgs at Bowdoin.

    You will really want to be strategic and apply to enough schools to MAKE SURE you have several with sufficient $ and great programs for you. This list in my post above gives quite a few schools known to be generous and excellent.

    Is your school counselor knowledgeable about this? Has your school sent very many kids to elite schools?
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  • SBmomSBmom 5697 replies28 threads Senior Member
  • theonekidtheonekid 329 replies124 threads Member
    Now, don’t get me wrong… but I do realize that I should have various schools to fall back on.. and honestly.. I would be more than happy at any UC school (with the ELC, I am pretty sure I will at least be going to college and not be miserable). The problem with any UC would ultimately be the money, so thanks so much for the many ideas you have provided.

    I went on a college trip with my school and visited various schools in California (most of the UC’s, Stanford and a few others) and so I can say that I would be fine even at UC SC or any other uc that may not be very “prestigious”. I’m also attending the Swarthmore’s Discovery Weekend so I’ll at least get to see something across the country

    I don’t let any of my counselors know about my personal life. My school is fairly large, I guess it’s pretty bad academically over all but through the IB programs at least a couple of kids have attended Ivy leagues (or equally prestigious schools) over the years.

    Also, thanks for the advice on the “free apps” to four UC’s , that’s mainly why I’ve narrowed my list down to four.

    Lastly, my real interest lies in technology, advancements for the future, etc. I love computers, neuroscience (cognitive science, I have a great interest for AI and robotics). The only problem is that I’m not really sure if I will really want to study any of this in college (particularly the REAL technical aspect of it all…. maybe it’s just that I think that the entire movement is amazement but I might not fit in the actual development of it all). I have also considered philosophy and psychology.. at this point I’m not sure of what I want to do or “study”.

    What I’m afraid of is that if I do chose to pursue to do something I really love .. I won’t enjoy it as much anymore.. that “endless” amount of work in computer science needed for a “good grade” will take away from the love I have for this field. I’m not sure if it makes sense.. but I sort of like doing my own thing.. go at my own pace.. because I know I can learn pretty much anything on my own if the resources are available (thankfully.. for most things regarding computers.. a majority of the “tools” and “samples are out there, open source is a wonderful thing )

    Oh yeah, I’m a male so women colleges would not be an option =-/ .
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  • theonekidtheonekid 329 replies124 threads Member
    I'm not really sure if I would qualify for "merit" aid.. from what I understand that is given to students with the highest "academics".
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  • SBmomSBmom 5697 replies28 threads Senior Member
    Merit aid is basically given to anyone deemed "attractive" to the school. Sometimes this is high SATs. But certain schools want to beef up minority %, other want to boost their average SAT, others want to boast kids from all 50 states, etc. Merit aid is used to lure these students

    Either your EFC + typical fin aid package would be doable for your family, or it would not. If it would, great.

    If it would not, merit aid can bridge that gap.

    Your job would be find schools that want to attract kids like you and where merit aid exists. I suspect this would be a school with relatively few minority students that wants better diversity.

    If you like Swarthmore, then you might want to explore other LACs.
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  • theonekidtheonekid 329 replies124 threads Member
    I see... well I guess merit aid can be a good thing and maybe even a possibility.

    I'm not sure if I'll like swarthmore.. I tend to like a "large" community.. are most LACs relatively small?
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  • SBmomSBmom 5697 replies28 threads Senior Member
    Yes, most LACs are about 1200-2000 kids, some up to 3000. Very few above 3000 and below 1000.

    Schools like Syracuse, Johns Hopkins, Emory, Wash U & Vanderbilt all give merit aid and are roughly the size of most Ivy League colleges.

    Remember when you are at a selective school filled with bright & motivated kids you may find more kindred spirits than you would at your public HS. My D realized that though her HS was 2500 kids, all her classes were with the same 100 kids. In the right school of 1200 she'd have plenty of friends.

    Being at Swarthmore for that program will provide a good window into how it will feel being at a place where you are among a fairly small minority; you should ask the other kids who are currently there what it is like for them, so you can assess how it will be for you. If you are getting invited to this sort of program you must be a reasonable shot at this sort of top LAC. That's really great; Swarthmore is a fantastic school. Maybe you can get a Swat Fin Aid officer to take you through the EFC calcs.

    BTW I went to Brown and I think with your diverse educational interests you might like Brown a lot. There is incredible work going on in neuroscience, biotech, and robotics. You can probably find it on google-- recent work was a Brown team implanting devices in the brain and in arm/hand muscles of a quadraplegic man. System allowed the man's brain to "tell" the arm and hand to move-- within a short time this guy was using a mouse and grasping things--completely going around the damaged spinal cord system. Very exciting.

    But also at Brown with its open curriculum you can take a wide variety of classes (no requirements other than taking a certain number of classes in your concentration.) Premeds can major in Poli Sci or English... very easy to explore multiple paths simultaneously.
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  • carolyncarolyn 7242 replies193 threads Senior Member
    Unfortunately I haven’t taken the SAT's so I'm reluctant to post my stats..

    What year of high school are you in? If you're a senior, planning to apply this year, why haven't you already taken the SAT I and SAT IIs? Almost all of the schools on your list require both the SAT I and several SAT IIs. It's a little late to be pinning all your hope on reach schools because you probably will only have one shot at the SAT I and SAT IIs before applications are due. December is the deadline for having ALL test scores for the UCs, which means, unless you're signed up to take the SAT I this month, you're cutting things very, very close. And, that's just for the UC's.

    If you are a senior, go to the common application website www.commonapp.org and sign on. All of the information you need about deadlines, test requirements, and who on your list takes or doesn't take the common application is right there.

    If you haven't yet taken the SATs because you're only a junior, relax, you have plenty of time to draw up a list after you have at least taken the PSAT and gotten a sense of how realistic your list is from that. With some prep, you might even qualify for as a National Hispanic Scholar, and thus perhaps have some more options to consider for fianancial aid/merit money.

    In either case, I would suggest that you make a point of going in and sitting down with your guidance counselor NOW to discuss different possibilties and options. Yes, I know you said it is a big school and you don't know your guidance counselor well, but that is no excuse for not seeking out whatever help and resources they can provide.
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