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Small LACs with merit aid for this student

OverseasMamaOverseasMama Registered User Posts: 56 Junior Member
edited March 2013 in College Search & Selection
I've been looking for small LACs for my D, who hasn't decided on a major but is interested in Bio, Chem, and Neuroscience. She has a 3.9 unweighted gpa, 6 APs and her practice ACT was a 30, but she's hoping to improve on this when she takes the real test next month.

We are not eligible for FA and so have been looking for merit aid. So far (from checking the recent CDS pages) colleges that appeal but don't give much or any merit aid include:


Of these, I'd say Mac is near the top at the moment. Colleges I've found that seem to be more generous with merit aid include:

Lawrence U

She would prefer a school that is in or close to a city rather than out in a corn field, and we've been mostly looking at West and Midwest, though I think she'd consider East as well. (Not South--she hates the heat.) Do you have any recommendations? I don't think she's as excited about the schools on the second list as the first, and I really don't want her to apply to a bunch of schools that will cost 50-60k a year. The thread I found on good colleges for merit aid is several years out of date.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
Post edited by OverseasMama on

Replies to: Small LACs with merit aid for this student

  • earthdancer7earthdancer7 Registered User Posts: 49 Junior Member
    Have you considered Kenyon? It offers a variety of merit aid.
    Academic Scholarships - Admissions & Aid - Kenyon College
  • McKinsterMcKinster Registered User Posts: 104 Junior Member
    I am going to Marymount Manhattan College, which could fit your description. It is right in NYC and is very small - less than 2000 students. It is about 40,000 per year including room and board and they do give merit aid and have leadership grants as well. The most awesome thing about the college is their internship program. They are partnered with some really great companies right in NYC. MMC is strong in the arts, but they do have a pretty impressive science department.
  • SLUMOMSLUMOM Registered User Posts: 3,610 Senior Member
    For the East, take a look at:

    Wheaton College - MA
    Connecticut College - CT
    Skidmore College - NY
    Hobart & William Smith - NY
    Drew University - NJ
    St Lawrence University - NY
    Hamilton College - NY
    Colgate University - NY
    Middlebury College - VT

    Not sure if all of them have merit aid...or field of study your child is interested in.
  • HaystackHaystack Registered User Posts: 1,576 Senior Member
    Carelton- corn field, no merit
    Grinnell, corn field, generous merit
    Macalester - no merit, city
    Pitzer- urban, no merit???, hot???
    Whitman - not in a cornfield but Walla Walla is hardly urban, no merit unless a top student
    Beloit - manufacturing town, great merit
    Kalamazoo - KZoo is a small city and pretty nice, merit available, West Mich U also located there
    Lawrence U - Appleton about the same size as Kzoo, old manufacturing town
    Wooster - cornfield, merit
  • SDonCCSDonCC Registered User Posts: 2,373 Senior Member
    Grinnell has merit aid.

    A more isolated campus does not mean a lack of things to do. There often is a greater sense of community because the students are more campus-centric, and the schools bring a ton of speakers, musicians, movies, performers, etc., onto the campus. At Grinnell, everything (or virtually everything) that takes place on campus is free, and I imagine that most small LACs have either free or low-cost events for all students as well.
  • OverseasMamaOverseasMama Registered User Posts: 56 Junior Member
    Grinnell is very appealing and I've noticed that it's one of the schools that offers a whole range of activities. But the CDS for 2011-12 reported they gave an average of $9549 to 44 freshmen. That's out of a total of 448 freshmen. So yes, they do give merit aid, but unless I'm missing something, I can't really put them in the generous category. Also, I heard that they had a huge increase of applicants this year.
  • OverseasMamaOverseasMama Registered User Posts: 56 Junior Member
    Haystack. Yes, these are all schools we've already checked out so I know their situations. It's been tough to find LACs in cities that give merit, so we've had to look at small town schools as well. Pitzer is not really urban, btw. Claremont is a very small town that's sort of built around the college, and LA is far enough away that it doesn't feel suburban. But yes, hot weather. Also, I think admissions is more competitive than a lot of similar schools just because it's in California.
  • OverseasMamaOverseasMama Registered User Posts: 56 Junior Member
    Thanks, Mikinster and Earthdancer. I'll check these out!
  • whenhenwhenhen Registered User Posts: 5,637 Senior Member
    Speaking as a Southern Californian who goes to school in Georgia (the South). Outside of summertime, California is usually hotter than most of the Southeast. I wouldn't exclude schools in the Southeast if you're looking into Pitzer.

    Potential LACs/ smaller masters universities in or near cities with likely merit aid for your daughter.
    University of Puget Sound
    Chapman University
    University of Portland
    Butler University
    Coe College
    Drake University
    Lake Forest College
    University of Evansville

    If you're willing to look into the northern parts of the Southeast
    -Bellarmine University
    -Guilford College
    -Rhodes College
    Illinois Institute of Technology (if she wants a small technical school)
    Possibly Lewis & Clark College
  • BeanTownGirlBeanTownGirl Registered User Posts: 2,731 Senior Member
    Use these tables from Kiplinger, sort by average non-need-based aid (but also pay attention to what percentage of students receive merit aid!)

    LACs - Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges-Kiplinger[]=ALL&id[]=none

    Private universities - Kiplinger's Best Values in Private Colleges-Kiplinger[]=ALL&id[]=none&sortby=ug_ft_nn_noneed_d&sortorder=DESC

    My suggestion is to at least consider small universities (Brandeis, Clark) and perhaps small STEM schools (WPI). Some of these might better suit her requirements and still not be much bigger than a small LAC and offer merit aid. I threw in the STEM suggestion because, as a highly qualified female applicant, she might get significant merit aid :)
  • OverseasMamaOverseasMama Registered User Posts: 56 Junior Member
    Thanks, whenhen. Have looked at Chapman, UPS and L&C. I think she would prefer Portland to LA. Will check the others out.
  • bopambobopambo Registered User Posts: 1,229 Senior Member
    You might also have your daughter take the SAT, kids seem to do better at one than the other. My S goes to Whitman and really loves it, we all love Walla Walla. S receives a very nice chunk of merit aid.
  • HaystackHaystack Registered User Posts: 1,576 Senior Member
    Your best bet is to get a Fiske Guide. For the most part, no one really ever suggests schools not in that guide. Pull out those too hot, too rural, whatever. Then look at the ones that are less selective and where your daughter will be in the top 25%. They are more likely to give you merit.

    We just went through this process with a son with similar stats. The schools giving the best merit are in the midwest and the south. They also have a lower intitial price tag. The schools in the NW and CA (UPS, Willamette, L and C, Chapman) were way too expensive for us with little merit and high initial price tags. Same for most schools in the NE.

    The schools in the midwest and south were the best values for us (fairly high EFC) based upon net price calculators.
    Centre College

    Slighltly lower ranked...
    Coe College
    Lake Forest

    Smaller universities with good merit...
  • OverseasMamaOverseasMama Registered User Posts: 56 Junior Member
    Beantowngirl, Thanks for the links. Sorry, what is WPI?
  • happy1happy1 Registered User Posts: 18,541 Senior Member
    In the east, look into Muhlenberg and maybe Union
This discussion has been closed.