right arrow
GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: AMALehigh is a rising sophomore at Lehigh University, majoring in Finance. He answers questions about academics, networking, finance, Greek life, or Lehigh in general. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Make sure to check out our July Checklists for HS Juniors and HS Seniors. Consult these quick resources to get you started on the process this month.
As we work to adjust to the current reality, make sure to check out these dedicated COVID-19 resources: our directory of virtual campus tours, our directory of extended deadlines, as well as the list of schools going test optional this fall.

looking for good match schools!

rejoinderrejoinder 18 replies4 threads Junior Member
hi! i'm a rising senior in a state underrepresented at top schools.

demographics -- asian (malaysian + filipina) female, middle class, competitive public school. i'm also an immigrant and one of my parents didn't attend college.

stats --

- gpa: 3.83 uw | 4.19 w | uc gpa: 4.36 | (not sure what my class rank is)

- act: 32 (retaking, likely to get a 34+)

- i plan on taking sat bio, math 2, and lit this summer.

extras/awards --

- debate: policy debater for 3 years and counting & team leader/captain for my team. i've gotten octofinalist and semifinalist at state along with winning other smaller tournaments. i'm also a volunteer debate coach at a local middle school with 40+ members in the club.

- science olympiad: 6 years in scioly and i was build team captain for our school's A team this year (it's a competitive tryouts process) and our team has won first at state and second x2. i've gotten several awards at HS state, all ranging from first to third.

- model un: club officer on our school's board senior year and like scioly, 6 years of participation.

- volunteer research assistant: i'm working on three internships/projects this summer. one is in a virology lab. the second is helping a local professor w/ her summer research on justice-impacted youth w/ an emphasis on parental incarceration. the third is with another local professor studying chinese foreign policy with the US.

- non-profit board member: i'm on the board for a medical nonprofit and i manage media presence (website, social media, etc) and help organize our events, like hosting workshops to raise funds.

- national history day: i'm the president our of school's nhd club and have qualified to nationals a total of 3 times, winning several state awards and one at nationals.

i intend to major in either microbiology or anthropology. here are some things i look for in a school:

- medium to large sized school (5k is the smallest i see myself at, a lot of schools i like have a 20k+ population)
- suburban or urban area, no rural
- financial aid is a must
- i'd like to debate in college, so a school with a program (policy debate preferred, but parli is fine)
- diversity is important to me, especially a good asian community

thank you!
27 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: looking for good match schools!

  • happy1happy1 23996 replies2407 threads Super Moderator
    Have you looked at your state flagship?
    · Reply · Share
  • collegehunter123collegehunter123 5 replies3 threads New Member
    Have you tried college filters? Google “college search filters” and do a coupld on different websites. Not only that but once you get a list, use the website “Niche” to check out reviews and basic stats. Hope that helps!
    · Reply · Share
  • rejoinderrejoinder 18 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @happy1 Yup, I plan on applying to two schools in my state.
    · Reply · Share
  • rejoinderrejoinder 18 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @collegehunter123 I'll check that out, thanks!
    · Reply · Share
  • aquaptaquapt 2435 replies51 threads Senior Member
    Okay, so it sounds like, in order to go out of state you would need a private U that will meet full demonstrated need.

    Cross-referencing that requirement with a Googled list of colleges with Policy Debate programs, and eliminating rural settings, I see:

    Super reaches:

    High reaches
    Johns Hopkins
    Rice (Parliamentary)

    Boston College
    Wake Forest

    Case Western Reserve
    Tulane (Parliamentary) (meets 96% of need on average)
    U of Rochester (meets 95% of need on average)
    U of Miami (meets 89% of need on average)

    Low match but aid might not be good enough
    George Washington
    Santa Clara
    U of Denver

    When looking at the diversity stats, look not just at the size of the "Asian" demographic but also at the percentage of international students, many of whom are Asian as well. CWRU and Rochester, in particular, have a lot of non-US Asian students. Both of these schools seem like great fits for your range of interests, with terrific STEM research opportunities as well as strong humanities and social sciences.

    Hope that helps.
    · Reply · Share
  • privatebankerprivatebanker 6887 replies170 threads Senior Member
    Agree with @aquapt That’s a good list to start with for you.
    · Reply · Share
  • rejoinderrejoinder 18 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @aquapt Thank you for your effort and comprehensive list! I looked into some of these schools and I like them a lot -- I'll be sure to add them to my app list. I'll also be sure to keep that diversity tip in mind.
    · Reply · Share
  • prezbuckyprezbucky 4323 replies11 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    Do you require an established policy debate program, or if the school ticked all the other boxes would you be willing to attend and maybe, who knows, work to start a PD program yourself?
    edited July 2018
    · Reply · Share
  • rejoinderrejoinder 18 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @prezbucky Not having a policy program certainly isn't a deal breaker, it's just something I would like to have but yes, I would definitely be willing to attend a school that fits the rest of the criteria (esp if it offers good aid) and debate in another style or try to start a program myself.
    · Reply · Share
  • tk21769tk21769 10710 replies27 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    financial aid is a must

    What kind of FA? Have you run the online Net Price Calculators for any colleges that interest you? Do you qualify for need-based aid? If so, are your parents able and willing to cover the Expected Family Contribution? What's their budget?

    The list in post #5 points out a dilemma. Schools with the best n-b aid tend to be very selective. Match/target schools often don't cover full demonstrated need. So, you may need to consider schools with lower sticker prices (such as in-state public schools) or less selective schools with big merit scholarship programs.
    edited July 2018
    · Reply · Share
  • aquaptaquapt 2435 replies51 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2018
    Ohhh, but I just read this on your other thread: "I don't see my parents being able to dish out more than 30k a year for tuition. I have smaller scholarships but they won't nearly cover the remaining fees, we're ready to take on loans since unfortunately, our household doesn't seem to qualify for very much financial aid."

    If that's the case, it changes the picture. If you need significant merit aid rather than significant need-based aid, the list of schools will be different. Few of the reach schools mentioned above give merit, and for the ones that do, it's highly competitive. Somehow I left off USC - that should be on the list also, and does give merit, but mainly to very-high-stats applicants. Same goes for Vanderbilt. If you were URM, I *might* hold out hope of merit at this level, but you're not, and at any rate I still wouldn't have been that hopeful with these schools. (If you nail down that 34+, then mayyyybe.)

    The problem is that need-based aid and merit will not "stack." So, if you get into a 70K school, can pay $30K and get $20K of financial aid and $20K of merit scholarship, you might think that you'd be all set... but no. The financial aid system won't pay out anything that gets you under your EFC... so the $20K of merit *replaces* the $20K of need-based aid, and you're no better off than before. This is a really big problem for students like you.

    The match schools I mentioned *are* quite generous with merit. There is a possibility that CWRU, Rochester, Tulane, or Miami might give you enough merit money to bring you within striking distance of your budget. The greater likelihood is that you get in the neighborhood of $20-30K of merit and it's still not enough. But it's possible. Likewise with the low-match schools. (To which I would add Lewis & Clark, which has a strong Parliamentary program.)

    I neglected to list the OOS public U's on the policy debate list, because I was working on the premise that you were financial aid eligible and would get a better deal from the private U's. But let's revisit this now.

    OOS publics that give good merit and have policy debate:
    Arizona State
    Michigan State
    U of Kentucky
    U of Pittsburgh
    All of these have excellent honors programs/colleges. Pitt in particular could be a good fit if you could get enough merit to get to your price point.

    On the parliamentary debate side, check out the University of Utah, whose team consistently ranks high. They have a terrific, innovative honors college https://honors.utah.edu/ and strong academics in your areas of interest, including a minor in Integrative Human Biology that was developed jointly by the anthro and bio departments. Not only does the U give good merit aid, but they are also highly unusual in providing a one-year path to residency for OOS students; so I'm quite confident that you could get the cost down to $30K or below for the last three years, and even for the first one if you can get that 34 ACT you're aiming for. This could be a really good financial safety for you. https://unews.utah.edu/the-us-john-r-park-debate-society-earns-national-championship/ Salt Lake City certainly meets your urban criterion. Racial diversity is a little weak - the U is almost 70% white, with only 6% Asians + Pacific Islanders (plus a good share of the 6% international students and the 4% mixed-race). But 6-10% of 24K undergrads is still a lot of people, and overall it could be a really good alternative to needing Big Merit to make ends meet.

    ACT-wise, how was your science subscore? If that's a weak area, then consider trying the SAT which doesn't have a science section.

    Lastly, I know you don't want to say which state you're from, but if you are in one of the Midwest Exchange states (Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, & Wisconsin), then you can get reduced tuition at participating schools in other states in that group. https://msep.mhec.org/ There's also an exchange among the southern states http://home.sreb.org/acm/choosestate.aspx but it appears that this work like New England's exchange - you only get reciprocity if you study something that's not available in your home state, which in practice means that you have to choose a rather exotic major to get the discount.

    I promise to stop now with the epic posts...
    edited July 2018
    · Reply · Share
  • jamesk2014jamesk2014 289 replies0 threads Junior Member
    smu has had a revitalization of the debate program competitiveness. It's urban/suburban. Will have both financial aid and scholarship and will be a match for you.
    · Reply · Share
  • PublisherPublisher 11376 replies152 threads Senior Member
    Be sure to check out the debate/forensics teams & programs. Some may only be open to nationally ranked debaters.
    · Reply · Share
  • rejoinderrejoinder 18 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @tk21769 I'm not completely sure what you mean by 'what kind of FA', sorry! I've run some net price calculators and it's not looking good -- my family doesn't qualify for a whole lot of need-based aid and the EFC from all the colleges I've run average at around 48k. My parents are willing to help pay for college, but I don't see them being able to comfortably pay more than 30k and 48k is definitely a stretch. They don't have a solid budget, moreso that they will pay what they can afford and that circumstance may change as my dad is expected to undergo a job change soon but I think their contribution will sit around 30kish.
    · Reply · Share
  • rejoinderrejoinder 18 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @aquapt First of all, I really appreciate the effort and time you're taking to respond! The posts are extremely helpful, thank you.

    Yeah, I'm definitely not eligible for much need-based aid. So far, calculators results show that my EFC is around 48k (more for some.) I really like Michigan and I never looked much into the rest -- I'll check them out! The Utah program is very appealing.

    My ACT subscores are Math; 28, Science; 33, English; 32, Reading; 36, and I got a 9 on Writing. Math is definitely the weak section so that's mainly what I'm reviewing until the next ACT. I'm definitely weaker on the SAT -- got a 1350 the first time w/out studying compared to the 32, so I didn't intend to continue with the SAT.
    · Reply · Share
  • rejoinderrejoinder 18 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @jamesk2014 SMU as in Southern Methodist University? Thanks for the input!

    @Publisher I'm definitely checking each individual program on the list -- I'm grateful many seem to welcome anyone who'd like to join. Thanks for the tip!
    · Reply · Share
  • jamesk2014jamesk2014 289 replies0 threads Junior Member
    yes the same - good financial aid / scholarships (like combined together) so possibly a good opportunity.
    · Reply · Share
  • moooopmoooop 2205 replies17 threads Senior Member
    There are a lot of people in your financial situation--won't qualify for enough need-based aid to get your net cost down to a level you can afford. You might have to compromise on one or more of your criteria. So publics which are fairly cheap to begin with & offer significant merit aid are good choices. South Florida, Florida International, Florida State, Iowa State, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Mississippi State.
    · Reply · Share
  • tk21769tk21769 10710 replies27 threads Senior Member
    If your family can afford about $30K (not just for "tuition" but for everything), and if the EFC for schools you like is ~$48K, then apparently you have a gap of about $18K for those colleges (or others like them). You may be able to close some of that gap with "self help" (federal student loans, summer employment, work-study) ... but maybe not much more than about $7500-$10K/year. See the federal student loan limits here:

    You could chase merit scholarships, which might be considered another kind of "FA" for families like yours.
    However (and this is important to understand) merit scholarships typically don't "stack" on top of need-based aid. Instead, they generally offset (reduce) need. So if the NPC originally said you'd be getting $25K in n-b aid, but you then factor in a $10K institutional (/ outside) merit award, in that case your n-b aid likely drops to $15K and your net price unfortunately is the same. Therefore, you may need a merit scholarship big enough not only to close a relatively small gap, but to cover *all* the difference between the sticker price and what you & your family can afford.

    So if the school's sticker price is $65K and your family is able and willing to cover only $30K, and if you can cover as much as $10K from self-help, then you may need a $25K merit award (with no need-based aid in the picture). $25K would be above-average for many fairly selective private colleges that offer merit awards. Some schools (like Alabama) do offer even larger automatic merit scholarships for qualifying stats.

    Or, you can focus on state schools with lower sticker prices. $30K + self-help gets you close to (or even exceeds) the OOS sticker prices for many state schools.

    Some in-state public schools, including schools within commuting distance, may be affordable even without much self-help, need-based aid, or merit money.

    · Reply · Share
  • rejoinderrejoinder 18 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @moooop Some of these seem like good matches! I'll check them out, thank you. Which criteria of mine (specifically) did you think was getting in the way of finding schools w/ good aid?
    · Reply · Share
This discussion has been closed.

Recent Activity