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College Advice

TubbinTribeTubbinTribe Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
Hello, everyone!
I am currently a high school senior, I have a 4.3 (weighted) gpa and 4.0 (unweighted) gpa. I never took the SAT because during my first 3 years of high school I didnt want to attend college and believed I was going to join the military. As time passed and I have gotten through halfway of my Senior year my plans have changed and now im extremely confused. After some experiences within the last year I have found a new interest in medicine and would like to pursue it as a career. Recently, I had been thinking of taking 1 gap year to work full time to build up some money for school so I wouldnt have to go into that much debt at Portland State University. However, I was doing research within the past week and found out about merit scholarships at schools such as University of Utah. If I were to take the SAT/ACT this spring and scored high enough (1450+) would I be able to get a Presidential scholarship at the University of Utah? Do they give scholarships to student who have taken a gap year? Also, I wont qualify for any financial aid due to my parents upper middle class income so merit is probably my best option. Any responses help. Thank you in advance!

Replies to: College Advice

  • EmpireappleEmpireapple Registered User Posts: 1,178 Senior Member
    You could also talk with a military recruiter about how you could forge a path through college and med school via the military. Might be a great financial option and career start-up. Good luck!
  • BuckeyeMWDSGBuckeyeMWDSG Registered User Posts: 773 Member
    There are test optional schools that do not require an ACT or SAT score. You can see the list of these schools at https://www.fairtest.org/university/optional

    This article is a little outdated, but it explains the financial aid forms required by colleges and does a good job of giving a quick overview of how the financial aid system works in general. https://www.forbes.com/sites/troyonink/2017/01/08/2017-guide-to-college-financial-aid-the-fafsa-and-css-profile/#4e7d31ff4cd4

    You should check the websites of schools to see if the scholarships you are interested in are only open to current seniors. Also keep in mind that the requirements for scholarships can change, so next year's cycle might not be the same as this year's.

    You have an impressive gpa. Does your school rank?

    Many colleges have ROTC programs. Did you ever consider a service academy? Or have you decided you do not want to pursue a military career?
  • BuckeyeMWDSGBuckeyeMWDSG Registered User Posts: 773 Member
    Here is another thread about large merit aid for stats (test score and gpa) https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/2006094-2017-automatic-full-tuition-full-ride-scholarships.html

    I would caution you not to start at a community college during a gap year if you intend to pursue large merit. Earning credits can change your status from incoming freshman (which have the best opportunities to win merit) to a transfer applicant (generally fewer scholarships, if any are offered by schools).
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 28,590 Senior Member
    edited January 8
    Some of the scholarships in the Automatic Full Tuition thread are only for students who enter directly from high school. But some are also open to students who have taken a gap year. Work your way carefully through that thread and see which scholarships are still available and what is required. Also, spend some time in the Financial Aid Forum reading up on the topic of merit-based aid, and post your own questions there. You will get some good ideas. Watch for anything by @mom2collegekids She is one of our merit-aid and pre-med experts.

    Wishing you all the best!
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,449 Senior Member
    Gap years can affect merit scholarship eligibility. Done on a school by school basis so best to contact that school's admissions & financial aid office & ask.
  • TubbinTribeTubbinTribe Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
    What if I were to go to college this year 2019-2020 and then transfer and try to recieve money that way? Alabama State University has a Presidential scholarship for college transfers. Would that be a viable option?
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,449 Senior Member
    Do you understand that the middle 50% ACT range for Alabama State University is ACT 16--ACT 19 ?
  • TTGTTG Registered User Posts: 1,501 Senior Member
    A couple of thoughts. I see three routes for you if you apply for next year. You will have to work hard the next few weeks to make it happen. Deadlines have passed and will be passing over the next month, though not for all schools.

    1) Google colleges that meet full financial need. These may close the gap between what your family can pay and what the school costs. It can mean that if a college costs $70,000 per year and a student's family can afford $30,000, then they will receive $40,000 in aid. Note some caveats: a school that claims to meet full financial need may also be "need aware" and take into consideration how much a student can pay in the admissions decision. Also, a college may calculate a family can pay more than they can or are willing to pay. Also, your google search will mostly show the wealthiest and most competitive colleges (Harvard, Princeton, etc.). BUT some are outstanding and more accessible, though still competitive. The College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA), for example, is outstanding and claims to meet full financial need. I think, not sure, Connecticut College would also be one.

    2) Google colleges that offer generous merit aid. A lot of school will have early deadlines for merit aid. So look into that quickly. You would be eligible for significant merit aid at Miami of Ohio with a 1450 SAT and your grades (eligible not guaranteed). Google Miami of Ohio merit aid and you will get a nice, simple chart that shows the ranges.


    3) Go to a school with ROTC. I'm not familiar with how this works today, and deadlines, but you can get very significant financial assistance for ROTC, and a military commitment. I would think many colleges would be affordable for an upper middle class student who was in ROTC for four years.

    Also, are you from OR? If so, do you know about the Western Undergraduate Exchange, which allows students in several western states to attend certain colleges/universities in other states at a reduced OOS tuition rate. Note that these often offer a limited number of WUE spots, and applying early is an advantage. Again, if any of these looked good, you could see if they would allow you to apply next fall, after a gap year, for a WUE spot. I don't know the answer to that, in general or for any specific school.


    Gap Year: Follow the advice in Posts #4 and #5. Find some schools that look like possibilities. Then research their policy regarding gap years and financial aid. It varies by school, which makes sense, because schools can be very different in terms of student bodies, mission, etc. Sometimes students can, without any difficulty, be accepted, receive aid, and then defer for a year. Sometimes they can wait a year to apply and then be eligible for aid as if they were any incoming freshman. But you really need to check the policy at a specific school--the answer can have a very large financial impact. Of course, you can't research every school, so find some colleges that look good for you and then just check gap-year policies for those schools. And if you do a gap year and then apply, be sure to talk about what you learned and how you grew during the experience, in a positive way, in your application.

    Pre-med: Getting into med school is all about how you do in school, not where you go. When you get to school, arrange tutors for any and all science classes THE FIRST WEEK OF THE SEMESTER. This is not a sign of academic weakness, but of academic strength. Students very, very often bomb the first bio or chem or physics exam and then go for extra help. It's much better to get a head start. And, you are paying for the one-on-one teaching at the tutoring center. You are at school to learn. So take advantage.

    Also, get to know your profs. Students are often reluctant to do this. (Often they don't want the prof to know what they don't know. Hint: Profs usually know anyway and, anyway, better for them to learn before an exam when they can help a student than when they grade the exam, which then goes into calculating the course grade.) But the vast majority of profs appreciate it, and it helps them more effectively teach their students. Go to office hours, help sessions, etc.

    Good luck!
  • DustyfeathersDustyfeathers Registered User Posts: 3,184 Senior Member
    edited January 9
    While I value the military and all that it does for us, I would like to suggest that you do NOT consider the military as a career. What potential benefits you may get financially toward school could easily be offset by damage to your body and/or mind once you enter into conflict. This is too great of a price to pay for an education, in my personal opinion.

    There are many other ways to attend school and not acquire too much debt.

    I would advise that if you keep your total debt load to about $33K or less, you'll be fine in terms of paying it off. The less the better.

    If you were my child, I'd suggest looking at the following schools --

    Reed -- it's in Oregon, has good FA, is in Oregon, so you'd be close to home

    Whitman -- it's in Washington, has good FA and 36% of its students received $11K (average) merit scholarships (and then you'd need to see the rest of their aid package to see what else they offer)

    Hobart and William Smith -- has a special scholarship for people interested in medicine among others -- https://www.hws.edu/admissions/merit_based.aspx

    Southwestern University in Texas -- has excellent aid -- https://www.southwestern.edu/scholarships-financial-aid/scholarships/ Average merit award is above $23K

    Muhlenberg -- has nice med programs -- 30% of students receive sizeable merit

    If you're female, schools that give merit plus need-based aid and are excellent for premed include:
    - Bryn Mawr
    - Smith
    - Mt. Holyoke

    Earlham -- excellent premed prep, including uniquely a cadaver course -- http://earlham.edu/academics/programs/pre-med/

    St. Mary's of California -- has the other undergrad cadaver course and would offer you sizeable merit -- https://www.stmarys-ca.edu/cutting-edge-human-anatomy-cadavers

    There are many many other schools that you may want to look at. I would look for a combination of --

    1) schools that offer merit
    2) to get merit, you would need to be in the top approx. 75% of their applicant pool
    3) for premed NOT in California as there are too many people applying from CA that you'd compete with.

    To find out #1, look at a website called CollegeData. Hit the "money" tab. That will tell you the percentage of merit, the average debt of the graduate, etc.

    To find out #2, you can google <name of school> and <graph> -- that should pull up images of graphs of datapoints that show which were admitted and which were rejected by scores vs gpa. You can find yourself on the graph and that will help you determine if you're in the top of their pool. CollegeData also lists the number of applicants by GPA. You can see where you stand in the applicant pool by using those numbers

    To find out average cost for YOU for any school, go to College Navigator and hit the <net price> tab. That will show you average cost by income bracket. If you want a more precise number, run the net price calculator for you family's data. https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
  • BuckeyeMWDSGBuckeyeMWDSG Registered User Posts: 773 Member
    Alabama State University is one of the HBCU's that you can apply to via https://commonblackcollegeapp.com/ For one $35 application fee, all of these https://commonblackcollegeapp.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/protech_poster.pdf member colleges can access your application.

    info. from their FAQ page https://commonblackcollegeapp.com/faqs/:

    "Although you will be asked to list your top four college choices when completing the Common Black College Application, your application is made available to all 50 Member Institutions."

    "Although you do not have to complete another application or pay another application fee, some of the Member Institutions will only process your application if you select them as one of their top four choices."

    "If you did not select one of the Member Institutions as one of your top four choices, we encourage you to contact them via our Direct Messaging, by phone, email or letter to let them know you are interested in attending their college."

    "You will not be asked to pay another application fee or have to complete another application.
    (Some of the Member Institutions may ask you to provide additional information to complete the application process)."

    "Q. How do I send the Member Institutions my transcript, test scores, recommendations and essay?

    A. When you complete your application, you can provide your School Counselor’s name and email address. An email will then be sent instructing your Counselor on how to create an account to upload an Official Copy of your transcripts and test scores.

    Please note, if you do not enter the high school CEEB code, your will Counselor will not be able to upload your documents."

    "Q. Can I use this application has a transfer student?

    A. Yes you can use this application to transfer to one of our Member Institutions. (Please note, you must send an Official Transcript to all of the Member Institutions you are interested in attending)."
  • BuckeyeMWDSGBuckeyeMWDSG Registered User Posts: 773 Member
    "If I were to take the SAT/ACT this spring and scored high enough (1450+)"

    Are you registered yet for a test date?

    Have you ever taken a practice test?

    You can get practice tests and online prep material at https://www.khanacademy.org/sat

  • lostaccountlostaccount Registered User Posts: 5,036 Senior Member
    edited January 11
    It's great that you are now considering college. Given you are a very strong student, I imagine you have good relationships with some of your teachers and maybe with your guidance counselor (GC). I'd let those people know about your plans to solicit their support. Even a GC with tons of advisees is likely to want to provide extra help and support to a student such as yourself with a process that can be formidable even for parents. Your GC may be able to help you negotiate the hurdles as well as steer funding offers your way.

    Many high schools target high achieving students in junior year for funding offers/ "awards", some of which are associated with nominal funds whereas some bring with them sizable funds-some of which must be applied for whereas some require you to be nominated. I"m guessing your plans made you a less obvious choice for those if your school has such a process (often displayed in "awards night"; some called "book awards"). But if you let your GC know about your plans she/he could help identify awards that you might be eligible for. There are also organizations that give fairly sizable awards to students who meet certain criteria-such as if their parents belong to certain unions or work in certain fields, have had certain experiences or for students whose parents are deceased. And there are various "book" awards some of which provide decent money. See what U of Rochester (still a mind blowingly expensive school so I'm just using this as an example) offers in this dated link (the link is dated and associated with a specific high school but it is an ongoing program:
    https://www.wappingersschools.org/cms/lib01/NY01001463/Centricity/Domain/1400/Junior Awards-2016.pdf ) Likewise RIT offers money as well (https://www.rit.edu/marketing/sites/rit.edu.marketing/files/docs/pdfs/High_School_Awards.pdf). Again, these aren't huge amounts but there are some that are sizable. Your GC will know about these. Some involve sizable gifts and others less so. Lastly, there are also community awards that are specific to a particular geographic area (sometimes offered by a corporation that established a foundation to benefit the local community and sometimes to bolster certain skills within that community). While some of these are very competitive others are so obscure that they have trouble finding applicants. One of my kids ended up with a 15K award that he learned about only because there was a small article in the local paper stating that the deadline had been extended because they had not received many applicants.

    In most schools GCs meet with all students at least once about college. But I'm suggesting that you try to establish a more sustained relationship with your GC whereby he/she is aware of your goals and can take a more active role.This isn't always possible and it is usually not possible for any GC to do this with all students. Yet I think many are eager to provide a bit more support for worthy students who might either not have other knowledgable people to help them or who have situations that are somewhat different from those of their peers. And, as you've seen here, there are certainly many knowledgable people eager to help here.
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