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LAC for Chemistry that offers generous merit aid

GrizzlyBearMomGrizzlyBearMom 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
Hi, I'm a mom and a new poster. My daughter would like for me to suggest five colleges. She is excited about Chemistry but that may change. I am an alumni of St. John's College in Annapolis so I'm enthusiastic about liberal arts colleges.

Could you please suggest liberal arts college ideas that I could research further? Her stats are:
academic GPA, unweighted: 3.8
academic GPA, weighted: 4.0
ACT: 32
APs:
Human Geography: 5
Chemistry: score not received yet
US History: score not received yet
Statistics: score not received yet
Extracurriculars:
1. Marching Band
2. Scouting (Girl Scout Gold award, Scouts BSA)
3. High School swim team (JV)

Personality: very bright, capable, and organized. Easy-going, blends-in, results oriented, loves learning and curious.

Family situation: comfortable however we would like to pay no more than about $40k per year.
Geography: Daughter would like to go to college outside of California (we live in Los Angeles county). She would like a northerly state with rain. Winter weather is OK.

Thank you to anyone who reads and responds. Both mom and dad volunteer in our community and we appreciate you reaching out to help too!
62 replies
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Replies to: LAC for Chemistry that offers generous merit aid

  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5616 replies10 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Take a look at Earlham. Great chem department.

    Union (NY) could also be a good one. Totally different vibe.

    I am less familiar with the sciences at Denison and Dickinson but both offer good merit.

    Depending on your income, Colby's Fair Shot program might apply to you. Good chem department.
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  • merc81merc81 10261 replies156 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 22
    For some ideas you can search "15 Best Value Small Colleges for a Chemistry Degree," an article in which schools such as Union and Wooster appear.
    edited June 22
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  • happy1happy1 22769 replies2242 threadsVerified Member Senior Member
    Muhlenberg may be an option.
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  • HPTD12HPTD12 85 replies4 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Williams is building new sciences building and has a record of generous aid. Amherst is similar. Might require retaking ACT to get a 33-34 to be more competitive though.
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  • merc81merc81 10261 replies156 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    The OP is searching for colleges that offer merit scholarship recognition, @HPTD12.
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  • mamag2855mamag2855 799 replies2 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited June 22
    Some of the colleges that change lives, CTCL.org schools may offer enough merit to get you to $40K per year. Ursinus College, outside of Philadelphia has garanteed merit of $35K for your D's stats if admitted, more details here:
    https://www.ursinus.edu/offices/student-financial-services/scholarship-opportunities/

    A friend's D attended and majored in environmental science, and loved her time there. Science programs are strong, and there are good internship opportunities in Philly/the surrounding area.
    edited June 22
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1387 replies19 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would add Oberlin and Lawrence. Oberlin is historically very strong in Chem. The want for merit would put it in the reach category. Lawrence normally gets the mention when someone is looking for Physics. But I think that it is worth a look. I believe that their NPC gives a merit estimate. That can be very helpful. Both will have seasons.
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  • GrizzlyBearMomGrizzlyBearMom 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you for the ideas. The Lawrence net price calculator was encouraging, as was the Ursinus guaranteed merit aid. The numbers start to look a lot like the cost we would pay if our daughter attended a University of California school, which makes it much easier.

    Can someone give me some ideas of how to evaluate the quality of the education that a small college provides? Is the best way to look at the faculty in particular departments? How can I distinguish between party schools and those where the average student has an academic focus?

    For instance, Earlham appears to have all of the Chemistry faculty on tenure track, while Lawrence appears to have a number of adjunct faculty. Does this matter? What makes Earlham strong in chemistry, as mentioned by gardenstategal?

    Once again, many thanks for the generous responses.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Another vote for Dickinson. Might come in slightly over $40K. It is going to be easier to get to $45K in general than $40K. Lawrence is more likely to hit your price point.
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  • merc81merc81 10261 replies156 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You might look at IPEDS for an indication of the popularity of the major. For example, Wooster recently graduated 12 chemistry "first majors," a good figure for a smaller college.

    https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/?q=Wooster&s=all&id=206589#programs
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  • realmmomrealmmom 7 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    I would second Wooster. The independent research project required of all students coupled with a strong chemistry faculty and institutional commitment to undergraduate education make their graduates desirable for prestigious fellowships and graduate programs.

    Does your child want a rural, urban, or suburban campus? That may narrow your choices as much as anything else. The recommendations here are all good chemistry programs.
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  • homerdoghomerdog 4967 replies89 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Grinnell!!
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  • merc81merc81 10261 replies156 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes, based on its science facilities alone, Grinnell would make a great suggestion.
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  • GrizzlyBearMomGrizzlyBearMom 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you for the continued flow of ideas. I'm surfing the college's websites like crazy!

    My daughter would be open to rural, suburban or city. Although we live in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, she appears un-interested in what the city has to offer and sticks close to our community of 30,000. She does want someplace with rain (and snow). When we hiked across Scotland she loved the daily rains.

    I suspect rural colleges are the best value -- does anyone have insights into this?
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  • myrna97myrna97 86 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    If her openness to winter weather extends to Minnesota, she might want to look at St. Olaf. Our tour guide when we visited was from Southern California and she said she loved it and felt surviving the cold this past year earned her some bragging rights. It's one of the Colleges That Change Lives, located less than an hour from Minneapolis, and there's the potential for merit aid to bring the cost within your budget, especially if she tries for a music scholarship too.
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  • pishicacapishicaca 283 replies8 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited June 23
    Thirding Wooster. Strong Chem program and faculty, newly opened innovative science facility. Those stats should net you a cost in the range of $30-35K per year as they are generous with merit. Meets the weather preferences, the city of Wooster is semi-rural with a population of around 30K and a downtown that is becoming more and more interesting and vibrant. Chem and the required Independent Study program have yielded some significant product developments in recent years and the department is encouraging real world applied outcomes for projects as a result.

    Also happens to have one of the best smal college marching bands in the country, complete with bagpipe and drum corps, if she wants to continue her involvement.
    edited June 23
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  • PAclgmomPAclgmom 44 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited June 23
    My daughter is a chemistry major at Juniata. It’s a quirky college for sure, but the chem department is the best of the school. She would get plenty of aid with those stats. She turned down Wooster for Juniata, the aid from Wooster wasn’t even in the ballpark of what she ended up with.
    edited June 23
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  • 1stTimeThruMom1stTimeThruMom 242 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @PAclgmom Can you explain what you mean by quirky? My kid looks like a typical straight arrow, slightly preppy Catholic school kid, and is friends with same, but he is quite intellectual and loves to debate politics, for example. Thanks.
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  • dadof2ddadof2d 197 replies13 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Second for St. Olaf. My daughter had similar stats and she received a 19k merit scholarship. It has been a great school for our daughter.
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  • GrizzlyBearMomGrizzlyBearMom 6 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you everyone for the ideas regarding liberal arts colleges for chemistry, and the specific information about merit scholarships. I can see that some of these colleges will be much more affordable than they appear at first. It seems that the only way to find out how much each college costs is to apply. Clearly the more applications my daughter writes, the better the chances she will find a college with both a program that is a good fit as well as an attractive merit aid package.

    I'd like to ask you all another question -- how many liberal arts colleges is it reasonable to apply to? I've been told that every college asks for different essay topics. Is the effort involved in writing the essays the factor that determines the number of applications that are reasonable?
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