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Best merit for top students in the East coast

Jennyfr1Jennyfr1 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
Son is a sophomore with big dreams. Trying to narrow down colleges to visit that are financially feasible other than the generous ivy schools. Which top schools give the best merit (no need based or on top of need) in the east coast? He is Hispanic, top 5% of his class/600, probably won't qualify for much financial aid but won't be able to afford a 40k price tag (after aid). Math related majors. We are in NJ. He will be willing to compete for selective scholarships/ honors college etc. Thank you for any help.
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Replies to: Best merit for top students in the East coast

  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5680 replies1 threads Senior Member
    edited November 28
    "won't be able to afford a 40k price tag"

    We live in the northeast (both north and east of NJ). The only schools that we found that were below $40k were in-state public universities and universities in Canada. There were quite a few that gave merit based aid which got the price down to about $40k per year. We did not qualify for any need based aid.

    One issue that you might run into is that in many cases if you get merit based aid then this will reduce your need based aid.

    I am pretty sure that MIT, Stanford, and the Ivy League schools have no merit based aid at all. You have very good in-state public universities.
    edited November 28
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  • NJEngineerDadNJEngineerDad 168 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited November 28
    @Jennyfr1 For at least 1/4 Hispanic students, a good path to merit is to get a top PSAT/NMSQT score and become a National Hispanic Recognition Program (NHRP) recipient, and then pick a school in the South such as Arizona State University (ASU) that offers great merit scholarships to national scholars. (If not 1/4 Hispanic one would need to become a National Merit Scholarship (NMS) finalist to get the same outcome. It is basically the same process but the bar is higher.)

    Alternatively, if you want to stay on the US East coast, with a top SAT score you can get a good merit scholarship at Rutgers New Brunswick here in NJ. As @DadTwoGirls mentioned, Canada is another option.

    Note that Kahn Academy is a good way to prepare to both the PSAT and SAT, and it is free.

    When you write Math-related major, do you mean pure Math or Engineering?
    edited November 28
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  • stencilsstencils 410 replies4 threads Member
    Fordham in NYC has possible full tuition for National Hispanic Recognition Scholarship recipients.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78992 replies701 threads Senior Member
    Jennyfr1 wrote: »
    Son is a sophomore with big dreams. Trying to narrow down colleges to visit that are financially feasible other than the generous ivy schools. Which top schools give the best merit (no need based or on top of need) in the east coast? He is Hispanic, top 5% of his class/600, probably won't qualify for much financial aid but won't be able to afford a 40k price tag (after aid). Math related majors. We are in NJ. He will be willing to compete for selective scholarships/ honors college etc. Thank you for any help.

    What net price is affordable? Would in-state New Jersey public universities like Rutgers be affordable?

    What "math related" majors? Pure math, applied math, statistics, mathematical economics or finance, physics, engineering, computer science, or undecided between some of these?
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  • STEMFocusSTEMFocus 15 replies2 threads Junior Member
    HI, We are in somewhat similar situation, one college freshman, one high school senior, both have national merit/national hispanic, top students, math majors, looked for and found merit aid. If you were going need only, suggest Williams, Bowdoin, Swarthmore for math. Princeton has incredibly generous need aid, may be enough for you but reach to get in for everyone. Merit aid: WPI and RPI worth a look for moderate merit ($25k range), for possibility for higher merit $ suggest look at Lafayette, Richmond, Washington and Lee, Davidson, Wake Forest (only 3% get merit $ at Wake but they seem to be actively seeking more diversity),Emory, Furman. If can expand westward a little, suggest Vanderbilt, Wash U, Denison, Purdue, Ohio State. National merit opens up full ride possibilities, especially state schools in south. Good luck!
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  • TheGreyKingTheGreyKing 2190 replies102 threadsForum Champion Williams College Forum Champion
    Clark University (MA) has very generous merit aid.
    Skidmore (NY) has the Porter merit scholarship for top math and science students.
    Lafayette (PA) has the Marquis fellowship and scholarship.
    Brandeis has some merit scholarships, too.
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  • Jennyfr1Jennyfr1 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
    For now pure math or applied mathematics.
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  • Jennyfr1Jennyfr1 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Anything around the $25k would be a sacrifice but manageable. He is undecided in which math area he wants to go for now. We do have Rutgers in then list of schools to visit.
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  • Jennyfr1Jennyfr1 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Where did your son decided to go? We will be in the same situation when my oldest is a senior I will have my other one as a freshman. Thanks for your suggestions
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  • NJEngineerDadNJEngineerDad 168 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited November 29
    @Jennyfr1 A 25K budget when schools expect 40K is doable but it will limit your options. Even Rutgers might not be a done deal. You will need to get 10K off via merit which requires a very high SAT Score (I estimate above 1530 single-sitting for Rutgers SAS).

    So I think it would be good that you look at your son's PSAT 10 score or have him take a practice test on Kahn Academy to see if getting such SAT score next year is realistic.

    If getting a 1530 SAT score is not realistic, then you need to see if he can get a good enough PSAT/NMSQT score to become a NHRP scholar. Something around 1450 at the PSAT 11 should be good enough.

    If this is still not guaranteed, then I suggest you target NJIT, which offers great merit at a somewhat lower point.

    I don't think it makes sense to visit colleges until you have that info in hands.

    See also https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/2155879-side-discussion-thread-for-top-new-jersey-engineering-students-looking-for-advice-getting-merit-aid.html (more about engineering but useful nonetheless imho)

    PS: when you reply to somebody please type his or her username because otherwise it is hard to figure out whom you are replying to.
    edited November 29
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  • Jennyfr1Jennyfr1 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @Jennyfr1 A 25K budget when schools expect 40K is doable but it will limit your options. Even Rutgers might not be a done deal. You will need to get 10K off via merit which requires a very high SAT Score (I estimate above 1530 single-sitting for Rutgers SAS).

    So I think it would be good that you look at your son's PSAT 10 score or have him take a practice test on Kahn Academy to see if getting such SAT score next year is realistic.

    If getting a 1530 SAT score is not realistic, then you need to see if he can get a good enough PSAT/NMSQT score to become a NHRP scholar. Something around 1450 at the PSAT 11 should be good enough.

    If this is still not guaranteed, then I suggest you target NJIT, which offers great merit at a somewhat lower point.

    I don't think it makes sense to visit colleges until you have that info in hands.

    See also https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/2155879-side-discussion-thread-for-top-new-jersey-engineering-students-looking-for-advice-getting-merit-aid.html (more about engineering but useful nonetheless imho)

    PS: when you reply to somebody please type his or her username because otherwise it is hard to figure out whom you are replying to.

    Thank you! A newbie in CC.
    He took the actual SAT through John's Hopkins as an 8th grader and got a 1350 with some prep from Khan academy. He didn't have algebra 2 back then. I don't know how much of a predictor that is but he is confident he can get his SAT in the high 1400s with the goal of reaching the 1500's by the time he is a Junior. He knows a high SAT is the best way to reach the schools he dreams of.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78992 replies701 threads Senior Member
    If this is still not guaranteed, then I suggest you target NJIT, which offers great merit at a somewhat lower point.

    Note that NJIT's upper level math courses appear to have a strong emphasis on various applied math topics, with less emphasis on pure math topics (analysis, algebra, number theory, logic, set theory, geometry, topology): https://catalog.njit.edu/undergraduate/science-liberal-arts/mathematical-sciences/#coursestext
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  • NJEngineerDadNJEngineerDad 168 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @Jennyfr1 I am not sure how to predict a SAT score based on a test taken in 8th grade either but I am glad to read that your son is working hard on getting a high SAT score. Also make sure that he knows he should take the PSAT in 11th grade seriously. I know people that did not even bother taking it because they did not think it mattered. For high-potential Hispanics it does matter because it is the qualifying test for NHRP. Good luck!
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  • NJEngineerDadNJEngineerDad 168 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited November 29
    @ucbalumnus I agree with your comment on NJIT. I suggested to add it to the list because I do not see another way for a NJ student without much financial need to study Math on a 25K budget if not getting a top PSAT or SAT score, and I believe that even good-but-not-exceptional scores like 1400 PSAT or 1500 SAT would probably not bring enough merit at other schools. I cannot think of any other safety if OP's son somehow were not to score high enough to get big merit at Rutgers or somewhere in the South with NHRP status.

    To go back to the original question: I think at this time that OP's son can visit Rutgers (1st choice) and NJIT (backup plan). Things can be reassessed about a year from now when PSAT 11 and early junior-year SAT scores are known.

    To be clear, I do not think that any of the private schools mentioned by others will come within a 25K budget considering a 40K expected contribution.
    edited November 29
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  • Jennyfr1Jennyfr1 14 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @ucbalumnus I agree with your comment on NJIT. I suggested to add it to the list because I do not see another way for a NJ student without much financial need to study Math on a 25K budget if not getting a top PSAT or SAT score, and I believe that even good-but-not-exceptional scores like 1400 PSAT or 1500 SAT would probably not bring enough merit at other schools. I cannot think of any other safety if OP's son somehow were not to score high enough to get big merit at Rutgers or somewhere in the South with NHRP status.

    To go back to the original question: I think at this time that OP's son can visit Rutgers (1st choice) and NJIT (backup plan). Things can be reassessed about a year from now when PSAT 11 and early junior-year SAT scores are known.

    To be clear, I do not think that any of the private schools mentioned by others will come within a 25K budget considering a 40K expected contribution.

    This is my fear that is either ivy league or maybe NJIT / temple/ Rutgers with merit, but nothing in between. He will only take loans if it is an unbelievable opportunity. Other than that we would.have to adhere to the budget.
    Some people suggested Pitt with diversity scholarship again if SAT scores are high.
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  • tgl2023tgl2023 192 replies5 threads Junior Member
    University of Maryland at College Park's Banneker-Key merit scholarship might be worthwhile for you to consider. OOS are eligible. About 400 B-Ks are awarded yearly; a partial B-K covers tuition and book allowance, and a full pays for room-and-board in addition. All who apply by November 1st (note that this is earlier than many) and who are admitted to their Honors College are automatically considered for B-K; no additional application material is needed for B-K, but a good essay (Coalition, not Common app) and answers to a few short questions (from UM) are vital to distinguish oneself among peers with equally fantastic stats. Maryland however, is a 'big' school, with over 40,000 students.
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  • NJEngineerDadNJEngineerDad 168 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Jennyfr1 wrote: »
    This is my fear that is either ivy league or maybe NJIT / temple/ Rutgers with merit, but nothing in between. He will only take loans if it is an unbelievable opportunity. Other than that we would.have to adhere to the budget.
    Some people suggested Pitt with diversity scholarship again if SAT scores are high.

    Regarding the Ivy leagues be aware that only a subset is generous with financial aid. For example, while Princeton is said to be generous, my experience is that Cornell is not. I should say that I do not consider federal student loans and work study offers to be real discounts. What would you consider an unbelievable opportunity?

    I am not sure why you are looking at Pennsylvania. Temple charging out-of-state tuition I don't see how it could get within your budget. Are you aware of special merit offers there? And Pitt is allegedly moving away from pure merit. I don't know what they will offer two years from now.

    If your son wants to go out of New Jersey, then you need to look at merit possibilities in states in the South such as Florida, Alabama, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah... or look up North to Canada.
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  • NJEngineerDadNJEngineerDad 168 replies1 threads Junior Member
    tgl2023 wrote: »
    University of Maryland at College Park's Banneker-Key merit scholarship might be worthwhile for you to consider. OOS are eligible. About 400 B-Ks are awarded yearly; a partial B-K covers tuition and book allowance, and a full pays for room-and-board in addition.

    Thanks for the info. This is interesting but the website of the school says "The partial Banneker/Key provides $8,000 for in-state students and $12,000 towards tuition for out-of-state students annually." 12K towards out-of-state tuition is not going to suffice. How many OOS students get the full deal?
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  • twogirlstwogirls 7375 replies7 threads Senior Member
    edited November 30
    @NJEngineerDad

    Not many from OOS get the full deal. And coming from the NY/NJ area is not a plus...there are so many applying to the school from the area.

    Even years ago not many got the full award. My nephew received 75% about 8 years ago (B/K OOS). My D received less than that 4-5 years ago ($11,500) but it was not B/K.
    edited November 30
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  • Jennyfr1Jennyfr1 14 replies1 threads Junior Member


    Regarding the Ivy leagues be aware that only a subset is generous with financial aid. For example, while Princeton is said to be generous, my experience is that Cornell is not.

    Princeton is his dream school, but we are very aware it is a very common dream for a lot of brilliant kids.

    I am not sure why you are looking at Pennsylvania. Temple charging out-of-state tuition I don't see how it could get within your budget. Are you aware of special merit offers there? And Pitt is allegedly moving away from pure merit. I don't know what they will offer two years from now.

    I know two local people that got very generous merit proposals from Temple. Financial situation similar to me. This is why he is considering it. At least in this 1st round of visits we want to do for the spring.

    If your son wants to go out of New Jersey, then you need to look at merit possibilities in states in the South such as Florida, Alabama, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah... or look up North to Canada.[/quot


    South not a chance according to him.....Canada haven't even consider it. Any universities suggestions that would be a step up from our NJ options?

    Thank you for taking the time. I am aware things can change and this is just an effort to spread his options to something beyond Princeton. I love his drive and commitment but I do want him to be excited for other opportunities.
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