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Ursinus Muhlenburg Elzabethtown Please compare and appreciate your thoughts.

d87d87d87d87 28 replies6 threads Junior Member
Well my son who wants to major in biology and go on to med school and has narrowed down to these three schools.
He is ranked number 1 in his class and has a 4.0 gpa and also has scored 98% on psat and will take sat this May.
He wants to stay in Pa. He wants to get an excellent education in biology and the sciences to prepare him for med school.
He is not an athlete. He is outgoing.
We need to budget for 40k per year since we have 4 children total, thus Ivy's and higher priced schools are out since with our income we will not qualify for any aide and will have to pay full price. We are looking for merit aide.
Are these good choices ? Is one better than the other?
What about athlete clics at Ursinus?
Some of these sites where students do reviews are brutal on the reviews of these schools. I know I have to take that with a grain of salt but boy oh boy.
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Replies to: Ursinus Muhlenburg Elzabethtown Please compare and appreciate your thoughts.

  • kidzncatzkidzncatz 1086 replies7 threads Senior Member
    All of these schools are well-respected liberal arts colleges. As you know, Pennsylvania has many. Percentages of biology majors at each school (from the College Board website; check with the colleges directly to confirm):

    Ursinus 35%
    Elizabethtown 7%
    Muhlenberg 10%

    You might want to look at these schools' college catalogues to get an idea of the number and specialties of the biology professors and the range of courses offered. As you may know, a student interested in applying to medical school can major in anything, as long as certain core courses are taken (and excelled in).

    Have you visited these schools? Does your son have a preference as to what school seems to be the best fit for his personality and interests? Have you run the Net Price Calculators? You may need to wait until SAT results are available to determine any likely merit aid.

    Has your son considered Juniata? I know it is very strong in the sciences, has a history of good medical school placement, and offers good merit aid to strong students. Washington and Jefferson also has a reputation of sending a lot of students on to medical school.

    I wouldn't worry too much about negative student comments on online websites. Does your son personally know any students who attend these colleges? If so, he may want to reach out to them to find out what they think about their colleges.
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  • silverpurplesilverpurple 279 replies49 threads Member
    We looked at muhlenberg and it is very nice physically, great food. Have a visit and see what you think. Also, look. at their website. We found it easy to navigate and read about the courses and professors’ backgrounds.
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  • inthegardeninthegarden 1607 replies28 threads Senior Member
    edited February 29
    I’ve read that Muhlenburg has a good reputation for pre-med. We visited, and my D felt the campus was too compact for her but otherwise it seems like a very welcoming school. I,d think that a pre-med student would mostly want a place with very involved and supportive professors and I got that feeling there. If he happens to want to major in a science, the science building (or what I saw) didn’t look too impressive, though.

    If you’re looking for other suggestions, Dickinson has a reputation for great professors and a gorgeous science building but I don,t think it’s particularly generous, but your son could be one of the lucky ones to get it with his high stats, so I’d look into financial aid.

    You might look into Allegheny (I read of many kids on CC getting good merit there and it’s particularly strong in environmental sciences, which might bode well for any science prerequisites) and Washington and Jefferson near Pittsburgh. I personally know a young man from our town who got a little derailed academically in early high school, picked up his grades near the end, and went to Washington & Jefferson, where his abilities were nurtured. He is now in a fully-funded Ph.D program in Chemistry at U Michigan!
    edited February 29
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  • TheodenTheoden 251 replies7 threads Junior Member
    edited March 2
    I know about Muhlenberg and Ursinus.

    Both excellent schools, both offer merit. Visit both.

    Three other schools to add to your list that offer merit are: Allegheny, Juniata and Gettysburg college.

    Allegheny and Juniata have solid Biology depts. Both are pretty generous with merit. Gettysburg is "higher rated", but I'm not sure about their merit situation, I'm pretty sure they offer it, but I don't know how generous it is.

    My son got accepted to Allegheny and Muhlenberg, and Allegheny was much more generous with the merit aid. I hear good things about Washington and Jefferson for med school placement.

    If you're applying to Ursinus apply to Allegheny and Juniata. They are all rated the same in USNWR for National Liberal Arts Colleges. (if that's particularly meaningful to you).

    So if you were only going to stick to Liberal Arts College in PA that offer merit:

    Allegheny - great for internships, student research, requires senior thesis. Strong Biology dept.

    Ursinus - excellent Common Intellectual Experience focus. Lots of Bio majors.

    Juniata - great in sciences

    Muhlenberg - very strong in arts, but solid biology dept. Labs aren't so great, from what I hear, but I know a student who graduated there and is getting his PhD in Neuroscience and Biochem.

    Washington and Jefferson = great medical and law school placement

    Elizabethtown - Don't know much about.

    Gettysburg - great resources. I know less about the merit situation.

    Keep in mind, med school is about GPA's and MCAT's largely, Also they have to get through the "weeder" courses of Chem, Bio, Calculus and Organic Chem. Any school that provides attention and care even in the weeder classes, which I imagine all of these schools do, will help.

    The ones I know by reputation that have great attention from professors are Allegheny, Ursinus and Juniata.

    --Alan
    edited March 2
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  • d87d87d87d87 28 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Thank you all so very much for all of your insight. I really appreciate the forum so much.
    Right now Ursinus is my son's choice followed by Muhlenburg. He also likes Scranton and Elizabethtown.
    Juniata is excellent but son thinks it is too rural for him. My daughter however who is next in line seems very interested in Juniata. Daughter is also interested in biology and pre-med.
    Dickinson and Gettysburg both seemed very good but I am pretty sure will be out of our price range because they do not offer much merit.
    Washington and Jefferson is also excellent but is abit to far to the west of PA for son.
    He would rather stay central and eastern PA.
    We will see what his SAT come back as and we hope he will qualify for merit aide to help us meet our budget of 40k per year.
    Its so great to hear from all of you that you think all of the schools that I mentioned seemed to be really strong in biology and premed placement.
    Thank you again.
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  • d87d87d87d87 28 replies6 threads Junior Member
    We have visited Ursinus and Muhlenburg. We are going to visit Elizabthtown and Juniata. We have also visited Scranton. Son loved Ursinus and Collegeville. Muhlenburg and Allentown were ok. He did not seem to be impressed with Scranton the city but he did like the school. Scanton and Muhlenburg may also not have as much merit aide as Ursinus.
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  • TheodenTheoden 251 replies7 threads Junior Member
    edited March 2
    @d87d87 Yes...Ursinus may have more merit than either Scranton or Muhlenberg. FWIW Juniata and Allegheny will too. Seriously, your kid would clean up at Allegheny they are very generous. And it's a fun school. My daughter will be considering most of the PA schools on the list I gave you. (She's a junior in HS). My son ended up going to a small liberal arts college in the prairies of Illinois (Knox).

    https://sites.allegheny.edu/admissions/scholarships/

    There's a reason out the way schools offer merit. ;-)

    Also keep in mind, unless he plans to go home on weekends, generally most kids spend the vast majority of their time on campus. So....Collegeville, Allentown, Meadville, Scranton..in the end isn't really going to make much of a difference.

    --Alan

    edited March 2
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  • LuckyCharms913LuckyCharms913 1095 replies15 threads Senior Member
    Scranton has some full tuition scholarships. Top stats needed, so will need his SAT to see if it’s possible. St. Joes’s also has some full tuition merit awards for top applicants. Both schools offer other good merit options, but may not quite meet your target for four years.
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  • MAmom111MAmom111 274 replies14 threads Junior Member
    edited March 2
    We visited a lot of these schools (Scranton, Muhlenburg, Dickinson, Gettysburg, and Ursinus) and my D ultimately applied to Ursinus and Gettysburg. She also applied to Susquehanna. Susquehanna was the most generous with aid and the net price was cheaper than Ursinus. We haven't heard from Gettysburg yet but are not expecting it to be as generous based on the NPC. She didn't love Scranton or Allentown and both campuses felt a bit compact to her. She is not a science major so we didn't pay too much attention to those facilities but I believe Ursinus has a new science building.
    edited March 2
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  • merc81merc81 11245 replies186 threads Senior Member
    edited March 2
    Moving from the titular schools, since your son liked the University of Scranton, he should consider it seriously, IMO. If, after a visit, he likes Juniata, it could make a good choice as well. If Dickinson might be affordable, it would add further to his choices.
    edited March 2
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  • Leigh22Leigh22 848 replies9 threads Member
    Allegheny - great merit, loved the professors. The location was a big turn off. Also, have an honors program but not well organized.
    Ursinus - great merit. Have a wonderful new science building. The vibe there is very sporty. We were very underwhelmed during accepted student day. It just wasn’t my kids thing at all.
    Gettysburg - go on the website and review merit - changes have been made and scholarships have been increased substantially. Beautiful campus, great professors and strong biology department.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 40383 replies2206 threads Super Moderator
    We looked at those schools for all three of our kids but my youngest ended up at Susquehanna, which has been a wonderful school for her. I've been very impressed with it, all around. She graduates in May, yay! :)
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  • MAmom111MAmom111 274 replies14 threads Junior Member
    @Leigh22 Can you elaborate at all on accepted students day at Ursinus and what turned you off? My D really liked the school when we visited and when she applied but it seems to be moving down her list. We are trying to decide if it’s worth attending the admitted students day or not.
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  • Leigh22Leigh22 848 replies9 threads Member
    @MAmom111 from our son’s perspective it was that the school had a definite sports vibe, more so than any other accepted student event we attended. Also, the students we encountered were kind of lackluster - nice enough, but just kind of going through the motions. It just had the feel of high school to him.
    As a parent, the big turn off was the president’s speech - he actually talked about what a big “ partying” year it was going to be because it was an anniversary year.
    Our son just didn’t feel like he would be happy there and we agreed.
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  • d87d87d87d87 28 replies6 threads Junior Member
    Thank you all again for all of your comments. I appreciate it very much.

    Will look into Gettysburg since the merit aide may have increased. Allegheny sounds excellent but think son does not want to go that far west.

    I understand about the sports concern at Ursinus but since son had similar experience in high school where his school had large emphasis on the sports teams I feel son is used to that part of school.

    I hope and think son knows he needs to work very hard at biology where ever he goes and he really liked the Ursinus biology program and the new science bulding and the support they gave. He knows he needs to keep grades and gpa up to have great chance in applying to med school.
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  • Leigh22Leigh22 848 replies9 threads Member
    @d87d87 - I have heard that Ursinus does have a lot of student support, which is a definite positive.
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  • d87d87d87d87 28 replies6 threads Junior Member
    I am very glad to hear that Ursinus has alot of student support.
    Thank you all again for all of your great input and advise.
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  • merc81merc81 11245 replies186 threads Senior Member
    edited March 6
    With respect to science buildings, Scranton's Loyola Science Center seems to be the most impressive from among your son's schools of interest.
    edited March 6
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  • RookieCollegeMomRookieCollegeMom 71 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Someone up thread mentioned a school's president. FWIW, the president at Juniata seems great - very friendly and genuine. By move-in day, we had already seen or met him (super briefly) a number of times. He was all over campus on move-in day and we chatted for a bit. Also met his wife and dogs!

    I don't think we saw any other school presidents during our search.

    I heard the Dickinson pres is a dynamo!
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  • Coun2316Coun2316 121 replies5 threads Junior Member
    If he can be convinced to consider a school outside of PA, Goucher has great merit aid - it came in at about $26k for us with their top merit scholarship (of course, D20 is leaning toward a much less generous school). They also have a great track record for med school acceptance, and the campus is not in an isolated location.
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