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GUEST STUDENT OF THE WEEK: ski_racer, a high-achiever in high school, was rejected by some of the elite schools she applied to. This rejection was the best thing that happened to her as she got to choose her own path. Learn how she fell in love with her safety school, ASK HER ANYTHING!
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Complicated hx and long list of schools

bloodkingbloodking 15 replies4 threads Junior Member
I am looking for confirmation that DD is on the right track in applying to the below listed schools or help in removing (or adding?) potential schools. She is interested in becoming a physician and majoring in environmental health, environmental science/studies, or public health.

She applied last year (SAT was then 1280) and was accepted at U of Rochester, Fordham, Dickinson, St. Lawrence, Beloit and a few other similar LACs. She was deferred at Tulane and then not accepted. She really liked U of Rochester but due to an error on our part she was not considered for merit or need based aid and we could not afford for her to attend at full cost. She didn't love any of the LACs she applied to and later visited and decided to take a gap year and reapply.

During her gap year she raised her SATs, worked to raise money for her travels and is now traveling and working her way through Iceland, Japan, Morocco and Europe. She will be home in Jan and will be visiting schools during this time.

Financially, we are upper middle class and our EFC (based on the FAFSA) is 32k. That is about on target for what we can afford given we have four kids. However, our experience from last year was that schools varied considerably in their calculations of what we can contribute. I have a DS in college currently (local state school) and twins who are juniors, so our financial situation will also be changing while DD is in school. Getting some merit aid will help a lot. Last year, the LACs offered her 20-30k in merit awards leaving the cost at about 25-35k.

That brings us to now. She is definitely casting a wide net based on not knowing what schools will offer financially and not having been able to visit yet (except U of Rochester, Tulane, Reed). If we can cut some of these schools from the list (too many reaches?), it will probably help her to focus her efforts. Or are there some obvious good fits she may have over looked?

Her info:
- graduated from New Mexico public high school
- white female

- 1390 SAT (720 English, 670 Math, 6/6/6 Essay)
- Unweighted GPA: 3.93 / weighted: 4.533
- 20/406 or top 5% of graduating class
- took mostly honors and AP courses (8)
- strong letters

Won National Orchestra Director's Choice Award
Lettered 5 times in music
President of HS orchestra
Part of city-wide and HS orchestras for four years
Participated in a two-year HS pre-med program that included a shadowing a perinatologist for 150 hrs.
Attended UU Social Justice College HS programs in Boston (Environmental Social Justice) and New Orleans (Racial Social Justice)
Delegate to New Mexico Youth Alliance (youth across state working on social justice issues)
National Honor Society
Served in HS senate
Summer camp counselor for 3 yrs

Current list of schools:
American University
Case Western
College of Wooster
Mount Holyoke
Santa Clara
University of Rochester
15 replies
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Replies to: Complicated hx and long list of schools

  • OttermaOtterma 1505 replies30 threads Senior Member
    Her GPA is very good, her ECs are solid, and she seems like a really interesting young lady. Her SAT is low for Colby and Grinnell (the two schools on the list that I know best) but she sounds like she'd be a great fit for either. She may also get a boost for geographic diversity so while they're both reaches I think they're worth keeping. The problem is that I don't think Colby gives merit aid and I suspect her SAT would keep her from getting significant awards from Grinnell. Have you run the Net Price Calculators for schools on the list to see what your expected costs will be?

    Also, what was it about the LACs last year that did not appeal to her? That might help edit this year's list.
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  • MomOutWestMomOutWest 223 replies7 threads Junior Member
    edited December 2017
    "She really liked U of Rochester but due to an error on our part she was not considered for merit or need based aid and we could not afford for her to attend at full cost."

    Aren't students considered automatically for merit aid on application a UofR? If not, can you explain why your D wasn't considered - my daughter is just finishing up an UofR application, and I didn't think she had to do anything extra to be considered for merit... would love to know if that's not the case!

    UVM has some OOS merit. And good pre-health profession advising, it sounds like...
    edited December 2017
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  • bloodkingbloodking 15 replies4 threads Junior Member
    At the time, we didn't think we qualified for any need-based aid so when they send her emails saying she needed to submit a FASFA she ignored it and this triggered a delay in them offering her admission. Once we figured out the problem, we submitted a FASFA and they admitted her but it was then late in the process.
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  • bloodkingbloodking 15 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @Otterma - Beloit was recruiting her pretty heavily and we visited twice. It was a combination of it feeling really small and remote, as well as a feeling that it would not be as rigorous as she wanted. She was also worried about insufficient pre-health advising. I think her reaction to St. Lawrence was similar. She was accepted at Dickinson and liked it more but they didn't offer her any merit aid. They later explained when we visited that they did this because they didn't believe she was actually serious about coming. Lesson learned about the importance of showing interest.
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  • bloodkingbloodking 15 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @Otterma - concerning the NPC, they were all about the same and within something we could afford except for Santa Clara, which was a lot more. I just worry about how accurate the NPC is as it has varied a lot from the actual offers we received last year.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 24948 replies20 threads Senior Member
    If several of the NPCs were 'off' for you, it may be that you are entering some information incorrectly (salary, retirement contributions, extra property) or there is an asset you have that isn't common so the NPCs don't ask about it but it comes out in the CSS. That probably won't change this year.

    Why not the UNM or any of the western states public schools? Many have very good environmental programs.

    You'll have 3 children in college at the same time, but if your EFC is $32k with 2 in college, it will only go to about $20k with 3 in college. That could help at some schools, but doesn't change any federal aid.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30834 replies198 threads Senior Member
    Where is her flat-out affordable academic safety? I don't see anything like that on this list. I don't think she's going to want a second gap year. She needs at least one place on her list that she is guaranteed admission to and that she can afford to attend if all else goes wrong in this application cycle.
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  • bloodkingbloodking 15 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @happymomof1 - College of Wooster and Lawrence were what we were thinking of as her guaranteed admission that we can afford. They were both 10k less than others on the NPC. She could always attend UNM but students are only eligible for scholarships at NM state schools if they go straight after college - no gap year.
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  • happymomof1happymomof1 30834 replies198 threads Senior Member
    Those two may be reasonably safe if no one with stats like hers from her high achool has ever been rejected. I like to see one or two true safeties on a student's list that guarantee admissions for students with that one's stats. If UNM is an auto admit for her grades and test scores, and it's in your budget, then it would be the true safety.
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  • bloodkingbloodking 15 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @twoinanddone - I will read up on the CSS more and try to get a better gage on what our financial situation means for aid.

    She never really wanted to attend a large public school and as an alum of such a school, I didn’t want that for her either. I hope she ends up at a place like Clark or Reed. We have played with the idea of applying to Colorado State but it wouldn’t really be “cheap” even as a WUE school. Maybe with considering though.
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  • VeryapparentVeryapparent 891 replies16 threads Member
    I would add in St Olaf. If it isn't too late she could try for a music scholarship. Possibly Gettysburg and Whitman (also music scholarship).
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  • bloodkingbloodking 15 replies4 threads Junior Member
    @twoinanddone - I wanted to thank you for suggesting that something might be amiss with how we were completing the NPC. It turned out I was misunderstanding how to handle business income compared to salary (we have both). Understanding my mistake and correcting it allowed us to see early that we would not get as much need aid as we thought. While disappointing, I would rather know now than later. It helped DD adjust where she was allying to since we will require merit aid.
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  • Jugulator20Jugulator20 1568 replies19 threads Senior Member
    If your D wants to be an MD, understand that med schools are crazy expensive and typically paid for by loans which have to be repaid. It’s an important consideration for any MD hopeful to try to graduate from college with as little debt, if any, as possible. I don’t know D’s and your concerns about a large public school, but I’d guess UNM has the resources and opportunities that D needs to develop a competitive med school app and due to cost should be a top choice.

    Strong GPAs are important to any MD hopeful. Maybe someone else could comment, but I think I read somewhere that Reed is well known for grade deflation.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6648 replies2 threads Senior Member
    "UVM has some OOS merit. And good pre-health profession advising"

    UVM has a good premed program. It does have merit awards for out of state students. It is unlikely that they will get enough merit aid to get the cost under $40k/year for the total cost of attendance. Burlington VT is a very nice small city.

    I wondered about UNM also, but I know nothing about the cost or financial aid there. Generally the list in the original post looks pretty good to me.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83791 replies743 threads Senior Member
    UNM medical school tuition for New Mexico residents is a relative bargain among medical schools at $19,713 per year:
    Most medical schools are substantially more expensive to the student (private medical schools typically have tuition around $50,000 per year). Out-of-state public medical schools are also expensive, and many admit few or no out-of-state applicants anyway.

    If all other things are equal, attending a college close to UNM may allow more convenient access to UNM medical school interviews. However, closeness to UNM may mean that it is less convenient to travel to other medical school interviews.
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