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USC Merit awards 2019 no logic?

jototojototo Registered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
I was told that about 42,000 applicants were considered for the 2019 USC merit awards.
One of my kids who i will call Kid#2 with a 4.6 GPA; 1560 SAT, 35 ACT, impressive community service worldwide, member of highly regarded wind ensemble etc, ect. He was not selected for this great award. Over 80 applicants from his high school were also eliminated.
Two years ago my other child who I will call Kid#1 was awarded a presidential merit award (50 % off tuition). Kid #1 had lower GPA and lower test scores, similar community service.
I would say that kid #1 may have articulated her experiences a bit better.
So what is the secret? is it luck?
If you are to be selected from 42k applicants then I would expect that if you are lucky whoever reads and evaluate your application will find you unique and deserving.
There is not a formula, otherwise they will input your numbers into a database and select the highest scores. It is clearly subjective and I am sure that kids who you may know with lower grades and lower test scores could have been preselected to interview for a merit award.
My kid #2 was eliminated from the awards interviews and kid #1 two years ago received one. I know them very well and I can say that Kid #2 has more merit I should have been selected. BUT he was not. I am sure thousands of applicants have what it takes to be given the awards but they received the same bad news.
It is so difficult to get into a good college and even the perfect grades and test scores may not get you there.
Congratulations to all the ones who were chosen, I am sure you deserve it and I hope you will treasure and be thankful for how fortunate you are. You won a jackpot!

Replies to: USC Merit awards 2019 no logic?

  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 74,424 Senior Member
    Was kid 1 a NM finalist?
  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 Registered User Posts: 1,055 Senior Member
    impressive community service worldwide,
    Might be less impressive than local community service
  • TS0104TS0104 Registered User Posts: 673 Member
    Did Kid #1 attend? I wonder if having a sibling with a large merit scholarship could actually count against #2, I guess in the interests of spreading out the merit and not doubling up to one family? Just a wild guess. I would imagine that it all changes year to year, as well. We live near a large, USC like university and the admissions from our high school in 2018 were way higher, to kids with lower stats, than they were to class of 2016.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,712 Forum Champion
    edited January 27
    One of my kids who i will call Kid#2 with a 4.6 GPA; 1560 SAT, 35 ACT, impressive community service worldwide, member of highly regarded wind ensemble etc, ect. He was not selected for this great award.

    I think USC is using their merit to poach kids who they think might also have Ivy, Stanford or MIT acceptances. They may also be using their merit to get the top URMs....that they also think are getting other fab acceptances.

    My friend’s daughter was Val of her class, 35 ACT, blah blah blah....and was offered NOTHING from USC. She did get into MIT, so went there.


    Just because we can’t figure out the logic, doesn’t mean that logic doesn’t exist. USC knows what it wants. Probably wants top students from every state. Probably wants more URMs.
  • SincererLoveSincererLove Registered User Posts: 684 Member
    USC admission is not a given, let alone merit scholarship. D17 got admitted to MIT, U Chicago (EA), Duke (Robertson finalist), but was deferred to spring semester at USC, and given 2nd choice of major.
  • RiversiderRiversider Registered User Posts: 280 Junior Member
    edited January 27
    USC doesn’t have a secret formula so once you are qualified enough, luck and timing play a role. If you look at their statistics and comments of past applicants, having National Merit can play for or against you. They limit NMS numbers to suit their available funding. Additionally, your odds of getting into other good schools and lowering USC’s acceptance yield can make you less appealing. Number and quality of applicants from your high school matters too, as well as percentage of enrollment to USC. If historically 50% are non serious applicants diversifying their odds, it plays against you.
  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids Forum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Posts: 84,712 Forum Champion
    And don’t believe what admissions tells you either. When my nephew applied (legacy), the family was told that he’d likely get a merit scholarship....so they happily awaited the big red acceptance envelope.....that never came. Rejected!
  • mamommamom Registered User Posts: 3,599 Senior Member
    I think every year is a new slate. New applicants, different stats, ECs, etc. It is a crap shoot.
  • rgosulargosula Registered User Posts: 638 Member
    Instead of thinking unlucky on #2, think of how lucky on #1.
  • jototojototo Registered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    edited February 7
    Kid #1=2 received a Presidential Merit Award:50% Tuition for 4 years. Kid #2 is a junior in 2019.
    Kid #1 with much more impressive credentials than kid#1 did not get preselected for the interviews in order to receive a merit scholarship. Kid #1 is awaiting for regular admission.
    It will be a nail biter because some classmates from last year with similar or even more impressive credential were not given admission to USC.
    We love USC. A fantastic place! but we are realistic that it may end up being UC Santa Barbara or Davis.
    UCLA and Berkeley are just another lottery. A 4.6 GPA and near perfect SAT and ACT are not guaranteed of admission to most of the big name schools. Private and Public.
  • jototojototo Registered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    For sure, we count our blessing for all USC have done for us. We love USC and have been drinking the kool aid. big time. What's not to like! Fight on!
  • jototojototo Registered User Posts: 27 Junior Member
    In regards to your note about international community service.
    The more I see the poverty and inequality within a few miles of our idyllic Northern CA location. The more I realize that we need to take care of our own. We realized that we have many pockets that look worse than third world Countries.
    Also, the best border security is having prosperous neighbors so we need to to something to help!
  • gungabluegungablue Registered User Posts: 102 Junior Member
    These awards are indeed capricious. It's hard to know what makes one kid end up being favored when so many are not but seem equally impressive. I suspect there is an element of luck as well. Best of luck to everyone interviewing for scholarships in the next two weeks. Some kids will win the jackpot!
  • SincererLoveSincererLove Registered User Posts: 684 Member
    And the selection committee can be totally wrong. D and I were in GT Stamps interview trip and they had this parent talking about his D’s experience. He said his D and her boyfriend met at the Stamps interview trip and her D got the scholarship. Then he went on and told us how his D had to retake a class because of a F (her scholarship was of course suspended at least for a while). Meanwhile, her BF did so much better in grades and got a great job which paid higher than his mid career salary. He joked that GT picked the wrong Stamps winner in his D’s case.

    I think GT made a wrong decision in my D’s case too. Lol. But really the selection committee everywhere wants a box of chocolates. They want kids covering all regions of the country and abroad, all majors, all interests, all ECs, all races, etc. it is not you, it is them ;)
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