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Financial Aid Assessment, College Recommendations Needed

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Replies to: Financial Aid Assessment, College Recommendations Needed

  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29435 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It is not necessarily the best strategy to go for full need met school, though OP is absolutely going this route through QB. She’ll have 12 schools going this route but all but UCh uses PROFILE , which may be an issue since her father owns a business. Her mother’s and her income are low enough, it should not make difference. But the business....

    The reason full need schools not the best option is that they define the need and there is a chance that definition may not be favorable to OP. The other reason is that they are highly selective and the chances of her getting accepted are small. She has to get accepted AND get enough money. Two hurdles. Yes, she should try, because a generous aid package from one of these schools is the optimal outcome for her

    But for any and all applicants, there should be a failsafe school and that would be one with guaranteed merit based on test scores and grades. Like UAlabama. After that are schools merit awards with high likelihood’s of the OP getting because of her stats being head and shoulders over most all of the applicants and the schools having full ride awards to give out.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41895 replies451 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 18
    ^Actually, QB guarantees a full ride to those who match or apply through them.
    In addition, the schools on this list are very broad in the definition of "lower income" ie;, families that make up to 75K (above US average!) are considered, so OP should be in the clear because the business isn't very profitable even without deductions. Obviously the way each college will consider the business will vary and may impact applications without QB.
    BTW working to help pay for household expenses and helping family is seen as a positive, not a negative.
    A double strategy (need based and merit) would be the smartest, although it requires a lot of work. Some merit scholarships would ensure financial safeties then need based would work.
    edited July 18
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29435 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 18
    QB certainly does not guarantee a full ride to all who match or apply through them. Absolutely not. There are about 1000 kids who got Matches last year and the full scholarship that does go with Matches. Anyone else gets financial aid as the college determines need.

    Also you have to be a finalist; I believe 2000 were Finalists, to get the free applications to listed QB schools, if not matched.

    I’m all for any and all students who can maybe possibly qualify for QB to apply. It’s a great program that greatly enhances chances of getting into a top school with good financial aid, and a shot at a full ride award. But it is not guaranteed. You apply, and you take your chances. OP absolutely apply but she should have other options as well, because the chances are far greater that she will NOT get matched or become a Finalist.
    edited July 18
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2314 replies30 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 18
    Let's look at the QB numbers, so OP knows the deal. Last year there were 6,507 finalists (16,248 applicants), which is a 40% rate. 79% of the finalists qualified for free lunch. https://www.questbridge.org/high-school-students/national-college-match/finalist-profile

    Of the 6,507 finalists, 1,044 matched ED/SCEA/REA/EA and about 2,000 were accepted RD....so about 46% of finalists were accepted across all rounds via the QB application. So it's absolutely worth the OP spending time on the QB process and app. https://www.questbridge.org/high-school-students/national-college-match/opportunities

    All QB schools do meet full need (as defined by them of course) unlike Posse, where not all partner schools meet full need.
    edited July 18
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41895 replies451 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 18
    Oh yes, QB match numbers are incredibly selective. But they DO get a full ride. And then just being a finalist gives students a MUCH greater chance of getting into the member schools (from 1 in 20 to 1 in 5, roughly - still means the majority of applicants don't get in but it's better than would be otherwise. If just for the financial aid at these colleges even outside of QB, it's worth it.)
    The full ride promise was even what was difficult when QB was "built" because the colleges didn't want to guarantee a full ride and didn't want to guarantee it for 4 years, so the organization had to explain why it was necessary, it was a big deal and a big sticking point.
    Considering how generous most QB member colleges are wrt financial aid, it'd mean a full ride (sometimes full ride plus as they include expenses such as transportation, books, and personal expenses including winter clothing in the COA they cover; it could be with or without the federal loans, since most QB members either don't package loans or don't for incomes below x, but some do).
    Obviously, it'd be foolish to bank everything on QB, but I'm sure Kelsey has done the math and understands it. She needs to try *and* have other plans.

    @KelseyM : if you qualify for free lunch (which you should) then 1° take the opportunity to save money 2° make sure your GC knows it 3° it means you get free testing and free applications even outside of QB (on Commonapp and at some public universities). However as long as you *qualify* for it, even if you don't take it, you qualify for the free testing and the no-fee applications; you just have to have your GC check a box for you and NACAC has a document you can also print and bring and have your GC sign for non CommonApp universities.
    edited July 18
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  • KelseyMKelseyM 159 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited July 18
    Alright, we are going to see if we qualify for the lunch thing. I had free lunch as a kid in elementary, so maybe it will still be true.
    How exactly should I save money and what should I save it for? Also, as you may know, there are certain websites which allow you to register and apply for all different kinds of scholarships, like Niche and CollegeXpress. I've been getting a lot of emails from them about easy to apply for scholarships. Should I take advantage of these opportunities and try to get some money or would it hurt my financial situation when applying on the FAFSA or PROFILE?
    Also, since we're speaking of QuestBridge, is there anyone on here who would like to help me polish my essays? I finished a short response last night and have a few brief explanations for the application and financial sections and was needing review to see if what I said was appropriate or necessary. I can also post in a separate thread to ask if needed.
    It seems that UTK's application for 2020 students doesn't open until later. I'll look at University of Alabama and UT Dallas when I can. I appreciate it!
    edited July 18
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 78291 replies691 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    MYOS1634 wrote:
    Note: "work study" is a federal program which helps colleges hire college students part time. It gives students with a "work study award" priority for some positions. You don't get the money upfront, you have to find a job yourself and then receive a pay check twice a month for the hours you actually did.

    Basically, it subsidizes what the employer pays the student, so that the employer has an incentive to hire work-study students over others (but may also limit hours to the number that would use up that student employee's work-study subsidy). How much that matters depends on how competitive the on-campus job market is.
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41895 replies451 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    To clarify what I meant by save money : if you qualify for free/reduced lunch, take the opportunity of eating for free/at a reduced price so that you can save that money for something else. ;)
    Not much but everything helps.

    These "easy" scholarships on the other hand aren't really going to help.
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  • brantlybrantly 3942 replies69 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    KelseyM wrote:
    I can't tell if these prices are necessarily good in return for the education I'll get.
    Hi Kelsey. You have excellent credentials, and your home state of TN should be an advantage at many schools. But it seems to me that the money is the limiting factor. You can't go to college at all without a full or nearly full ride. Don't worry so much about the "value" of the education at this point. You are only going to apply to excellent schools. When the acceptances roll in, THEN you can compare the colleges that give you the best financial packages.
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  • KelseyMKelseyM 159 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited July 19
    Thank you for the optimism, brantly. I am doing what I can to have good chances. This stuff can be intimidating.
    I had a question for you all: If I apply EA to these safeties, is it also binding? Or am I missing something about their admissions? Should I wait to apply there if you have the option to apply ED? (I can't apply to UTK yet, 2020 freshman cannot be selected on the app; am currently working on a UA application, but there is a fee of $40 they talked about prior that I haven't encountered yet at the end presumably). I will apply to other safeties.
    I did say and will say again that Lee University grants automatic full 4 year rides to people with ACT scores of... somewhere around 30 and above, I think. The only thing is that it's strongly oriented towards music and religious studies. However, my lab supervisor did tell me of a young man who pursued their science undergrad programs and got into grad school at Emory. She noted connections with him and Yale, but I wasn't sure how and she didn't elaborate.
    edited July 19
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  • KelseyMKelseyM 159 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited July 19
    I don't know if I emphasized my intended major in biochemistry/biology or chemistry at schools not offering biochemistry majors and that I want research heavy schools. I've been looking at UAT... does it really offer something like this for students like me? Yes, it's a safety, but I would like some good science programs wherever I go, mostly in biology and chemistry. U'Bama isn't popular in the sciences, as numerous sources read. Nor is UCincinnati. Maybe that might give you some guidance if any of you decide to recommend some more safeties. I am in the middle of a U'Bama app, though. I am unsure if I should continue with it. I will also have to look at UT Dallas and Berea and what they offer me as a science student. From the surface level glance in my college review books, both of these aren't bad.
    I am attending UTK's "A Day at the Lab" next Friday, which involves a personal invitation to "high achieving students" to attend the Oak Ridge Laboratory, which is of fair interest. For a safety, it's got some merit to it that I can get behind.
    MYOS, since you've seen the kind of research I do on social atmospheres at selective colleges, do you think it's worth the hassle to do the same research for safety schools, or should I toss my research for fit aside and focus solely on its merit/financial aid opportunities?
    edited July 19
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29435 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Look at QB rules. If you are going for a match which has a that full scholarship, there are rules against applying early to any college other than rolling admissions or special programs that require an early app.

    Early Action does not require an early commitment. Early Decision does. When you apply ED, you sign a statement saying that you will go to that school if accepted and if the financial aid makes it doable. There are types of Early Decisions and Early Action. QB Match is ED and exclusive other than above mentioned exceptions. EA can be restricted in that it does not allow any other Early Action or Early Decision applications to go out when you apply to such a school

    If you are doing QB Match, make sure you know there rules well

    Lee University is a gem of a local school in that it treats local good students very well. We have a few of those around here too, and kids who have gone to them have done well. Many commuted and got free or discounted tuition at such schools. You absolutely should consider an application to Lee
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 41895 replies451 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I'm not sure I'd recommend Lee considering your stats and thus other opportunities; they're primarily faith-oriented and their faculty is on a 4-3 schedule or even 4-4 meaning very little research is conducted there. I guess you could apply but UTK Scholars would be a hundred times better in terms of resources and opportunities. UTK Scholars with Honors dorm or substance free dorm would be 100% fine for you in terms of fit.
    EA is NOT binding, nor is rolling. You can apply to colleges Rolling Admissions and Early Admissions. However you can't apply ED and QB - obviously apply through QB since it's like 12 ED shots.
    Excellent about UTK's "Day at the lab" invitation.
    What do you call "UAT"?
    'Bama Tuscaloosa and Huntsville are both strong in the sciences, as is UT Dallas. UCincinnati has specific scholarship programs and it's in a city, that's why I mentioned it.
    Safeties need to share one or more features with your favorites colleges. In your case, I imagine safeties (beside being 100% affordable) would need to offer strong opportunities for research in the sciences and perhaps be near/in a city. What do you think? Basically your safety can't include "deal breakers" for you and must include at last one thing you like about it.
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  • KelseyMKelseyM 159 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited July 19
    UAT was University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, sorry. I didn't know how to abbreviate it. I completed the Undergraduate Admissions app.... it doesn't require any essays, any lists of extracurriculars OR any stats. I didn't submit it because I was unsure, but it's in my bookmarks. Is that weird to you? Why wouldn't it ask for any of that?
    And you were spot on with the features I care most about for a safety, by the way. Science strong, city or close to one. I would much rather sacrifice the city location than a science education. Strong science/research is my top priority when considering any college. (Financial aid of course is tied with it) My research with LACs and understanding their advantages has motivated me to look even further ahead, to graduate school, and undergraduate schools that will give me a good shot at getting in a good graduate school.
    I mean, Lee isn't my favorite school or anything. It's got a fairly nice campus with a good bit of funding and nice professors, but my supervisor only showed me one research project they were doing there, which was the effects of a certain oil on zebra fish and its application to humans. That's interesting and all, but their REAL influence is in their religious trips to underdeveloped countries. A lot of pre-med students do that to administer products and care. I like that idea, but I'm not much of a pre-med person, moreso a research. I will keep Lee under my eye though, but that is a last resort. UTK has my priority.
    I'll read those rules on QB again.
    So I should keep my eye out for safeties with Early Action as their Early option, right? Shut it down if it has ED, right? UTK has EA, I think. Like I said, application isn't open (that's annoying). I'll work on the UT Dallas and Huntsville applications for now, then Berea and Cincinnati.
    If any college I apply to asks for my intended major that does NOT have a biochemistry major, which do you think would be better for a research position - biology or chemistry? I like biology more than chemistry myself, but was unsure. My chemistry teacher said at one point that chemistry would be the better choice, if not biochemistry first.
    edited July 19
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  • thumper1thumper1 74836 replies3280 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 19
    alabama isn't popular in the sciences, as numerous sources read

    Where did you read this @KelseyM ?

    The Alabama application IS very short...just as you noted...nothing funny about it at all. It is as you stated. But check where the stats go! Submit that...and also submit the scholarship application (which will take you all of 10 minutes to complete). You will hear from them very soon @mom2collegekids , right?

    I’m guessing the stats go on your scholarship application...but check again the admissions application just to make sure. They award their guaranteed merit aid based on stats...so it goes somewhere. @mom2collegekids can clarify where.
    edited July 19
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  • GTAustinGTAustin 1182 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    UTD does have a strong research program for undergraduates. My daughter's roommate is majoring in biology and has done research since her freshman year. She will publish in her senior year with her name first. They also have the Clark Research program that provides research opportunities for incoming freshman.
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  • GTAustinGTAustin 1182 replies9 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    BTW, if you do get accepted in the Clark Research program, costs are covered. There is no cost for the program and room and board at the university is covered. They also offer a $500 stipend.
    honors.utdallas.edu/clark-summer-research-program
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  • brantlybrantly 3942 replies69 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 19
    My advice: Keep it simple. There are four buckets of criteria for you: financial, science, social (conservative), and geography (urban or near-urban).

    Getting the full ride (or close to it) will be THE ONE factor in whether and where you can go to college. The rest of the criteria are meaningless if your education is not funded.

    First, apply through QB. For this group of colleges, the financial aspect is taken care of if you match. So you are freed up from having to research that piece of it. For your QB list, make sure each college, most importantly, has the science opportunities you want. Then consider social and geography.

    Second, apply to a variety of different types of schools outside of QB that a) have strong science program with good research opportunities, and b) have the potential to give you the financial aid or merit aid you need.

    I know you prefer urban, very conservative, non-partying, etc. But frankly, those have to be secondary to criteria A and B. A college that meets your location and social criteria is of no use to you if it does not fund your education. After getting acceptances and financial packages (if you don't match with QB), THEN pick the one that suits you best from among the ones that give the best financial packages.
    edited July 19
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29435 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you match with QB, you are done. Full ride, first choice school. But that is a lottery ticket. With zero EFC and your excellent stats , less of one than for others, but a lottery ticket, nonetheless

    Then you apply to the schools on your QB list. I believe you get to file. free applications. ( always check any info anyone gives you with most current, primary sources) Most all of those schools are wonderful schools that give excellent financial aid packages, and hopefully you get at least one acceptance there that is affordable.
    If you do, that’s great

    Then you have Lee University, Alabama UT-Dallas, any of the schools with guaranteed merit based on stats and you know you’ll be able to afford them. If it comes down to a free or nearly free ride to these schools, vs unaffordable packages, the choice is clear.

    Yes, it’s very difficult to consider leaving home for a school one knows nothing about. Even though Emory might be further away and just as new to you as UA-H or any of the Bama schools, you can pick up any number of college guides and read about Emory. There is a familiarity to it due to name recognition and prestige factor to offset the strangeness and distance. Same with UT-Dallas. You seem very aware of what Lee U has to offer and are very familiar with that school

    Just a personal opinion here. I’ve been reading a lot about UT-Dallas and keeping track of it for some years. It’s been on my “schools to watch “ list for a while in terms of excellent quality and value that a lot of the ratings just have not caught yet. It’s possible that they do never catch some of these hidden gems overshadowed by state universities with much higher name recognition. I look at UBuffalo, and UMBC (Maryland) as other examples of such schools. If brave enough to venture from your comfort zone, there is a lot out there. @mom2collegekids has had extensive experience with the Alabama schools and can give you first hand info on them. I’m personally discussing UT-Dallas with my youngest.
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  • KelseyMKelseyM 159 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited July 19
    I'm willing to venture out of my comfort zone in all aspects if it means getting a great education. That's what I value most.
    I have both UTDallas and UBama Tuscaloosa on the ready for submission. I look over them to refine areas. Will be submitting soon. Where should I go next other than UTK (not open)?
    I was planning options for plan B if I don't become a finalist as well. I know I can only apply ED to one college, but is it worth applying ED to somewhere like Vanderbilt or Rice (that doesn't increase admission chance by a lot) than somewhere like Haverford? Should I ensure the highest chance of admission possible among my QB choices by choosing one I like that has a good ED acceptance rate? Or, would that be dangerous given my financial situation, since it would bind me to that school and I would be in the dark on how they would define my need? Just a thought, wanted to see what you guys thought.

    On a lowkey level of thinking... I wonder where the colleges get funding for generous grants. I wonder why some choose to have a tight grip on their money compared those who let it flow freely throughout campus...
    edited July 19
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