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Son's Merit Scholarship OOS chances - Class of '19 (probable NMF)


Replies to: Son's Merit Scholarship OOS chances - Class of '19 (probable NMF)

  • LOUKYDADLOUKYDAD Registered User Posts: 785 Member
    edited March 7
    @ksmom48 as far as interviews go, he may surprise you and it may depend on format.

    DS went into Brown Fellows interview weekend at Louisville leaning toward UK, having good automatic merit at both schools due to NMF status. I was wondering if he would even put any effort into the interview. He isn't a wallflower but isn't extroverted either. It turned out to be a life changing experience. It was a series of eight one hour sessions over two day period. They were in groups of four to six kids and it was a group discussion on different topics. It seemed they wanted to see who was articulate and could add something to an intellectual discussion with peers and a faculty member. He ended up really enjoying the experience. He loved the kids he met and left there really wanting to be a part of the program. A week later and after the good news he was accepted, he is now on a whole different path.

    Advice on strategy above from mom2aphysicsgeek, on how to prioritize schools and opportunities, was very good I think. DS decided he wanted to stay close to home and therefore only applied to 4 schools (U of L, U of K, Bama and Centre), and really only finished and focused on two (U of L and U of K), which made things easier. It was still a fair amount of work on applications between the honors colleges and scholarship applications. Having a strategy like she suggests is a good idea.
  • ksmom48ksmom48 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Loukydad . . .that is good advice from you and mom2aphysicsgeek. You are correct that he may do better in small group interviews of that nature. I didn't realize they were like that. He does well in that type of setting. If they were all one on one - who knows. But he's going to have to get over it at the level of academics he wants. We keep telling him that there are ALOT of smart kids with impressive grades, test scores etc. and he'll be in a whole different ball game than high schools at home.
  • ksmom48ksmom48 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Anyone know anything about OU? His college counselor said they have large number of NMF and maybe pushed it because it's close to home. Thinking we'll schedule tours at Alabama, UK and U. of South Carolina. And then OU.
  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,300 Senior Member
    We visited OU, UK, and UAH. We liked all 3, but they were eliminated for different reasons.

    OU was the farthest from home for us and having grown up in 2 main environments, coastal and mtn, the lack of trees and hills made dd feel trapped. Silly reason, I know, but having been there with her, I did understand what she was describing. This dd also has a lot of health issues, so the distance was a "lowering factor" for me. But the school itself and what is offered is great. No negatives at all.

    UK was more like "home." If she hadn't gotten affordable options that fit her long term goals better, she would have chosen UK. The dept wasn't the best fit, though. (Like I said earlier, for us dept visits have really mattered.)

    UAH was her absolute favorite in terms of campuses. She loved it, but one dept came right out and told her not to attend bc they didn't have anything to offer her. (She graduated from high school at very high levels already achieved for a couple if her desired majors.) We appreciated the honesty. The school definitely left nothing but favorable impressions. Definitely worth looking into.

    Ds loves Bama. Dd didn't. She said it felt too big. USC is as big, but I also agree that its lay out does create a different feel. USC just felt like home her compared to the others. (She loves the live oaks, azaleas, the horse shoe, etc.) For her, of the schools we could afford, USC's programs were the best fit.
  • Twoin18Twoin18 Registered User Posts: 863 Member
    D18 really liked OU's campus. However she'll probably go to Utah, as she's not an NMF but Utah still offered her a full tuition scholarship based on her stats (4.0 UW/35 ACT), and she's also interviewing for their full ride (Eccles) scholarship (of which there are 30 per year). Utah doesn't get mentioned much on CC (probably because its mostly in-state students) but has a great location and facilities (particularly the luxurious new Honors College dorms). Its also easy to get in-state tuition after 1 year if you don't get a large scholarship.
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,350 Senior Member
    Be aware that being a NMF does not mean getting any money from that. Less than half of NMF's get scholarship money through that program. Most NMSF's can go on to be NMF's. When the time comes it will be important to decide which school to list as first choice. btw- as I learned eons ago, just because a school gives many NM scholarships it does not mean an OOS student will be competitive. Research is necessary- why you are here on CC.
  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia Registered User Posts: 3,060 Senior Member
    edited March 7
    @ksmom48 National Merit gets full ride at University of New Mexico and high stats can get you anywhere from in-state tuition to full tuition to full ride. Check out @DiotimaDM 's informative posts about UNM. Her NMF son will attend.

    Arizona State U used to offer automatically either full tuition or full ride (can't remember which) for National Merit. Now their awards system is a bit more opaque but I know OOS students with strong stats that attend at very little cost. Barrett Honors College is highly rated.

    UT-Dallas - a classmate of my daughter's got full tuition with ACT 33 and strong GPA and has found a lot of opportunity there. Also has an Honors Program.

    Lots of direct relatively low cost flights in and out of Dallas and Phoenix from all over the country. Albuquerque non-stops are somewhat more limited.

    Good luck!
  • MnacttutorMnacttutor Registered User Posts: 74 Junior Member
    edited March 7
    My daughter cast the merit net wide - 7 schools with one being her NMF school. Of the 7 she applied to - 5 were out of state public universities, one her home state flagship, and one mid sized private that impressed her.

    She ended up with at least a full-tuition scholarship at all but 2 schools (which offered her scholarships to bring it below their OOS costs but not quite full tuition) based on GPA 4.0UW and 35 ACT score. She is also a NMF. She was invited to three of the schools' most competitive full ride or full ride plus scholarship interviews. In the end she turned down all the scholarship interviews and pulled out of the process to go to her first choice which was her NMF school.

    When deciding what schools to apply to we started with a list of about 40 schools that were strong in her major and offered at least a full tuition merit only scholarship. She then emailed the department she was interested in a list of 10 targeted questions and eliminated some schools based on that. She also researched (and I helped with this) how many spots there were and how competitive she would likely be for the top level scholarship and eliminated a few based on the odds. We started visiting schools and getting feel for them and the "type" of school they were. If NMF is even a possibility I would ALWAYS organize tours through their NMF office as the visits were so much nicer. For her the department visit almost always made or broke a school. It was the most important factor in a visit, second was spending a few hours in the student union and simply walking around campus talking to students.

    We decided she could apply to 10 schools, in the end she only chose 7 because the applications and essay writing for each competitive scholarship is VERY time consuming and you want to make sure you did a good job on it. In the end I think she probably could have applied to just 4. Her top three and the state flagship as her safety. Especially since the 4 would have included an in-state safety and a NMF safety. The other two schools that offered her their full-ride scholarship interview and ended up her 2nd and 3rd choice (were in her top 3 from the first list). I strongly encouraged her to apply to one (the other full-ride offer) so she had a smaller school since all the rest were very large and the application process was free and it required no essay - so very little work on her part.

    I would really recommend researching your odds for the scholarships and how many are given BEFORE deciding to apply. Then throw your hat in the ring but realize there are often a lot of extra essay and application and interview requirements and many involved unpaid travel.

    Start EARLY this summer as many of the application deadlines were the same time and early October - and some are rolling admission starting in the summer and they definitely advantage the early applications. My dd had scholarship offers as early as the second week of September. But then realize a second wave of applications is coming for the scholarships which will also have similar deadlines in November or December.

    Good luck and feel free to ask questions!

  • 3goldensmom3goldensmom Registered User Posts: 28 Junior Member
    Merit outside of the common NMF schools is likely to be competitive, and as LOUKYDAD said - application fatigue is real. Each honors college and competitive merit scholarship can require an essay (or more) that is different enough to require new effort to at least tweak an existing essay. On your list... I have not heard great merit coming from Purdue for OOS students. Miami OH (if that's the Miami you mean) is not guaranteed like it used to be but still generous. South Carolina Honors gets high praise but the top scholarship requires jumping through hoops. Definitely do a little investigating before you plan a big trip.
  • ksmom48ksmom48 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Mnactutor: Are u an ACT tutor? We were told we should get him a tutor to try and get a 35 or does it not matter when you're at a 34?

    So for early applications in late summer did you list possible NMSF based on last year's score? We won't know until Sept? I assume NMF offices organize tours now even though we don't know yet if he'll make it or miss by a point?

    This is how green we are to this: do kids have one standard essay for university and one for honors college and tweak them accordingly? Or are topics unique to each university requiring an original?
  • MnacttutorMnacttutor Registered User Posts: 74 Junior Member
    @ksmom48 Yes I am an ACT tutor. I think for admission there is little difference between a 34 and a 35, except at some of the "roll the dice odds schools" However, for merit scholarship, I think the point can make a difference. Though I am not sure I believe a 35 to 36 is worth it as you are just as likely to go down. There were some schools that told us it might be worth it to retake a 35 to a 36 - my daughter chose not to and she still got the invite to their most competitive scholarship. But she was (like everyone) much more than just her scores. I would also say tutoring would depend on what the subject breakdown was and where you think you can get the points and if your son is willing to do the work.

    For the scenario I listed above my daughter ended up writing probably 10 unique essays. She could use some material but never a full paragraph and everything ended up tweaked and almost completely rewritten. She did end up with about 4 themes but they got rewritten differently for each essay. What she could reuse was the common app extracurricular list and descriptions of activities. I would start a word doc for each school application. We also hired a writing tutor - not a college essay tutor and it was worth every penny. We went with writing rather than college specific because we wanted it in her voice, not packaged in any way - and checked for grammar.

    She did not list NMSF until she was named. We did however mention it when scheduling tours. Some asked what her selection score was and once hearing it were happy to organize a tour as they knew it would be likely or a bubble score depending on your state.

  • HappyDad2HappyDad2 Registered User Posts: 59 Junior Member
    OU has a lot of NMFs but that is lilly changing. They dramatically reduced their NMF oos package this year.

    My DD chased the competitive merit and I agree she was very worn out by the process. At the end of the day she couldn't justify the difference between the big money NMF schools (UCF UK UA) as compared to those shools that didnt even fully cover tuition. Beyond tuition it is fun to be wanted. The book Debt free U was influencing for my DD.

  • Mom2aphysicsgeekMom2aphysicsgeek Registered User Posts: 4,300 Senior Member
    @ksmom48 Here is a very brief synopsis of what I would recommend you start investigating.

    **There are 3 main ways to apply to colleges: the Common App, the Coalition App, and institution specific app. The Common App and Coalition App are both multi-college applications. The student fills out 1 application and the app can be sent to multiple schools. They each have 1 main page of essay topics that students can select from and submit their response as their main application essay. But, individual schools on the app system may have multiple short answer questions, additional essay questions, additional program/honors college applications/essays, etc. Individual college applications are obviously institution specific and will also often have multiple short answer/essay questions.

    **Before having your student retest to improve upon a 34, I would make sure it is worth the time and effort. I do not think it is for the schools you have listed UNLESS they update their scholarship information over the summer to indicate an increase in threshold to a 35. Some schools are more "test heavy" than others. (Vanderbilt, for example, is very test score aware. USC, for example, is not. At TS weekend, USC specifically stated that they did not invite several 36ers bc their emphasis was not on test scores but holistic admissions.)

    **Students can send scores, request transcripts and LOR, start applications and not hit submit. This is the approach my kids take. The have everything ready to submit and then in Sept when NMSF is announced, they can update their application prior to actually submitting it. That only takes a few minutes. But, their essays/short answers/resumes etc are already uploaded.

    In terms of how many essays, etc, if they go ahead and open up the apps for all of the schools they are interested in, they will know ahead of time just what is expected. My kids have created a color-coded system for their essays. They create a master list of topics and then see what topics overlap and how many schools they can morph an essay to work for similarly worded questions.

    Expect completing applications WELL to take a lot of time. Can they throw applications faster? Yes. For schools that are awarding scholarships simply based on stats and that is all they are seeking, that approach will work. For specialized programs, competitive honors programs, competitive scholarships, etc, that approach will fail.

  • Midwest67Midwest67 Registered User Posts: 2,350 Senior Member
    Late in junior year we had our long list narrowed down and we waited all summer for the schools to update the scholarship info for the new incoming freshman class.

    We focused on automatic merit. (D tried for one competitive scholarship, full tuition, and did not get it).

    When the updated scholarship info is posted, between July & September, that should help narrow your final application list.

    Of course, read the fine print on scholarships. GPA requirements, any extra commitments, etc.

    Good luck!
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