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T20 Merit

RiversiderRiversider 694 replies76 postsRegistered User Member
If you are an Asian-American/Caucasian-American family not eligible for financial aid but a T20 college gave a pure merit scholarship to your child, what made him/her stand out?
edited August 12
31 replies
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Replies to: T20 Merit

  • thumper1thumper1 73734 replies3213 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Which top 20 schools are you asking about?

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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4375 replies16 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Your statement seems to be saying that a "pure merit scholarship" =/= financial aid. That is not correct. A merit scholarship is financial aid.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6600 replies39 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Most T20s don't offer merit aid, it's strictly need based.
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  • CU123CU123 3423 replies61 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The question your getting at is pretty straight forward and I don't think there are very many who don't qualify for FA that get merit aid at the T20 schools that do offer merit aid. Take Duke for example, they offer merit aid in terms of a number of scholarships (Robertson scholarship, etc), however it is fairly rare that a family with income over $300,000 will receive one of those types of scholarships. You will have trouble finding anyone here who fits that category. In the end it really comes down to attracting some tippy top applicants, and if the family has little concern for paying for college its not that big of an incentive to choose Duke over Stanford/Harvard (or any other college that the applicant prefers). It's much more attractive to families whose income is in the $150-250K range.
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  • RiversiderRiversider 694 replies76 postsRegistered User Member
    edited August 12
    @thumper1 T20 is a commonly used term for colleges which play musical chairs on well known ranking lists every year.
    edited August 12
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  • RiversiderRiversider 694 replies76 postsRegistered User Member
    edited August 12
    @BelknapPoint Merit scholarships are dependent upon high performance and college need, they aren’t dependent upon demonstrated need of applicants or their families so can’t be categorized as need based financial aid.
    edited August 12
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  • RiversiderRiversider 694 replies76 postsRegistered User Member
    edited August 12
    @momofsenior1 No most doesn’t but there are some T20 still offering limited merit scholarships.
    edited August 12
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  • RiversiderRiversider 694 replies76 postsRegistered User Member
    @CU123 Yes. It’s probably a small percentage.
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 1319 replies19 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    According to the common data sets there were 738 students that received merit aid that had no financial need. This number does not include Columbia or Chicago because they do not supply CDS. The number for JHU is from 2014. The top 20 I used is the USNWR rankings.
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  • BelknapPointBelknapPoint 4375 replies16 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    BelknapPoint Merit scholarships are dependent upon high performance and college need, they aren’t dependent upon demonstrated need of applicants or their families so can’t be categorized as need based financial aid.

    I'm not saying that merit scholarships can be categorized as need-based financial aid. I am pointing out that a "pure merit scholarship" (your words) is one kind of financial aid. Your post that started this thread seems to indicate the opposite.
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 1449 replies16 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    There is a big difference between a Duke Robertson scholarship (full ride) and a UCLA Regents scholarship ($2000 per year). Also some schools (like UCLA) offer significant numbers of non-need based athletic scholarships. So it’s unclear that the total number is very meaningful. And what is required to win a scholarship in each of these categories is quite different.
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  • NCKrisNCKris 188 replies1 postsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited August 12
    CU123 wrote: »
    The question your getting at is pretty straight forward and I don't think there are very many who don't qualify for FA that get merit aid at the T20 schools that do offer merit aid. Take Duke for example, they offer merit aid in terms of a number of scholarships (Robertson scholarship, etc), however it is fairly rare that a family with income over $300,000 will receive one of those types of scholarships. You will have trouble finding anyone here who fits that category. In the end it really comes down to attracting some tippy top applicants, and if the family has little concern for paying for college its not that big of an incentive to choose Duke over Stanford/Harvard (or any other college that the applicant prefers). It's much more attractive to families whose income is in the $150-250K range.

    I don't think above is true, based on my own small dataset of 3.
    1. Upper income family (500k+) : strong acadamics + meaningful community service but no notable awards (state or national), No Ivy admissions, took full ride to Duke
    2. Middle class family - strong student, national awards, and exceptional community service: refused Robertson Duke to go to Harvard as FA made it affordable.
    3. Upper middle class (200-250k) : strong acadamics, well rounded, great community service and few awards (International DECA and Math/CS) - refused full tuition at Vanderbilt for Penn (full pay)

    Back to OP, these merit scholarships are very few and rare, unless the student is nationally recognized, or has accomplished incredible things.
    edited August 12
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28759 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I believe the OP is referring to those scholarships given without regard to financial need, that schools that are rated top 20 in the latest 2-3 USN&WR ratings might give. The Ivies, MIT, CalTech, do not give merit money. Duke, Johns Hopkins, Chicago, Rice, Vanderbilt, USC ...the beat goes on....do.

    You can look up exactly how many students got merit money at whatever schools that you have in mind from their Common Data Sets.

    As to the racial, ethnic breakdowns, you are not easily going to get that information.

    I’ve seen who some of these recipients are as I get some college magazines that do spotlight the recipients of these highly vaulted scholarships. The ones I’ve seen all have some great research or community service, leadership project that I’ve personally found remarkable. At least the stories. They aren’t touted as the ones with the highest academic stats. They may well be , but that doesn’t seem to be the focus of what makes them great. There are always a good smattering of Asian and white students in the bunch. Not like it’s all or half URMs. They do all tend to have stories that make good reading. That I can tell you.
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  • CU123CU123 3423 replies61 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    There are always exceptions, so small anecdotal info is not really applicable, and yes the large number of small awards that come with NMF also make the total number irrelevant. Again I believe that the number of FULL ride scholarship to those who don't NEED them is VERY limited.
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  • RiversiderRiversider 694 replies76 postsRegistered User Member
    edited August 12
    Thank you for some helpful information. I’m not interested in small token scholarships but sizable ones which may make one T20 more attractive then other. For example Duke, Rice, Vanderbilt ‘s half tuition and up scholarships, which make a big dent in total cost.



    edited August 12
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  • thumper1thumper1 73734 replies3213 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Ok...so you are interested in Duke, Rice, and Vanderbilt very large merit awards...is that right? If so...distinguishing your student’s self will require extremely high stats first and foremost. The very large scholarships Duke require an interview...so interviewing well would be something the student would need to be able to do.

    Rice and Vandy merit awards are highly competitive...as you know. Many many well qualified students go for these awards. I’m not sure there is a recipe for success getting these.
    T20 is a commonly used term for colleges which play musical chairs on well known ranking lists every year

    So what? I asked which schools you were interested in...and you did answer. Rice, Duke, Vandy.

    Any others?
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28759 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The chances of getting one of those merit scholarships is very small. They are given to remarkable students even among the stellar crowd.

    I heartily encourage any and all students applying to these colleges to apply for these merit awards if any separate application is required. Some of these schools automatically consider all applicants for these awards, some require a complex process, including high school involvement such as nominating the student for the awards. But go for it! Why not? It’s no different than those who need financial aid to go to a school but have unusual family financial situations that involve some chance in getting enough awards to make it work. Chance is a big element in all of this.

    So if there are schools out there with sufficient merit money that make it possible for your family to send your student to them, go for the awards if that student wants a chance at those schools. OP has indicated son has an excellent safety option that is affordable, so no reason not to reach for the stars and for as many options possible.

    It’s problematic when kids or parents don’t get it that the accept rates at the very top schools, certain programs, merit money are lottery tickets and they obsess about these things so that they are so invested in getting that outcome that they neglect to cover their bases in terms of realistic applications as well. As long as a student has that covered, go right on ahead and see what can pan out.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3672 replies16 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Not sure why the confusion of the question at all.
    Here's is an example of merit aid at Michigan that has no financial influence https://lsa.umich.edu/scholarships/prospective-students/merit-scholarships.html
    Close enough to top 20.
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  • thumper1thumper1 73734 replies3213 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    U of Michigan merit aid is highly competitive. highly.

    @Riversider since you don’t qualify for need based aid...are his stats sufficiently high for merit at many schools outside of the top 20?

    And I forget...will your kid be applying at places like Alabama? Are his stats sufficiently high to get one of their guaranteed merit awards.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6600 replies39 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    D had a friend who applied to Vandy with perfect test scores and GPA, tons of fabulous ECs, work experience, awards, etc..... He was accepted but got $0 merit awards. Two years prior (HS class of '16), the val did get a substantial award, but it's gotten much more competitive. Another exceptionally smart friend applied ED to Rice and ended up getting rejected entirely.

    I'm unfortunately not surprised that you aren't hearing the success stories. :(

    I have lots of them though for places like Alabama, Iowa, TAMU....
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