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Are merit scholarships a possibility?

devinl10devinl10 4 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
Hello,
I am a high school senior from NYC. My parents have been encouraging me to apply to several prestigious Universities that I love including UCLA, Stanford, Northeastern, Boston College, etc. My family is upper middle class, so we receive very little financial aide, but can't nearly afford tuition at these schools, especially if I plan on going to grad school. My parents have this fantasy that I can earn merit scholarships at these top ranked schools and make them affordable. I've been trying to show them that in state tuition at a SUNY school is the best way to go, largely to no avail.

I understand this must vary from school to school, but in a very general sense, do I have any chance at earning merit scholarships at top 50 ranked schools? Here's some info about me:

I go to a prestigious high school and have a 96 GPA with mostly honors and AP classes. I have a 35 ACT, and am very active within school clubs, with leadership positions.

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Replies to: Are merit scholarships a possibility?

  • thumper1thumper1 74732 replies3274 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 2
    You certainly can apply and see...your stats are fine.

    But...

    UCLA- not exactly easy to get merit aid as an OOS student.

    Stanford- gives need based aid only to undergrads...no merit aid at all.

    Northeastern- has some highly competitive merit aid awards...but is moving in the direction of mostly heed based aid.

    Boston College- I believe the very vast majority of their aid is need based. IIRC there are a very small number of highly competitive merit awards...if any.

    Many if these top 50 schools that do give merit aid...it will be highly competitive. Very highly competitive.

    My free advice...build your list beginning with your sure things for admission that are affordable. In your case, you are fortunate to have the SUNY system which is very modestly priced for instate students. You are right in that these are great schools at a great price.

    Your stats would garner guaranteed merit aid at University of Alabama and their application is open now. Complete the admission application and the scholarship application today, and you will have your acceptance with aid in a few weeks.

    What do you want to study?

    Have you run net price calculators on any of your posssible,schools? If you don’t own a business, or real estate other than your home...do that. And believe the numbers!

    How much will your parents pay annually for you to attend college?
    edited September 2
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  • devinl10devinl10 4 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks for the quick response!
    My biggest interests are in biology and chemistry, possibly on a pre-med track. For this reason a few SUNYs are some of my top choices (Binghamton and Stony Brook mostly).
    However, I do know that admissions for biology majors can often be nearly as difficult at these SUNYs as at top 50 schools, due to the large number of students looking for a more affordable undergrad options.
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  • thumper1thumper1 74732 replies3274 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @mom2collegekids could you chime in.

    University of Alabama has biology and chemistry, and good premed advising. And it would probably cost what a SUNY would cost you. Any chance you will be a national Merit Finalist?

    How much can your parents pay?

    You know...you can major in biology or chemistry at just about every university.

    If you are thinking medical school...you want your undergrad debt to be as close to zero as possible.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6698 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 2
    UCLA is a state school and there really isn't merit money for OOS students.
    Stanford *only* gives need-based financial aid (no merit money)
    BC has 15 full tuition Presidential Scholarships; other than that only need-based aid
    Northeastern has $10-$25K merit scholarships for the top 10% or so of applicants. Is $10-$25K enough to make ~$70K/ year affordable?

    Your parents are correct that there are colleges that will give you meaningful merit money for your 35 ACT & 96 GPA- but those colleges are typically not ones that are prestigious.

    And they are correct that there are some top-ranked schools that give meaningful merit money- but those tend to be handful of highly competitive awards (such as BC's Presidential or Duke's Robertson).

    So, overall, they are kinda right but mostly not....
    edited September 2
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  • devinl10devinl10 4 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks thumper1, I'll look into University of Alabama. I think I missed Merit Finalist by one question I have to double check.

    Also, I'm on totally the same page about keeping undergrad debt to an absolute minimum. It's been a bit of a battle convincing my parents that odds are SUNY's are going to be my best option.

    With this in mind... should I be applying to mostly private schools and then just a couple of safety affordable schools, in hopes that I may pull one of these extremely competitive meaningful merit scholarships?
    OR
    Should I circle back to square one and apply to mostly schools that I can definitely afford or could most likely get merit based aid to make them affordable.

    It seems that the first option is what my parents and even guidance counselor has pushed me toward, but it's beginning to seem like it will be a waste of time and effort in the end.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6698 replies57 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    apply to mostly schools that I can definitely afford
    This.
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  • mom2collegekidsmom2collegekids 84090 replies1024 threadsForum Champion Financial Aid, Forum Champion Alabama Forum Champion
    devinl10 wrote: »
    Thanks thumper1, I'll look into University of Alabama. I think I missed Merit Finalist by one question I have to double check.

    Also, I'm on totally the same page about keeping undergrad debt to an absolute minimum. It's been a bit of a battle convincing my parents that odds are SUNY's are going to be my best option.

    With this in mind... should I be applying to mostly private schools and then just a couple of safety affordable schools, in hopes that I may pull one of these extremely competitive meaningful merit scholarships?
    OR
    Should I circle back to square one and apply to mostly schools that I can definitely afford or could most likely get merit based aid to make them affordable.

    It seems that the first option is what my parents and even guidance counselor has pushed me toward, but it's beginning to seem like it will be a waste of time and effort in the end.


    At this point, don’t argue with your parents. Apply to a few financial safeties (SUNYs, Alabama, etc) and apply to a few schools that your parents want you do. The results will tell them what they don’t want to hear from you.

    LOL...you could “play dumb” with UCLA and “miss” their November deadline. Ha ha.

    And you could run the Net Price Calculators on Stanford’s and the others’ websites and print out the results.

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  • coolguy40coolguy40 2156 replies2 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You're right, and you have an element of maturity, we don't see very often in this forum. In an elite school, you're just another smart kid with top grades. Those schools are on a different planet as the rest of the college world. On the other hand, there are a lot of great schools where you could get scholarships, but you have to know where to look. It's really population size that drives the competition. A lot of these scholarship schools are further south in schools like University of KY, University of Louisville, University of AL, University of AZ, University of TN, Auburn, Mississippi State, and Ole' Miss. There's a lot more, but you'll have to research them.
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  • rickle1rickle1 1930 replies17 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Why not get the acceptance form SUNY and go scholarship hunting? You never know unless you try. However, this takes real emotional maturity. Stick to a number that works. Should you get aid sufficient to meet the number, great. If not, stick to SUNY. No budget busting. You have great stats. But, as you know, the stars have to properly align for these significant merit scholarships.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29411 replies58 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think I responded to you on your other thread.

    I agree that you should apply to Binghamton EA, and possibly other SUNYs that have EA so that your safety schools are secured. Maybe add ‘Bama to that group, though with the SUNY STEM initiative, it’s going to be difficult to beat that cost—but that award has its conditions.

    There are other OOS public schools that also might have good merit for you, as well as some private schools like Hofstra, UDenver, Fordham, Tulane and you certainly should give them a try if you want those options.

    Though UCLA, USC, Boston College, Boston U and NEU do give out merit money, getting the dollar amount you will need will be lottery tickets. But no reason why you can’t give it a try. You have your site affordable things secured, no reason why you can’t shoot for the stars. I think Cornell, if affordable, as I said in the other thread might be a good possibility too.
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  • BuckeyeMWDSGBuckeyeMWDSG 874 replies8 threadsRegistered User Member
  • sybbie719sybbie719 20734 replies1998 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    edited September 3
    I think I responded to you on your other thread.

    I agree that you should apply to Binghamton EA, and possibly other SUNYs that have EA so that your safety schools are secured. Maybe add ‘Bama to that group, though with the SUNY STEM initiative, it’s going to be difficult to beat that cost—but that award has its conditions.

    You cannot use the stem initiative fore pre-med, nursing, PA, etc

    Have you considered applying to Sophie Dsavis?

    edited September 3
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  • devinl10devinl10 4 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Sorry for such a late reply, school starting took me away from the college search for quite a while.

    Though I hoped to get out of NYC for college, I am applying to Sophie Davis, though I still have a few questions about what the program is like. Perhaps you could clarify a little more about it.

    How heavily does need factor into admission? - I don't qualify for much financial aid at most schools, does this hurt my chances of getting into Sophie Davis? I know they look at background and income to some extent.

    Is it really as difficult as I have heard? - Though I love to study and work hard, I don't want schoolwork in college to dominate my whole life.

    What if I change my mind about being a doctor? - Though I have a strong interest in biology and the medical field specifically, I'm not 100% sure that this is what I want to pursue. Does this mean Sophie Davis isn't a good fit for me?

    In general, is it really worth it? - One of my biggest priorities during my college search has been finding a large, (somewhat) academically diverse school, with a beautiful campus far from NYC if possible. Would/should Sophie Davis' academic opportunities trump my dreams of a classic college experience?

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  • chmcnmchmcnm 111 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited September 20
    Pitt, Case, Delaware, Temple, Lafayette, Lehigh, or WPI. Good schools for STEM and medical that you would be competitive for merit.

    Get your safety school apps done then go merit hunting. You sound very mature for your age. Good luck.
    edited September 20
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  • thumper1thumper1 74732 replies3274 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    If you plan to go merit hunting...keep an eye on deadlines for admissions applications. Some require applications be submitted earlier for merit consideration. Some have a deadline after which you won’t be considered for merit.

    So...watch the deadlines if you are really seeking merit awards.

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  • 1stTimeThruMom1stTimeThruMom 264 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    There are reports that show colleges with the most med school applicants. These are usually the state schools. Sounds like you have a good head on your shoulders and would do well at a SUNY school. Good luck!
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