right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04

Help! (Merit Aid)

midofnowheremidofnowhere 22 replies1 threads Junior Member
edited September 2019 in Financial Aid & Scholarships
My counselors are of no help and I can't find much info. on accepted merit scholars so I was hoping to see if I should apply or if I'm applying to too much, etc. - any advice is appreciated!

Demographics: Male, Asian (immigrant parents), Rural, Upper Class (parents can afford 15-20k a year max)
Intended Major(s): Public Health, Political Science
ACT/SAT/SAT II: 1570, 710 - Math II, 720 - Bio M
UW/W GPA and Rank: 4.0 UW/4.54W 1/169
Coursework: Most rigorous in my school, independent studying H Spanish IV this year
Senior Year: AP Chemistry, AP English Literature, AP Calculus AB, AP Physics I, Honors Spanish IV + Required Classes
Junior Year: AP Bio (4), APUSH (4), AP Psych (5), AP Lang (5), AP Comp Sci Principles (didn't take exam), Honors Trig/PreCalc
Sophomore Year: AP World (3), AP Environmental (3), Honors Algebra II, Honors Spanish III, Honors English, Honors Chem + Required Classes
Freshman Year: Honors English, Honors Spanish II, AP Government and Politics (4), Honors Geometry, Honors Biology + Required Classes
UChicago Summer Session (full scholarship)
Biomed Camp at my state’s Flagship
Mock Trial State Champion
Mock Trial Circuit Champion
AP Honors Scholar with Distinction
Extracurriculars: I can't disclose my first EC due to the sensitivity, but I serve on a local branch of government,
Regional Student Government VP (19/20), PR (18/19),
Varsity Mock Trial Captain (12, 11),
Student Council VP (12, 11, 10),
State Student Government Representative,
Peer Mentor (pilot member - 12, 11),
NHS Treasurer (12, member since 11),
NAACP Club (pilot member - 12, 11),
Model UN (12, 11, 10),
Volunteer Work (Hospitals, Nursing Homes, Various small projects - over 400 hours)
Essays/LORs/Other: My personal statement is about advocating on Capitol Hill and how I grew as a result (7/10), assume LoRs to be average for the purpose of this chance me (AP Lang teacher, AP Bio teacher, Mock Trial coach, UChicago TA)
I plan on applying to UNC-CH (Robertson Scholarship), Duke (Robertson Scholarship), UMD, UVA (Jefferson Scholarship), Pitt, Vanderbilt (Cornelius Vanderbilt & Chancellor's Scholars), WashU (all three merit scholarships), Emory, UChicago, Amherst, and USC. I'd appreciate it if I could get some more recommendations although any insight is appreciated!

Thank you for reading! :)
edited September 2019
51 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Help! (Merit Aid)

  • HamurtleHamurtle 2726 replies36 threads Senior Member
    What state are you from? That might give a clue as to your chances.

    Most of the merit scholarships that you are applying for on your list are prestigious and hard to get. You could theoretically be accepted to quite a few of those schools and get completely shut out of merit.

    I would not report those subject test scores if your schools do not require them. They are pretty low relative to your GPA/SAT 1. The rule of thumb is that scores should be around 750+ for elite admissions.
    · Reply · Share
  • midofnowheremidofnowhere 22 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited September 2019
    Hey - thanks for commenting!

    I am a rural Maryland resident.
    Regarding my subject tests, would the fact that nobody in my area has gotten past a 650 bolster my chances? Or does it not matter at all? And if it doesn't matter, should I still send my scores to Duke since they "recommend" two subject tests?

    Do you have any recommendations as to what options I should take next regarding Merit Scholarships or schools in general?
    edited September 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • HamurtleHamurtle 2726 replies36 threads Senior Member
    Did you take a PSAT? If so what’s your SI? Maryland traditionally has a high SI for National Merit.

    UNC and UVA will be tough admits for OOS since they have a mandate to take a certain percentage of in-state students first.

    It doesn’t matter if nobody in your school ever had a decent SAT Subject Test score before. Unless a school requires them, do not report them. They are mediocre compared to the rest of your record.

    I’m pretty familiar with WashU since my kid is a junior there. The merit scholarships that you probably have the best chance are Ervin and Rodriguez, as they are more holistic and take into account community service.
    · Reply · Share
  • midofnowheremidofnowhere 22 replies1 threads Junior Member
    I did! I got 1410, however, which I don't believe met Maryland's cutoff.

    I see, that seems to be the general consensus.

    Alright, appreciate the advice!

    As for WashU, is your son/daughter a merit scholar recipient? My parents have had no experience with American college apps and both of my siblings only applied to UMD so all of this is a littttle daunting for me!
    · Reply · Share
  • HamurtleHamurtle 2726 replies36 threads Senior Member
    @midofnowhere our family is full pay/ED, so son didn’t get any merit.

    Supposedly WashU gives the merit scholarships to RD students to sway them away from Ivies. But that’s anecdotal and not real evidence.
    · Reply · Share
  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 619 replies1 threads Member
    edited September 2019
    1. Apply to UMBC by November 1 to be eligible for scholarships.
    Also apply to Scholars programs, you could win full tuition + more scholarship.
    See Sondheim Public Affairs program.
    "Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars receive generous four-year awards, often covering the greater part of the cost of attendance at UMBC. Students must apply in the senior year of high school for entrance into the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program. Selected scholars will be offered scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 annually for in-state students or $10,000 to $22,000 annually for out-of-state students.

    The Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program is a ​merit scholarship program. Students are selected based on factors such as the strength of their written application, their demonstrated commitment to public service, and the impression made in their interview. All majors are welcome in the program. Please visit our Eligibility page for more details."
    2. With Public Health and Political Science as your goal, UMD would be great for you. Don't know your chances for any metit, however, since very little is given.
    3. What about JHU? Run net price calculator, see if your parents can afford your EFC.
    4. Did you already apply to Pitt? They have rolling admissions, scholarships first come first serve.
    5. What about Wake Forest?
    6. What about Alabama for their auto merit aid and honors?
    edited September 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 619 replies1 threads Member
    edited September 2019
    7. What about James Madison? 8. Or Temple?
    Here are scholarships at Wake Forest
    edited September 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • midofnowheremidofnowhere 22 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @Hamurtle Hmm, I see.

    @Hippobirdy I’ve looked into UMBC and Alabama and came to the consensus that I don’t see myself there for four years - it just doesn’t fit me.

    UMD and Pitt are my safeties - I applied to Pitt last week so I should be hearing back in a couple of weeks.

    I haven’t really looked into Hopkins, but I’ll definitely try running the EFC when I’m free.

    Wake Forest looks promising! I’m not that interested in James Madison or Temple.

    Thank you for all of the advice!
    · Reply · Share
  • itsgettingreal17itsgettingreal17 4110 replies28 threads Senior Member
    I don’t see how Pitt or UMD is a safety since neither will definitely be affordable.
    · Reply · Share
  • midofnowheremidofnowhere 22 replies1 threads Junior Member
    edited September 2019
    For UMD: While I will have to live on campus freshman year, one of my sisters has town house near CP that I’d live in. I can afford tuition.

    As for Pitt, I feel confident that I will be getting significant aid - that’s the one thing I made sure of when I talked to one of the AOs on my tour. I’ve kept in touch with that AO and so I’d like to think that it’s likely. But yeah I guess it’s still a gamble
    edited September 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 619 replies1 threads Member
    @itsgettingreal17 I agree. Pitt will cost more than UMD, unless big scholarship awarded.
    @midofnowhere what about Case Western? But need CSS PROFILE too for aid.
    Full tuition merit"Andrew and Eleanor Squire Scholarship
    This four-year, full-tuition scholarship was originally established by university trustee Andrew Squire and his wife, Eleanor. It’s open to first-year applicants in the arts; humanities; management; accountancy; and natural, social and behavioral sciences.
    · Reply · Share
  • midofnowheremidofnowhere 22 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @Hippobirdy I'll definitely look into Case Western, it looks promising!
    · Reply · Share
  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 29936 replies59 threads Senior Member
    None of these are safety schools, IMO, except the OP will likely know by year end if not accepted. Since you can afford that full price at College Park the first year, and expect to live cheaply enough at your sister’s place to swing it, I guess you are set.

    Pitt’s awards vary from $2k to full tuition and room/board but no guarantee as to when you hear about them. I don’t think anyone can count on a large award., though OP would be in the running with his stats.

    · Reply · Share
  • chmcnmchmcnm 388 replies4 threads Member
    edited September 2019
    Temple, JMU, Ohio State, and Vanderbilt popped into my head. Maybe Richmond or DC schools like GW or GMU for poly sci. You need a few safety schools with auto merit like WVU, Kentucky, ASU.
    edited September 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • thumper1thumper1 76570 replies3389 threads Senior Member
    edited September 2019
    Good that you already applied to Pitt. For merit aid there, the early bird catches the worm.

    In my opinion, the scholarships you have listed in your first post are highly competitive. While your resume sounds great, keep in mind that everyone applying for those awards will have equally impressive resumes, and more. Don’t assume you will get any of them...if include Pitt in that assessment. Their merit awards are highly competitive.

    Here is my opinion...

    UNC-CH (Robertson Scholarship)- highly competitive,

    Duke (Robertson Scholarship) - highly competitive

    UMD- you are instate....apply.

    UVA (Jefferson Scholarship) highly competitive

    Pitt,- merit awards are competitive and early applicants have a better chance. Good luck.

    Vanderbilt (Cornelius Vanderbilt & Chancellor's Scholars) - highly competitive

    WashU (all three merit scholarships) - highly competitive

    Emory - highly competitive

    UChicago - highly competitive

    Amherst- do they even give merit awards? If so, there are very few...and are highly competitive

    USC- hmmm... you are not a NMF so you don’t qualify for their auto half tuition award. Apply and see...but view this as competitive for merit as well.

    SO. What schools are on your list that are definitely affordable with a $20,000 budget or less? UMD. I don’t see any other sure things. And that’s only if you have free room and board.

    You need to hone this list. If affordability is a key issue, you need to look at places where your stats are going to give you an affordable net cost.

    Does your family not qualify for need based aid?
    edited September 2019
    · Reply · Share
  • midofnowheremidofnowhere 22 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @cptofthehouse After viewing some of the other responses, and researching online, I think I'm going to be applying to WVU. I automatically qualify for a large portion of my tuition without adding in outside scholarships and addition merit aid I might qualify for.
    @chmcnm WVU is now on my list! Vandy is my dream school. I considered GW, but after touring it and speaking to current students, I discovered it isn't for me.
    @thumper1 Thank you, I appreciate the insight! So, judging by your comment, would it be feasible to try for these scholarships in the first place? And WVU is the other safety that I have added that I would be able to afford.
    As far as I know, we do not. I'm trying to secure some tax documents to run some net price calculations. I'll keep this thread updated!

    I really appreciate all the comments! :)
    · Reply · Share
  • mommdcmommdc 11784 replies31 threads Senior Member
    Pitt's merit is competitive, not automatic, so it's not a financial safety, because OOS COA is above $40k without merit, and you said parents can afford $15-20k.

    Did you apply already?

    You need to visit UA to see its appeal. If you contact admissions and honors college, my understanding is that they roll out the red carpet.

    Your own instate schools are excellent choices, hopefully you will get merit there.

    Other state's universities are not better simply because they are OOS.

    Most schools have OOS tuition well above your price point, and merit might be possible for your stats, but not guaranteed, except at automatic merit schools.

    There is another thread here about merit for top 1% student, with budget of $15,000.

    That student has geographic diversity (CA), gender and ethnic diversity in her favor.
    · Reply · Share
  • midofnowheremidofnowhere 22 replies1 threads Junior Member
    @mommdc I applied to Pitt last week!

    I can definitely give Alabama another shot, as well as more instates. I don’t believe I said OOS > in state.

    Also, how would coming from California be an advantage over a rural area in MD?
    · Reply · Share
  • mommdcmommdc 11784 replies31 threads Senior Member
    I just think that a student from the West coast might provide geographic diversity over a student from the Northeast. But I might be wrong.

    And that's great that you applied to Pitt already! Good luck!

    WVU might very well give you a very good merit award.

    UA has a short easy app. After acceptance you can access the honors application. Then later when you get some merit results in you can see about visiting.
    · Reply · Share
  • thumper1thumper1 76570 replies3389 threads Senior Member
    You can apply for the competitive scholarships...but it’s going to take time to complete some of them.

    IIRC, you need to be nominated for the Jefferson Scholarship. Were you? Has any nominee from your HS ever gotten the award?

    You can’t get them if you don’t apply. I’m just saying...have some sure things financially on your list too...as none of those very competitive awards are sure things.

    BTWm UMD-CP is a great school and you are fortunate to have it as your instate option.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity