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Merit scholarships for wGPA4.5, 1570SAT? for PreMed/Bio Studies

SherryPSherryP 2 replies2 threads New Member
My son is a junior and has excellent stats (4.5 GPA, 1570 SAT, AP Chem/Bio/Calc/Stats/CS...) He's looking for the best undergraduate degree that will help get him into a really good med school. Unfortunately our family income of $150K disqualifies him for most need-based aid, but it's not enough to cover the full cost of tuition, r&b, etc at his top choice of schools (Harvard, Stanford, Duke, ...). I've read that the most select schools usually don't give merit scholarships. True? I'd love ideas of alternatives to investigate -- either other really good schools that DO give merit scholarships or other scholarship opportunities. He's worked so hard and can probably get into some of these top schools, but I just don't see how we can afford (or justify) the $75+/year expense!
Thanks!!
17 replies
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Replies to: Merit scholarships for wGPA4.5, 1570SAT? for PreMed/Bio Studies

  • BuckeyeMWDSGBuckeyeMWDSG 920 replies9 threads Member
    Have you actually run the net price calculator for Harvard? It's very generous, retirement assets aren't included and for typical families with $150,000 income provides need based aid.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 79732 replies714 threads Senior Member
    Unweighted GPA?

    State of residency?

    How low must the net price be?

    If he goes to a college lower priced than your target net price, will you allow him to apply the remainder to medical school?
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  • tgl2023tgl2023 266 replies6 threads Junior Member
    I Agree with BuckeyeMWDSG. Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford and MIT (perhaps Duke as well) do give generous grants (not scholarships) to middle income families, rendering the cost of attendance at these schools lower than those at some public colleges. For example, below is an excerpt from Princeton's financial aid webpage:

    family income of $140,000–160,000; grant covers full tuition (around $52,000)
    $160,000–180,000; grant covers 91% tuition
    $180,000–200,000; grant covers 81% tuition
    $200,000–250,000; grant covers 68% of tution
    $250,000 and above (most who qualify have 2 children in college) grant covers 49% of tuition
    Room and board and fees are around $18000
    Your son's stats are great. Good luck.

    This recent thread (very long) might be of interest to you:
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/2154331-looking-for-advice-in-merit-aid-for-a-top-1-student-p57.html
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1736 replies33 threads Senior Member
    ^^^A few things to consider, some high stat kids really thrive on competition and being challenged by their academic peers. It makes them better students. One of my close friends went Yale undergrad and Yale medical school and absolutely told me that his undergrad premed education helped him get into a top medical school.

    I look at top students like top athletes. If you are a nationally ranked college tennis player, will you get a lot better being coached by some of the top coaches in the world and playing against competition as good as you are or will you get better by being coached by average coaches and playing against average players?

    Secondly, many premed majors change their minds and pursue other interests. Top colleges might give these students better opportunities (internships, research, jobs, etc) if they choose another career path.

    Lastly, we forget that the actual 4 year undergrad education is very important and these years are extremely transformative in the life of a young adult.

    There is no right or wrong answer but I can guarantee you there are plenty of students getting admitted to medical school who also attended highly selective undergrad colleges. The cream rises to the top...
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  • thumper1thumper1 76104 replies3356 threads Senior Member
    He's looking for the best undergraduate degree that will help get him into a really good med school

    This makes no sense. Admission to medical school is largely based on GPA, and MCAT score, not the name of your undergrad school.

    The student graduating last in his class from what you might view as a lower tier medical school is still called “doctor”, and the curriculums at medical and DO schools are remarkably alike. Two of my favorite CC posters have doctors who went to what you would call no name schools, and did residencies at Yale.

    Here are some top schools that do give VERY VERY highly competitive merit aid...University of Chicago, Vanderbilt.

    You should look at your state flagship university for the best bargain in terms of price.

    University of Alabama will give your kid a decent guaranteed merit award. Was his PSAT high enough to be NMF?

    Others for you to think about because they do provide merit aid...Miami University in Ohio, Case Western...as examples.

    If you are not divorced, don’t own a business, aren’t self employed, don’t own real estate other than your primary residence, run the net price calculators on each college website. The NPCs are currently set for HS seniors and policies do change, but this will give you an idea of your net costs and possible aid at his reach schools (those schools you mentioned are all reach schools for every applicant as they have very very low acceptance rates).

    And lastly, save your money for medical school if that even happens, because it’s very costly and there isn’t much aid beyond loans, loans, and more loans.

    @WayOutWestMom so what should this student look for in an undergrad assuming he really ends up applying to medical school?

    And...lastly...very very possible your premed wannabe won’t ever actually apply to medical school, so he needs a plan B.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 8302 replies70 threads Senior Member
    While "top schools" don't give merit scholarships, they are the most often the most generous with need based aid. Run the NPCs for some reach schools.

    As others have mentioned, med school will be dependent on GPA, MCAT, etc.... not where your child goes for undergrad.

    Look at your instate options, they are often the most generous with merit based aid.

    Other schools to consider where friends have had good success with merit $ and med school advising/admission - Case Western and St. Olaf.
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  • bigmacbethbigmacbeth 703 replies4 threads Member
    Set a budget early. Like, now. Share it with your child. Set expectations that you will help him get into the best college possible that is in budget.

    What kind of college experience does he want? Big? Small? Urban? Get a list and do some research. Protect thy GPA.
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  • SherryPSherryP 2 replies2 threads New Member
    Thanks so much to everyone for helping to put things in perspective!! We have run the calculations on several college's websites and we qualify for very little needs-based aid (we also have some assets in real estate that's been in my family for generations. It's jointly owned with other family members and selling it really isn't an option).

    We live in Virginia so UVA and W&M are definite possibilities - great schools and affordable to us. But we just don't know if the extra cost of a school like JH or Duke (should he get in) would be worth it in the long run. And yes, anything we can save on his undergrad costs would then be available to help him for med school (or grad school if he ultimately chooses a different path).
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 5864 replies1 threads Senior Member
    I agree with other comments. UVA is a great school for premed. I do not know W&M but expect that it will be very good also. There are a lot of schools with very strong premed programs -- hundreds of them. Other premed students tend to be very strong which adds to the competition. Premed classes are going to be very tough at UVA, or any one of at least 200 other schools. UVA is probably stronger than the average in-state public school.

    To get into medical school you should have at least (this is not a complete list) (i) A GPA that is solidly in the top 1/2 and preferably top 1/4 of your university; (ii) Money left in the bank to help pay for medical school. To me this should make premed admissions "boring", since the student should be looking for a school where with very hard work they can expect to be in the top 1/4 of their classes. Of course having a lot of experience volunteering in a medical environment (such as at a hospital) is also very important.

    We have some friends who have farms which have been in the family for a long time. Two have never been sold (they were originally settled by ancestors of the current owner). They also do not qualify for any need based aid based on something that they could not possibly sell, and that does not return any money that could help with paying back a loan. One friend told me once that when he married he knew that he was not just marrying a women, he was also marrying the farm. He is a Harvard graduate, but could not possibly afford to send his kids there because of the impact of the farm on potential need based aid.
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  • mommdcmommdc 11654 replies31 threads Senior Member
    VCU is also a good choice for health sciences.

    University of Pittsburgh might give him merit. Apply early!!
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  • socaldad2002socaldad2002 1736 replies33 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    One friend told me once that when he married he knew that he was not just marrying a women, he was marrying a farm. He is a Harvard graduate, but could not possibly afford to send his kids there because of the impact of the farm on potential need based aid.

    Interesting, I would think that someone smart enough to attend Harvard would know that investing early and often in a college savings account for his kids would yield him and his family a nice nest egg over 18-21 years whether or not he got any financial aid.

    To the OP, sounds like you have some great in-state options for college. My suggestion would be to research each of the “top” colleges pros and cons for a premed major, run the NPC for ALL of those colleges as some may be more generous than others with financial aid accounting for assets vs just income factors, and tour these colleges. Some colleges will just be a better fit than others, its not just about financial fit. Kids need to enjoy and be excited about their college to do well academically and socially.

    Good luck, sounds like you have a wonderful kid. Try to process fun and exciting and stay positive.
    edited December 2019
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10367 replies216 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    W&M has a good pre-med program with good advising. D1 interviewed there/was accepted, but ultimately chose to enroll elsewhere.

    My general advice for pre-meds is to look for 3 things in an undergrad:

    1) fit---because happier students do better academically (and there's objective data to prove this).

    2) opportunity--to get involved in research (expected EC for med school), to form mentoring relationships with their profs, to explore other areas of interest (most pre-meds never apply to med school), to grow socially and emotionally, to develop their leadership skills

    3) cost--pre meds are strongly advised to minimize undergrad debt because med school is hideously expensive and there is very, very little FA except for [unsubsidized} loans, loans and more loans. (Med school is now averaging around $75K/year and newly graduated doctors won't be earning "doctor's salaries" for 3-10 years post med school while doing their residency & fellowship.)

    Pluses to consider--proximity to hospitals for clinical volunteering, proximity to off-campus community service volunteer sites. (A rural campus location may necessitate a car on campus to get to these sites.)

    I also recommend that a student be in the top 25% of the college's incoming class stats-wise because the most academically able students tend to cluster in science (and engineering) majors. Those other top students will be your child's competition for the As needed to earn a med school worthy GPA. (Median GPA for med school matriculants last year was a 3.75.) All undergrads weed heavily in the intro level science classes; some colleges place caps on the number of A grades awarded those classes.

    The name of the undergrad attended isn't especially relevant to a med school admission. GPA/MCAT are are the first discriminators used to winnow med school applicants. Med school adcomms do not "adjust" or add bonus points to GPA just because a school is reputed to grade-deflating or highly competitive.

    edited December 2019
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2705 replies35 threads Senior Member
    Case Western (which was mentioned previously) is generous with merit aid. A Scout I worked with on his Eagle is currently a freshman there doing premed with ~20,000 a year in merit aid.

    I might look into Rochester as it has a top ranked medical school as well.
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  • brantlybrantly 4036 replies71 threads Senior Member
    edited December 2019
    You live in Virginia? This is a no-brainer. First, you don't need to worry about a school that "will help get him into a really good med school." Any school you are looking at fits the bill. (You're looking at top 100 schools, right?) Second, the goal should be ANY med school. Third, your state has one of the top 3 public universities in the country, where he can can attend for in-state rates.
    edited December 2019
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  • HamurtleHamurtle 2705 replies35 threads Senior Member
    University of Richmond is another good school to consider as well.
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