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Chances at Getting a Good Merit Aid?

SidSubSidSub 3 replies1 threads New Member
GPA: 4.99 weighted; 4.0/4.0 on unweighted scale
AP Scores: 5s on all of Chem, CSP, Lang, Psychology, Stats, USH
SAT: 1540; SAT II's: 800 in Math II, 780 in Chem, 780 in USH

Ranked 2nd in class of about 50 students in small private high school

Looking at potential merit aid for top 50 schools with good research programs and campus life.

Recommendations: Great teacher recommendations from my AP Chem and APUSH teacher and had good relationship with my college counselor.

Essays: Focused on my identity and perspective and how I sought to use study abroad/service opportunities at said universities. My college counselor said it was a great essay.

Extracurriculars:
Worked as a youth after school counselor for the YMCA -- 1 year
Volunteered at local hospital -- 2 years & 200+ hours
Volunteered at local food bank - 2 years & 100+ hours
After School Tutor -- Mu Alpha Theta
Completed a Wake Forest run college leadership program my junior year and presented project on economic mobility in my hometown to cohort and faculty.
YMCA Youth and Government -- 3 years in Mock Trial, traveled to Chicago with my state delegation for National Judicial Competition in Chicago
Worked with my chemistry teacher using computer animation software to program 3D chemistry tutorials in AR. I basically worked with some of my other peers to create models for several molecules and simulate reaction pathways and inter-molecular interactions
Shadowed in the PICU unit last summer -- taking notes, observing medical procedures, and talking with both doctors and resident teams for several hours
Clubs: Mu Alpha Theta, NHS, English Tutoring Club, Quiz Bowl, Chess Club

edited July 13
16 replies
Post edited by CCEdit_Suraj on
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Replies to: Chances at Getting a Good Merit Aid?

  • ape0019ape0019 2 replies1 threads New Member
    honestly ECs are kinda weak (have u considered curing covid?), schools might not wanna give u aid since your #2 instead of #1. overall okay, you'd prob be competitive for aid at your local community college
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 5555 replies93 threads Senior Member
    Many top 50 schools do not giver merit aid.

    What state do you live in?

    What is your budget for college, per year?

    Have you run the net price calculators on the websites of the schools on your list?
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  • twogirlstwogirls 7781 replies7 threads Senior Member
    What do you need the final cost to be? As noted above, many of these schools do not give merit, or if they do....it’s incredibly competitive.
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 2089 replies25 threads Senior Member
    What is your price point?

    Of the elites, UChicago give some smaller awards. Duke give a handful of large awards. Moving down the list, Vandy and USC give some big awards. They are trying to make the decision difficult for people that get into the elites. Tulane is a fan favorite for applying for merit. The first public that give anything meaningful to OOS is likely tOSU unless you are a NMF then it is Florida. Start looking at the common datasets. It will show the number and average award.
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  • SidSubSidSub 3 replies1 threads New Member
    My budget would have to be like around 10-15k per year, but I am really after full rides. I don't qualify for need-based aid. Are my EC's good enough for me to have a chance considering how competitive it is? I am from North Carolina.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 5555 replies93 threads Senior Member
    SidSub wrote: »
    My budget would have to be like around 10-15k per year, but I am really after full rides. I don't qualify for need-based aid. Are my EC's good enough for me to have a chance considering how competitive it is? I am from North Carolina.


    What was your PSAT score? Any chance at being NMSF?

    Any full ride scholarship (or full tuition award) at a top 50 school (and not all have full ride or full tuition scholarships) should be considered a high reach due to the high level of competition.

    So, do your research, find which schools even offer full ride or full tuition merit scholarships and start writing essays....there will be a lot.

    Do you have an affordable safety school that you would by happy to attend? Are there colleges within commuting distance to your home?
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  • SidSubSidSub 3 replies1 threads New Member
    My PSAT score is a 1490 so that is a possibility. And I would be happy to attend state schools such as UNC Chapel Hill and NC State if I dont get considerable merit aid. However, I would prefer a smaller student body rather than a large public university. And I do live close to state schools and others such as Davidson/Wake Forest. I was wondering my chances for major scholarships at Davidson/Richmond/Wake/Furman/UVA based on my ECs and Stats because I would prefer those colleges over my state schools. What do you think? Thanks!
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  • Burgmuller2Burgmuller2 5 replies0 threads New Member
    ape0019 wrote: »
    honestly ECs are kinda weak (have u considered curing covid?), schools might not wanna give u aid since your #2 instead of #1. overall okay, you'd prob be competitive for aid at your local community college

    @SidSub Are you parents not able to pay anything for your college education? Have you filled out all the NPCs on the website? Sometimes it seems like you won't get any aid, but if you fill it out, you might.

    As far as merit aid for Davidson/Richmond/Wake/Furman/UVA, I think Furman is the easiest bet for you. Davidson Belk is one of the most competitive full rides along with UVa's Jefferson as well. Due to not having any hooks, it's going to be hard to get good merit at the T50s.

    IS, look into App State, ECU, and UNCA. They should give you some pretty good merit aid.

    What is your major? Urban, suburban, or rural? Rah rah or quiet? Commuter or dorming?
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  • Burgmuller2Burgmuller2 5 replies0 threads New Member
    Oh, and Bama/Ole Miss/PVAMU/ NCCU/Temple are generous with merit except that they are not T50.
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  • TomSrOfBostonTomSrOfBoston 15907 replies1063 threads Senior Member
    SidSub wrote: »
    My budget would have to be like around 10-15k per year, but I am really after full rides. I don't qualify for need-based aid. Are my EC's good enough for me to have a chance considering how competitive it is? I am from North Carolina.

    I doubt if any top 50 universities give full ride merit scholarships or anything approaching it.
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  • mamag2855mamag2855 845 replies2 threads Member
    You may have a possible shot at one of 25 full rides offered to freshmen each year at URichmond (a top 25 LAC), but they are very competetive, and who knows how your application will compare to others who apply, but I definitely think it is worth a shot. 2 of my kids were Richmond Scholars and had wonderful experiences there. Pay close attention to deadlines!

    Wake, Davidson and UVA offer fewer big scholarships, and they are ultra competetive and difficult to get. You may have a slightly better shot at Furman.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 8042 replies85 threads Senior Member
    Are you on a gap year? if not, how are your LoRs & essays already in the can in July?

    Also (although not your question) I suspect your ECs could use some shaping - for a start if it was the WF Launch program that you did, that is a decently big deal, yet it's buried in the middle of your list- as is your longest running EC! Is the one with the longest description (building 3D chem tutorials) the one that is closest to your heart? ECs can be aligned to your possible career interests, things you love that aren't academic, random things that you were interested in at different times, etc. However, by the time you are doing your essays you should have enough of a narrative that the ECs that are most meaningful to you- because of the role they have played in developing your sense of where you are heading in life- stand out. Your applications tell the story of who you are and where you are going in a way that shows the AdComms that College X is the right place for you.
    I was wondering my chances for major scholarships at Davidson/Richmond/Wake/Furman/UVA

    Those major scholarships are typically used to woo students who would be otherwise going to the tippiest of top unis (as an example, both last year and this year there were parents on CC whose kids were wrestling with whether to accept WF or Stanford).

    If you would like to go to any of these schools, the only downside to applying is the cost in application fees and time spent polishing essays. But these schools are quite small (except UVa, obvs), and they all have strong 'personalities' or campus cultures. Be sure to pick the ones that are actually a good fit for you. Although they are super high reaches, and right now you probably would be thrilled to just get the scholarship, be as sure as you can be that you would be happy to live with it for 4 years.

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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30510 replies59 threads Senior Member
    I suggest you look at the thread started by @KevinFromOC . His daughter is an excellent student with great test scores, a bit of hook being Hispanic, and the top three full rides after aggressively pursuing merit money were Universityof South Carolina, Miami of Ohio and Rose Hulman. As a general rule, the higher a college is ranked on well known rating systems, as well as schools with the most name recognition, the more difficult it is to get a full ride or full tuition, or any hefty merit award.Such schools do not have to pay to attract top students snd often use their funds towards financial aid so that those students whose parents cannot pay for the colleges according to the college’s standards of ability to pay, get an opportunity to attend there.

    So, taking, say, the USNWR rankings , you can immediately eliminate all 8 Ivies, MIT, CIT, Stanford, and pretty much the UCs, since you are from out of state for CA. Bear in mind that for some merit awards, additional work in terms of esssys, another application, keeping track of deadlines, interviews , etc are going to be required. Top Schools like Rice,Duke UChicago, Vanderbilt , JohnsHopkins, Emory , UVA etc have small Chances for acceptance , so the odds are nearly lottery ticket range for big merit money. A lot of the top LACs also give only financial aid. Pomona, Amherst,Swarthmore, Williams, Reed, Bowdoin, Bates, Barnard, all schools that give no merit money

    That’s not to say you should not be going after these awards. Start looking at the process. You absolutely should give it go.

    However, if it is important to have full ride/full tuition options, start looking at some schools where you have a fighting chance. There are even some certainties in the picture of schools that give automatic merit if you meet certain criteria. Alabama, Kentucky, Arizona are some possibilities. The list is a moving target so you need to look at current offers. As someone mentioned, if you are a NMF, there are possibilities there too. But nothing in the top 50 list.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78510 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    edited July 13
    University of Pittsburgh gives decent merit aid to very tippy top students who apply early to the college. In other words, if you are interested in merit aid there, apply as soon as the applications open.

    University of New Mexico is another option to consider. Their Amigo Scholarship is automatic. The net cost to you would be very close to your family price point if you add in the Direct Loan money too. @WayOutWestMom ? If you are really pre-Med, New Mexico has a fine undergrad program. It’s fine in a lot of things, and costs are way more modest than many other public universities.

    What is your home state? I seem to be missing that piece of information. If you are instate for NC, really you have great and affordable instate options.

    And UVA isn’t a tiny school.
    edited July 13
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  • thumper1thumper1 78510 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    I see now that you are from NC. I’m glad you will be happy to attend UNC or NC State, both excellent colleges. Very excellent and at very good costs for instate residents.
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