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What schools offer the best merit scholarships?

saxladysaxlady Registered User Posts: 212 Junior Member
edited August 2012 in Music Major
My D wants to major in vocal performance/music ed. My husband and I are both teachers (he at the college level; I teach part-time middle school), so we are definitely not rolling in the money. Are there certain schools that tend to offer generous scholarships? For instance, we live in Michigan, but I've noticed that UM does not seem to offer many scholarships, according to what I saw on the CC spreadsheet of school acceptances, whereas IU seems to offer scholarships frequently. We also live only 4 hours from Lawrence University, which seems to offer more scholarships than others, but I am not sure my D would be happy at such a small school.

Any advice at what schools to aim for that we could afford would be very appreciated!
Post edited by saxlady on

Replies to: What schools offer the best merit scholarships?

  • StacJipStacJip Registered User Posts: 588 Member
    You also might want to check out smaller state schools with strong music departments. I don't know the mid-west but on the East Coast my son applied to the University of Southern Maine as his safety. The Jazz Bass instructor there is supposed to be amazing. Our son never completed his application there but even without auditioning he could of attended the school, just based on his academics for almost nothing. There might be a sleeper school in your area with a strong vocal instructor that is similar. Also keep in mind that you will likely qualify for financial aide and it is not always easy to predict what the various packages will look like. Definitely think about aide when applying but also remember that until you get offers from that it might be hard to know what that final tuition bill will be.

    Also take travel expenses into account. The flights back and forth from a school that is a distance away can add up.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,564 Senior Member
    Not sure if you are referring to merit aid only or financial aid as well.

    We found that several conservatories offered merit aid around $15K, which left $35K to pay, which was too much for us. Our daughter went with a university that had great aid, in the end, solely because of money, though she is happy at this point, a few years later.

    If you qualify for financial aid, it will be better at conservatories/music schools that are part of colleges/universities with good aid or lowish costs in the first place (like state schools). Oberlin and Lawrence would be relatively good with this, maybe IU, don't know about UM.
  • kmcmom13kmcmom13 Registered User Posts: 3,912 Senior Member
    Oberlin meets full need, but don't think that would help much in this case.
    Saxlady, I'm not convinced your income level will have you eligible for what passes for "need" -- at least fed or sub financial aid, first off. So be prepared accordingly. Actually, based on my casual knowledge of income ranges in those professions, the only place you might be eligible for need based aid of any kind might be the ivies where the expectation of contribution is about 10% of income for those in what's normally called upper-middle range.

    Secondly, you're not likely to beat the In-State price of University of Michigan even WITH generous merit from other OOS or private schools (given that you will NOT be a zero EFC applicant...) So you may wish to keep it on the list.

    This was our experience. That said, IU has much to offer, reasonable OOS fees and generous entrance scholarships (academic) for high stats students. Nonetheless, UMich beat IU in our case hands down in terms of net cost and despite IU scholarships via TWO scholarships (academic and talent), one of which covered tuition. So it depends on the unique characteristics of your D, her track record both academically and regionally/nationally in terms of performance, the rigor and rep of her HS, and other variables germane to the admissions folk at UMich, etc.

    You are actually in an envious position to have UMich in state, just so you know ;) That doesn't mean you shouldn't cast a wide net and look at generous schools elsewhere. Just don't let UMich's last of presence on the spreadsheet create false assumptions about conceivable generosity in terms of merit scholarships.

    Even if you were full pay, the COA would be about $24k - less than half the COA of privates and many OOS programs -- meaning to "beat" UMich on price, you'd need to be given more like $25 - 30k in a package. Not impossible, but not entirely common!
  • musicamusicamusicamusica Registered User Posts: 6,468 Senior Member
    I've encountered two well trained singers who recently graduated from Michigan State. However, I have no direct experience with the program. I think that you will find that your in state programs are usually best for music education.
  • PianoMan12PianoMan12 Registered User Posts: 158 Junior Member
    I saw that you mentioned Lawrence University. I'm about to enter my freshman year there and I've been through their whole financial aid/scholarship process so I can offer some insight. Lawrence offered (to my knowledge) three different amounts of scholarship this year: $18000, $15000, and $12000. Multiple people earn each of these awards and I think out of all the music majors I've talked to, only one or two weren't on some kind of merit scholarship. However, the university also offers academic scholarships and they'll give you whichever one of the two (music or academic) that would be most beneficial to you, but I believe that they will not "stack" them. They also offer really good non-merit-based financial aid. (In fact it was so good that the reduced price tag alone made it very hard for me to even consider my other school choices.) I'm a Wisconsinite but I can tell you that due to a combination of financial aid and scholarship, I'll be paying less for college than my slew of high school classmates that are going to UW-Madison. Oh, and if they don't offer you enough financial aid to begin with, literally every single person I know who asked for more got it. Every single person. Hope that helps!
  • saxladysaxlady Registered User Posts: 212 Junior Member
    Wow - this is SO helpful, everyone! Thank you so much! This is exactly what I was wondering about. I do feel lucky having both UMich and Michigan State as in-state schools, which makes it hard to even think about looking outside of Michigan. However, if the price is right, I would certainly consider her going out of state...but it would be best if it wasn't so far that she always had to fly home. Plus I'd love to be able to see some of her performances. PianoMan12, I will be curious to hear all about Lawrence, so please feel free to PM me after school starts with your thoughts on how you like it there.
  • Mezzo'sMamaMezzo'sMama Registered User Posts: 3,439 Senior Member
    If your D is looking at music ed with an eye toward teaching in the K-12 range, it's always wise to try to attend school in the state where one wants to be employed- just makes certification that much easier.
    While I don't know much about the money available for ed majors, I can tell you that there is not a bunch available for VP majors,simply because there are so many of them. Frankly, sopranos are the "life blood" of conservatories and music schools- they accept them with the knowledge that only a couple, if any, will go on to good graduate programs.
    Look at the whole cost of the school: tuition, room and board, cost of living in the area when/if the student moves off campus (and just how long are they guaranteed on-campus housing?), is there an additional fee for accompanying, etc? Then, once you have all of those numbers for the schools, you at least have a starting point. Some schools have self-funded work-study while others use the federal work-study program- the former has more wiggle room, but neither are a sure thing from year to year. Another caveat, while one may be able to "request" more financial aid when entering as a freshman, that negotiating power goes away in subsequent years (it's possible to put in a request for more when awards are made in later years- often the teacher can ask- and $$ may be found, but schools use it as a "hook" to entice freshmen). And there is no reason why a kid can't work while in college if that's what is needed to make it possible to attend the school they want; I've known many kids who have done it, including my own. It takes a lot of planning and organization but it can give them a real sense of "ownership" in what they have chosen to do.
  • saxladysaxlady Registered User Posts: 212 Junior Member
    My D is mostly interested in teaching applied voice at the college level while still performing on the side (she has encountered several people like this). She definitely prefers one on one, as opposed to being a choral director, which teaches many at one time. A VP degree would be best for that (with the requirement, of course, of having to go on to grad school), but I think she sees getting the Mus Ed degree would be her safety, just in case the former doesn't work out. But she loves to perform, and I know she really wants to still be able to do that first, if possible.

    I'm not too worried about where she gets the Mus Ed degree. I grew up in Georgia, went to school in Florida, my first teaching job was in Texas, and I eventually ended up in Michigan, and I never had any trouble getting a teaching certificate (although I did have to take a reading class in Michigan). But you are right - it is easiest to get certified in the state that you've gone to college.

    I am operating under the presumption that VP majors - especially sopranos - have the hardest time getting any type of scholarships. She should have been a violist!!!
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,564 Senior Member
    I don't know much about music ed degrees, but always thought those degrees were geared to k-12 public education. If your daughter wants to teach vocal performance one on one at the college level, maybe she doesn't need to worry about music ed at the undergrad level-? Maybe she should just concentrate on voice training-? Others will know!
  • musicprntmusicprnt Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    a music ed degree is only needed if you plan on teaching K-12 Public school (some private schools may require it, apparently a lot don't). It sounded like the OP's D was thinking of getting a music ed degree as a backup if her primary plans didn't work of teaching at a college level and performing "on the side"....I can't speak for voice, the Voice parents can speak to that, but for instrumental from what I have heard you are better off not doing a music ed if you intend to perform, that while music ed is rigorous in its own right it doesn't give the kind of training a performance degree does, in part because of the more broad based nature of music ed degrees (multiple instruments, etc).... Again, that is what I have heard with instrumental music, so it may not apply to voice.

    There have been other threads on here about music ed as a 'backup', and many of them questioned that, in that would your D be interested in teaching K-12 music or would she see it as a job? Stories are rife of school music teachers who did it as a 'fallback' and were not great teachers...and keep in mind that if she gets a performance degree, she can teach in a lot of place, privately, at the college level or private schools, none of them generally require a M ed....plus, if she gets her UG performance degree, and then thinks she wants a school job, she could get a masters in music ed I would assume......just my take on it, others might have more insight.

    In terms of scholarships besides in state state schools (you are lucky with U Mich having a great music program), the standard bit of conventional wisdom it may be better to be the big fish in the small pond then a small fish in a big pond, that with merit scholarships the top level conservatories and such don't give all that much, unless someone is one of those one in a million types, whereas smaller programs, especially those trying to build up there leve, might offer a top level music student more money to come to their program to 'build up' their level. This is distinct from financial aid, which as some have pointed out, for many schools only really kicks in for those whose family income is pretty modest (ivies are an exception from what I hear as well), so you would be mostly relying on merit aid to help defray the cost. I hear you, in our care were have pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that wherever S goes, we will be paying a lot of the freight, have planned for that, the kind of schools he has set his sights on are not known for good merit aid.
  • jazzpianomom1jazzpianomom1 Registered User Posts: 79 Junior Member
    Just a reminder here that some schools will "stack" music scholarships and academic scholarships, like CCM -- and perhaps IU? -- so that can help with cost more than at other schools who only offer for music merit awards.
  • ohiobassmomohiobassmom Registered User Posts: 1,401 Senior Member
    S was offered a music scholarship at Capital, I think any student who auditions and is accepted gets one, not sure if the amount is always the same. S got about $12K/yr. Capital also met almost his full need.

    The Conservatory of Music

    In Columbus, OH so not far..but far enough away from OSU to be OK for a Michigan kid ;)
  • MomofbassistMomofbassist Registered User Posts: 698 Member
    SUNY Potsdam (Crane School of Music) offers 5 full ride scholarships: room and board, tuition and a book stipend.
    They also stack academic and music scholarships. If you have SAT's of 1300 and a 92 average you can apply for the full ride scholarship. They are very generous to those who don't receive the full ride and give upwards of $1000 to anyone with an "A-" average with test optional.
  • saxladysaxlady Registered User Posts: 212 Junior Member
    Ohiobassmom, my DH went to Ohio State, so no problems about that! In fact, I'm a little surprised that he's so supportive of her considering UMich, but you can't beat in-state, I suppose. And musicprnt, you are correct about all of that. As a public school band director (with a DH who teaches music at the college level), we know all about what to major in and why. I suspect my D doesn't quite know which way she wants to go, and so that is why she is saying she'll double major. I she's like me, she'll pick one of them her freshman year and stick with it. I have looked at curriculums carefully at many universities, and you definitely don't get all the diction and foreign language classes if you only do music ed, so I really think she must get a VP degree. I originally thought I would double major, but teaching won out in the end, and I've never regretted it. But I suspect she will go the other route - she enjoys performing so much more than I do, and I really think she would enjoy teaching at the college level (and you're right - no need for BME at college level).

    UMich does offer a VP degree with music ed certificate, which is very interesting. But it looks like you get a little shortchanged in both areas....so I don't know if I like that or not. But it's an interesting option....
  • PianoMan12PianoMan12 Registered User Posts: 158 Junior Member
    Oh I totally forgot that Lawrence also has seminars for interested music ed majors in addition to their auditions. Based on performance on these seminars, music ed majors can get even more scholarship money.
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