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Suggest some Good Physics schools

baeriabaeria 57 replies1 threads Junior Member
Hi College Confidentialers, I am going to be applying to colleges in a few months and would like some suggestions.

Here are my stats:
SAT I (breakdown M/CR/W/Essay): 1550
SAT II (subject, score): 800 Math II, 800 Physics, 790 Chemistry
Unweighted GPA (out of 4.0): 3.96
Weighted GPA: We don't weigh classes
Rank (percentile if rank is unavailable): My school doesn't rank either
AP (place score in parentheses): APUSH (5), AP Psych (5), taking AP Lang, AP Physics C, AP BC Calc, will take a few more next year
State: NJ
School: Tiny, not competitive public school
Ethnicity: African American
Gender: Male
Income: Middle class
Hooks: URM

Achievements:
-Have done physics research at a top physics research U (t20)
-Did extremely well in USAPhO
-Created my own program at a local school to introduce underserved kids to physics

Budget: My family will not qualify for need based financial aid, but I at least need a full-tuition/full-ride merit scholarship to go to college.

As far as my preferences here they are:
-Any environment works
-Happy student body
-The best physics I can possibly get

Any suggestions?
26 replies
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Replies to: Suggest some Good Physics schools

  • baeriabaeria 57 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Also, I'd prefer to stay in the US for undergrad if possible.
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  • Diaz42Diaz42 62 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Rutgers
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  • baeriabaeria 57 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for the reply! I think I will keep Rutgers and local community colleges as safeties.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83881 replies744 threads Senior Member
    edited June 9
    baeria wrote: »
    Here are my stats:
    SAT I (breakdown M/CR/W/Essay): 1550
    SAT II (subject, score): 800 Math II, 800 Physics, 790 Chemistry
    Unweighted GPA (out of 4.0): 3.96

    Budget: My family will not qualify for need based financial aid, but I at least need a full-tuition/full-ride merit scholarship to go to college. Net cost below $10,000 a year.

    The budget will be your main constraint.

    Some colleges with competitive large enough scholarships (should be considered reaches):

    Rutgers University in-state (Presidential)
    Duke University (Robertson)
    University of Maryland (Banneker Key)
    University of North Carolina (Morehead-Cain, Robertson)
    North Carolina State University (Park)
    University of Utah (Eccles)

    Do you take the PSAT and make the National Merit SemiFinalist threshold for your state? If so, that may open up more big scholarship opportunities, like several Florida public universities (Benacquisto).

    Unfortunately, the number of automatic full rides for GPA and test scores that you can use for safeties has been shrinking over the years. Prairie View A&M still has one, but its upper level physics offerings seem to be rather thin in the schedules, probably due to low enrollment (seems like it has 0-4 physics majors per year). Automatic full tuition or close to it for stats is somewhat more common (e.g. University of Arizona or University of Alabama), but those still leave remaining costs over $10,000 per year.
    edited June 9
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 2087 replies25 threads Senior Member
    Are you 100% certain that you will not qualify for financial aid? You should run the Net Price Calculator at some of the top schools. Your profile will very attractive top schools. If the top schools really don’t get your price in your range, then after you find a good safety, you should go hunting some of the big merit schools. UChicago, Vandy, or Duke may get you there with merit only. You will likely have to apply to many schools if you have to merit hunt.
    · Reply · Share
  • baeriabaeria 57 replies1 threads Junior Member
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    baeria wrote: »
    Here are my stats:
    SAT I (breakdown M/CR/W/Essay): 1550
    SAT II (subject, score): 800 Math II, 800 Physics, 790 Chemistry
    Unweighted GPA (out of 4.0): 3.96

    Budget: My family will not qualify for need based financial aid, but I at least need a full-tuition/full-ride merit scholarship to go to college. Net cost below $10,000 a year.

    The budget will be your main constraint.

    Some colleges with competitive large enough scholarships (should be considered reaches):

    Rutgers University in-state (Presidential)
    Duke University (Robertson)
    University of Maryland (Banneker Key)
    University of North Carolina (Morehead-Cain, Robertson)
    North Carolina State University (Park)
    University of Utah (Eccles)

    Do you take the PSAT and make the National Merit SemiFinalist threshold for your state? If so, that may open up more big scholarship opportunities, like several Florida public universities (Benacquisto).

    Unfortunately, the number of automatic full rides for GPA and test scores that you can use for safeties has been shrinking over the years. Prairie View A&M still has one, but its upper level physics offerings seem to be rather thin in the schedules, probably due to low enrollment (seems like it has 0-4 physics majors per year). Automatic full tuition or close to it for stats is somewhat more common (e.g. University of Arizona or University of Alabama), but those still leave remaining costs over $10,000 per year.

    Thanks for the recommendations! I made the NMSF threshold for my state.
    · Reply · Share
  • baeriabaeria 57 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Eeyore123 wrote: »
    Are you 100% certain that you will not qualify for financial aid? You should run the Net Price Calculator at some of the top schools. Your profile will very attractive top schools. If the top schools really don’t get your price in your range, then after you find a good safety, you should go hunting some of the big merit schools. UChicago, Vandy, or Duke may get you there with merit only. You will likely have to apply to many schools if you have to merit hunt.

    @Eeyore123 My family and I have filled out the NPC calculators and we have found that most colleges are not giving us under the $10,000 line. The problem is that I have a few younger siblings but they will only be in college 4 years after me so it won't reduce the price for me. Nonetheless, I am thinking of taking on loans for maybe HYPMS or other similar schools. Also, I didn't know that UChicago gives merit scholarships. Could you share more about that?
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83881 replies744 threads Senior Member
    baeria wrote: »
    Thanks for the recommendations! I made the NMSF threshold for my state.

    Make sure to advance to National Merit Finalist, since there are more colleges that offer big scholarships for National Merit Finalist.

    * Florida public universities (Benacquisto)
    * Arizona public universities (full tuition -- but remaining costs are more than $10k; see question below)
    * various others

    Is the $10k the limit of your parents' contribution (so that you could extend the net price to about $15k if you take federal direct loans or contribute some part time work earnings, or a few thousand more if you do both), or is it the limit of the total net price (implying a parent contribution of $0, so that you would need federal direct loans and some part time work earnings for the $10k)?
    · Reply · Share
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83881 replies744 threads Senior Member
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/2154331-looking-for-advice-in-merit-aid-for-a-top-1-student-p1.html is a long thread from a parent whose student needed to chase merit scholarships under a low price limit (not possible on need-based financial aid alone).

    You may find it interesting, though you may want to be aware of the differences:
    * Your price limit of $10k appears somewhat lower.
    * You have NMSF and should be able to advance to NMF, opening more scholarship opportunities.
    * You intend to major in physics, which is different from the other student's interest in an engineering major (good colleges for physics are not necessarily the same as good colleges for engineering).
    · Reply · Share
  • blossomblossom 10433 replies9 threads Senior Member
    Which of the public NJ campuses are commutable for you?
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  • Eeyore123Eeyore123 2087 replies25 threads Senior Member
    UChicago displays on their website merit awards upto $10k. However, they will go above that level (I have seen a letter above that amount). Also, they stack merit awards on top of financial aid awards including the parent contribution. This is very important for students that could get some FA but that will not get them down to what their family can actually pay.

    If you are an NSF, I would strongly suggest using University of Alabama as a safety school. If their NMF award stays the same, you will below $10k ( close to $0). Apply early September and you will have an acceptance in hand a few weeks later. Also apply for their Randell Research Scholar Program. That program really change the experience at UA. I believe there is a poster on this site that had a son in Physics at UA that did really well in grad school admissions. Was it @Mom2aphysicsgeek ?
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  • Diaz42Diaz42 62 replies3 threads Junior Member
    Hey @baeria I was recently looking at GA Tech's website and noticed they give out a few full ride merit scholarships. It would be really hard to get but your qualifications are strong so I think you should apply. Gl!
    · Reply · Share
  • baeriabaeria 57 replies1 threads Junior Member
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    baeria wrote: »
    Thanks for the recommendations! I made the NMSF threshold for my state.

    Make sure to advance to National Merit Finalist, since there are more colleges that offer big scholarships for National Merit Finalist.

    * Florida public universities (Benacquisto)
    * Arizona public universities (full tuition -- but remaining costs are more than $10k; see question below)
    * various others

    Is the $10k the limit of your parents' contribution (so that you could extend the net price to about $15k if you take federal direct loans or contribute some part time work earnings, or a few thousand more if you do both), or is it the limit of the total net price (implying a parent contribution of $0, so that you would need federal direct loans and some part time work earnings for the $10k)?

    The $10k is the limit of my parents contribution (which means I can extend the net price to $15k).
    · Reply · Share
  • baeriabaeria 57 replies1 threads Junior Member
    ucbalumnus wrote: »
    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/financial-aid-scholarships/2154331-looking-for-advice-in-merit-aid-for-a-top-1-student-p1.html is a long thread from a parent whose student needed to chase merit scholarships under a low price limit (not possible on need-based financial aid alone).

    You may find it interesting, though you may want to be aware of the differences:
    * Your price limit of $10k appears somewhat lower.
    * You have NMSF and should be able to advance to NMF, opening more scholarship opportunities.
    * You intend to major in physics, which is different from the other student's interest in an engineering major (good colleges for physics are not necessarily the same as good colleges for engineering).

    @ucbalumnus Thanks for the thread link! I have gone through a few pages of the thread before but there are around 80 pages so lots more to go through! What are your tips for going from NMSF to NMF?
    · Reply · Share
  • baeriabaeria 57 replies1 threads Junior Member
    blossom wrote: »
    Which of the public NJ campuses are commutable for you?

    The only really is Rutgers NB and RVCC which is 30 minutes away. The others are more than an 1 hour away. Is that considered commutable?
    · Reply · Share
  • baeriabaeria 57 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Eeyore123 wrote: »
    UChicago displays on their website merit awards upto $10k. However, they will go above that level (I have seen a letter above that amount). Also, they stack merit awards on top of financial aid awards including the parent contribution. This is very important for students that could get some FA but that will not get them down to what their family can actually pay.

    If you are an NSF, I would strongly suggest using University of Alabama as a safety school. If their NMF award stays the same, you will below $10k ( close to $0). Apply early September and you will have an acceptance in hand a few weeks later. Also apply for their Randell Research Scholar Program. That program really change the experience at UA. I believe there is a poster on this site that had a son in Physics at UA that did really well in grad school admissions. Was it @Mom2aphysicsgeek ?

    Based on my personality type (INTP) and other things, UChicago seems like a great fit. I will definitely apply there. UAlabama seems really good for a safety, but I have heard really good things about UArizona's physics department.
    · Reply · Share
  • baeriabaeria 57 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Diaz42 wrote: »
    Hey @baeria I was recently looking at GA Tech's website and noticed they give out a few full ride merit scholarships. It would be really hard to get but your qualifications are strong so I think you should apply. Gl!

    Thanks for sharing! Also, since I am interested in astrophysics should I apply under that major or just general physics?
    · Reply · Share
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83881 replies744 threads Senior Member
    baeria wrote: »
    The $10k is the limit of my parents contribution (which means I can extend the net price to $15k).

    That can help bring more colleges into affordability.
    baeria wrote: »
    @ucbalumnus Thanks for the thread link! I have gone through a few pages of the thread before but there are around 80 pages so lots more to go through! What are your tips for going from NMSF to NMF?

    https://nationalmerit.imodules.com/s/1758/images/gid2/editor_documents/merit_r_i_leaflet.pdf are the instructions. More information from here and pages linked from here: https://www.nationalmerit.org/s/1758/interior.aspx?sid=1758&gid=2&pgid=434
    baeria wrote: »
    blossom wrote: »
    Which of the public NJ campuses are commutable for you?

    The only really is Rutgers NB and RVCC which is 30 minutes away. The others are more than an 1 hour away. Is that considered commutable?

    Rutgers New Brunswick is good college to have as a nearby commutable college. However, it looks like in-state tuition and fees are about $15k, plus $1-2k books. That may be doable if your parents will pretend that your live-at-home (food and utilities) and commuting costs are $0, but would be an issue if those costs are added for the purpose of determining affordability. Of course, it could be more affordable if you earn a scholarship (if you have the option of commuting, you may not need as big a scholarship than if you did not have the commuting option).

    RVCC would be about $10k cheaper than Rutgers for the first two years, but you appear to be quite advanced in several subjects, so it may not be a particularly good option from an academic standpoint (seems like if you have already completed calculus BC, you may be taking college sophomore math like multivariable calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations at RVCC during 12th grade).

    An hour commute is doable, but generally considered undesirable.
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  • Erin's DadErin's Dad 34149 replies4931 threads Super Moderator
    What are your tips for going from NMSF to NMF?
    15/16 students who make NMSF also make NMF. Those who don't generally have behavior or other types of issues or don't fill out all the supporting documentation as required in the links @ucbalumnus reported.
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  • CollegeMamb0CollegeMamb0 96 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Current Alabama NMF Package:

    - Value of tuition for up to five years or 10 semesters for degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate (or law) studies
    - Four years of on-campus housing at regular room rate* (based on assignment by Housing and Residential Communities)
    - $3,500 per year Merit Scholarship stipend for four years.**
    - One-time allowance of $2,000 for use in summer research or international study (after completing one year of study at UA)
    - $2,000 book scholarship ($500 per year for four years)

    Here is the Randall Research Scholars info: https://honors.ua.edu/programs/randall-research-scholars-program/

    Do everything you need to do to get NMF as it will open up lots of opportunities, including UA being an affordable safety for you.

    Do NOT take more than the federal loans!

    Good luck!
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