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Creating list of colleges to look at--won't go without scholarship

245

Replies to: Creating list of colleges to look at--won't go without scholarship

  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon Registered User Posts: 12,128 Senior Member
    Excellent western merit aid schools include : Occidental, USC, Colorado College, Whitman, CMcKenna, Scripps, USD, Santa Clara, U of P, UPS, Lewis and Clark, Willamette but I get the feeling that of these Occidental may be the only one with any allure to the OP's kid. Also, many of them cap merit at half-tuition.

    Drawing an arbitrary line and redlining the south is certainly a choice. As is omitting sport-y schools. It's just not a prudent one if you are looking at the best schools at the best prices. JMO. Vandy, Emory, Georgia Tech, USC, UMiami, Tulane, Wake, UVA, UNC, Duke the list goes on and on. And that's without mentioning the LAC's.
  • midmomidmo Registered User Posts: 3,720 Senior Member
    sharonohio, you might want to add Rice Univ. to your list of possibles. Like some of the other schools on your list, including Chicago, Wash U, JHU, CMU and Vanderbilt, merit scholarship requirements seem to go beyond in-class/in-school academic records and activities. Significant leadership experience, independent science/engineering research, unusual extracurriculars; these are some of the strengths of those students I know who were awarded merit money last year at Rice, Wash U, Vanderbilt, JHU, U Chicago.

    I think you should keep in mind that even 1/3 and 1/2 tuition scholarships will probably leave you with greater than 20K to pick up. You need to include all fees in your calculations and be aware that room and board charges vary quite a bit. The NMF stipend at the top-ranked schools on your list is generally only 1 or 2K per year. It is 5K per year at Vanderbilt, unless you get another merit award from them, in which case it is reduced to 2K per year.

    Take the time to talk to faculty and administrators at Vanderbilt; have your daughter sit in on some classes. My son did not think he would fit in until he visited a couple of times, met professors, attended classes and spent some time with other students. He likes it there, is carving out a very ambitious academic program for himself, has found quite a few fellow students with similar academic inclinations, and finds the faculty very accessible. (He is pursuing majors in engineering and arts and sciences, and has classes in both colleges.)

    He isn't into sports as much as many of the other students at Vanderbilt are, but I don't think it is a negative that his friends encourage him to get out and exercise. I'd call the student body "active" but not "nuts" over sports.

    You mention that you think your daughter would not like attending school in the south. I myself attended school in the frozen north and the brisk northeast, so going south was new to us also. The southern approach to university life has not been a problem in the least for my son. Nashville is a pretty cosmopolitan place. About half of the undergraduates at Vanderbilt are from other parts of the country, and certainly the faculty is not particularly southern. What IS traditionally southern is the friendliness and the great concern the faculty and administrators show for each and every undergraduate.
  • anxiousmomanxiousmom Registered User Posts: 5,887 Senior Member
    Definitely have your D apply to Harvard, Yale and maybe princeton. Although you say that you don't qualify for financial aid, have you checked out the new 10% contribution deal at Harvard? Even people with income in the high $170,00 qualify for aid. Also, second the Rice U recommendation. They are increasing their merit aid...
  • dbwesdbwes Registered User Posts: 1,660 Senior Member
    Miami of Ohio is a beautiful school, but isn't it a little preppy/party for your D?
  • boysx3boysx3 Registered User Posts: 5,164 Senior Member
    While the scholarships are very competitive, your daughter might want to consider applying to the Emory Scholars program at Emory. She looks like she would certainly be competitive in that pool, and you never know...

    Rice is also excellent with merit money for your daughter.

    I know a lot of happy students at both schools.
  • rorosenrorosen Registered User Posts: 940 Member
    what do drunken sailors invest in?
  • blackeyedsusanblackeyedsusan Registered User Posts: 2,521 Senior Member
    Midmo and boysx3 beat me to the punch ... I was also going to suggest Rice. There's really nothing southern about the feel of Rice -- but it is a friendly, collaborative, dynamic, inclusive environment. They have some wonderful merit scholarships and a wealth of research opportunities for undergrads. Carnegie Mellon, on the other hand, is very stingy with merit aid (and it's almost impossible to get unless you're a female in a male dominated school, like Computer Science, or you're a minority).
  • menloparkmommenloparkmom Registered User Posts: 12,916 Senior Member
    USC offers 1/2 tuition for NMFinalists, and the opportunity to win a full tuition scholarship after an interview. [That's what my son has] Be SURE she gets her application in by the early Dec deadline. USC has the Thorton School of Music, which is one of the best conservatory programs on the west coast.[ another reason he chose USC over many other more highly ranked schools]
    Re sports; as a student at USC, it isn't hard to ignore the sports hoopla there if you want to. [Feel free to PM me if you have questons about USC and U Chicago, which my son attended for 1 qtr, before returning to USC]
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,441 Senior Member
    "what do drunken sailors invest in?"

    Walt Disney or InBev stock.
  • worknprogressworknprogress Registered User Posts: 1,536 Senior Member
    I know you don't think she would be happy in the south - but Richmond is beautiful and the Richmond Scholars program is outstanding.
  • wjbwjb Registered User Posts: 2,908 Senior Member
    Brandeis sounds like a great fit for your D, and Brandeis offers fantastic merit aid to top students: Brandeis Admissions | Costs/Financial Aid | Scholarships
    In a sleepy-ish suburb of Boston, but with easy access to the city. Great performing arts opportunities. Definitely not a school with a strong athletic culture.
  • Muffy333Muffy333 Registered User Posts: 2,108 Senior Member
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/30/magazine/30neurosis-t.html?_r=1&ref=magazine&oref=slogin

    Did you read this NYT magazine article about a girl who tried to get a free ride at a bunch of top colleges. Sounded exhausting.
  • NewHope33NewHope33 Registered User Posts: 6,208 Senior Member
    Sharon,

    Curmudgeon is very (no, make that VERY) knowlegeable about merit aid. So I won't attempt to better his suggestions on the topic.

    What I would suggest though, is assembling one of those "bottom up" lists where every school on the list is loved by your D. The reason is that many schools tend to love applicants that love the school, and it can be hard to "show the love" for a school that's on the list primarily because of it's merit aid policy. JMHO.

    Congrats to your D on her 36 ACT, and best of luck with her list.
  • bethievtbethievt Registered User Posts: 6,759 Senior Member
    She might be very interested in Lewis & Clark or Goucher. Both give good merit aid, are near cities and looked great to us. Or Clark U in MA.
  • carolyncarolyn Registered User Posts: 7,435 Senior Member
    She might also take a look at the University of San Diego (not University of California, San Diego, but the private Catholic university). Very good science programs, including many research opportunities, and some decent merit possibilities for someone with her stats.

    USC already mentioned is another very good possibility for merit money. Willamette in Oregon and Whitman in Washington State would be my top picks for biology with merit money in the pacific northwest. Whitman, in particular, might be a very solid fit - excellent academics, good track record with graduate schools, and one of the most active theater programs in the country. Definitely worth a look.

    The University of California schools are expensive for out of state students, and offer very little merit money. If you would be open to a Cal State, however, you might look into Cal Poly San Luis Obispo - no merit money, but quite a bit cheaper out of state than the UC's.

    Finally, not yet mentioned, but I'd take a look at the University of Michigan honors college. U Mich is big yes, but a wonderful school for the sciences, and the honors college makes it feel smaller. Some opportunity for good merit money there for top students as well.
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