i was just thinking of that thread. i think kevin’s daughter was hispanic; had great stats and several good options at the end including full tuition scholarships from competitive competitions. I think** she ended up at south carolina? is that right?
it was a great thread that year
here’s one of his last posts:
(1) The recommended advice for most students is to apply to about 6-8 schools, and surely no more than 10. Well don’t call me Shirley (Airplane!, anyone?) - we applied to 23. This rubbed against the grain of much of the advice here on CC. Knowing what I do now, would I still have had my daughter apply to this many schools? Absolutely, positively, without a doubt, YES! Had she only applied to 8 schools, she would not have applied to South Carolina or Rose Hulman, the two schools that gave her a full ride.
So yes, apply to a ton of schools - as many as practical. Here’s how I look at it : Suppose you could buy lottery tickets for $100 each. Each lottery ticket gave you between a 2% and 10% chance of being a winning ticket, and a winning ticket was worth anywhere from $50K to $200K. Even with the caveats that each lottery ticket is a couple days worth of work and that you could only cash in exactly one winning lottery ticket, given those odds I would still buy as many tickets as I could.
But choose wisely. For example, there are many public schools that offer automatic scholarships. Definitely apply to a few, but you don’t need to apply to all. For us, schools like Alabama, ASU, Utah, Kentucky, Florida State schools, Nebraska, and several others all offered essentially full tuition or pretty darn close based on her stats. We choose several from this pot to apply to (probably too many), but we obviously didn’t apply to them all.
(2) Be open to just about any school anywhere in the country. Don’t have your heart set on any one school, and don’t fall in love with any one school. Be open to schools that are rural, urban, hot weather, freezing cold weather, close to home, far from home, etc. Make your “fit” as wide as possible.
In our case, we only excluded 2 schools from where my daughter would apply :
(1) Any school in New York City - I took my daughter to NYC for a couple days and she absolutely hated it.
(2) UC Berkeley - It’s a great engineering school here in California, but the political drama and shenanigans that go on there would be absolutely intolerable to either of us.
Any other school was fair game.
(3) If applying to a ton of schools, visiting them all (or even most) before applying is impossible. We didn’t visit the vast majority of schools she applied to - our plan was to wait until she got the awards before visiting them. This will eliminate a bunch of schools - no need to visit a school if it is unaffordable. And some schools that offer the big full ride scholarship competitions will have you come to campus for 2-3 days - there can be no better visit than that!
(4) Realize that more “prestigious” a school is, the smaller the chance is that they will give out a significant merit award. Know full well that you will probably have to turn down acceptances to T20 schools and instead attend a T150 school. In our case, my daughter turned down Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, USC, UCLA, and Northeastern to attend South Carolina. That was initially difficult for me as the parent to accept, but I realize by looking at the entire picture that it was the best choice.
(5) Read up on schools’ websites about merit aid. Some schools make it clear how many awards there are and what the amount of each award is. Many do not.
For example, ASU and Kentucky make it pretty clear what automatic merit awards will be awarded for certain grades, test scores, and/or NMF/NHRP. South Carolina and Miami clearly stated what their big full ride merit award competitions entail.
But on the other hand, many schools are very vague. For example my daughter was awarded a full tuition scholarship to Rose Hulman, and then competed for and won a full room & board scholarship as well, giving her a full ride. But nowhere on their website were these scholarships even listed, nor did RHIT even say that they even had full tuition or full ride scholarships available. Thus, for those where it isn’t clear, you’ll have to investigate further or just roll the dice. A great resource is here on CC - asking questions and searching previous threads.
(6) Look at the number of essays and the prompts required to apply to each school. Figure out how much work will be involved in applying. We applied to some schools only because it was “easy”, such as no additional essays required other than the common app essay, or because some school essay prompts were very similar to other schools, and essays could be reused with very little modifications. On the other hand, there were some schools that we wanted to apply to they but had several essays with unique prompts. We wanted to apply to Kentucky, which in our case had the best automatic merit aid, but the essay prompts were like nothing she had done for any other schools, so because of time constraints we had to eliminate Kentucky.
In effect you have to come up with a “degree of difficulty” for each school’s application. Eliminate schools that are low on the list that have a high degree of difficulty.
ARGH! Looks like it’s gonna have to extend to a 3rd post…"