Chance Me - Pre-Med Colleges!

Demographics

  • US domestic (US citizen or permanent resident) or international student
    US Citizen
  • State/Location of residency: (state is important if you apply to any state universities)
    Maryland
  • Type of high school (current college for transfers):
    Public, T-1000 in country
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity (optional):
    Male, Caucasion
  • Other special factors (first generation to college, legacy, athlete, etc.):
    Legacy to WashU
    Intended Major(s)
    Biology
    GPA, Rank, and Test Scores
  • Unweighted HS GPA:
    3.92 UW
  • Weighted HS GPA (incl. weighting system):
    5.3 weighted on a 6.0 Scale (converted to 4.43 using CollegeVine Calc)
  • College GPA (for transfers):
  • Class Rank:
    Not reported, but should be top 10% I believe
  • ACT/SAT Scores:
    1430 SAT (770 reading/writing, 660 Math). Retaking in August, expecting a 730+math

Coursework
(AP/IB/Dual Enrollment classes, AP/IB scores for high school; also include level of math and foreign language reached and any unusual academic electives; for transfers, describe your college courses and preparation for your intended major(s))
9: 1 AP (Environmental), almost all honor other classes

10: 2 AP (CS Principles and Biology), and pretty much all other honor classes

11: 5 APs (CSA, APUSH, Psych, Physics I, English 11), some standard classes (needed to graduate) and some honor classes filling the other gaps

12 (expected): 3 APs (English 12, Calc AB, Econ). I decided to pick classes I know I’m genuinely going to enjoy, such as anatomy and finance

Important to note, I took an online chemistry class through BYU freshman year to be eligible for AP BIology as a sophomore, which I completed and was indeed the only sophomore in my class. Junior year I found out the credit from BYU isnt valid by my highschool and it was removed from my transcript. I would of taken AP Chem as a a senior, but I need to take GT Chemistry first. Since this isnt possible since Im about to be a senior, im taking GT chem as a senior. I could use advice as to whether or not to report the class, as I did get a B, which would bring down my GPA.

Awards
Umm honestly not many unfortunately. States 2x in a row for science olympiad. Won a few powerlifting competitions. Was given a “Student of the year award” by my english teacher, which is something i guess.
Extracurriculars
(Include leadership, summer activities, competitions, volunteering, and work experience)
Freshman year I joined some environmental competition clubs, but that was really it. Sophomore year I joined clay club, Science national honor society, science Olympiad, and coding club. Junior year I was promoted to officer in Science National Honor Society, and took over as president of Science Olympiad. I also joined coding club, HOSA, and co-founded a standardized test study/tutor club. Outside of school, I took up powerlifting at the end of 10th grade and have one many competitions, started working a part time job at a vet clinic doing bloodwork, and started doing competition Brazilian Jiu-jitsu almost every single day. I also do landscaping for an elderly family friend a few times a week. I have a small shop on etsy and ebay where I sell things, usually making around 200 dollars a month from that.
Essays/LORs/Other
(Optionally, guess how strong these are and include any other relevant information or circumstances.)
Essays: Haven’t started lol, trying to get in contact with some of my teachers for some help first haha.
LOR: I havent actually asked teachers yet, I want to have my final list of colleges ready. I plan on asking my English teacher from 10th who is a family friend and got a 99% in all quarters of her class, as well as received the “Star student” and “Student of the year” award from, which every teacher can only give to one student they have per year. Second teacher is from my AP Bio teacher from sophomore year, whose class I was the only sophomore in and got a 94+ each quarter, as well as had this previous year that I also did very well in. He was one of those teachers who gives you his number and allows us to text him questions and hang out in his room, which I think left a lasting impression. I had him as a junior this previous year as well for biotechnology.
Cost Constraints / Budget
(High school students: please get a budget from your parents and use the Net Price Calculators on the web sites of colleges of interest.)
I plan to go to med school, so I dont want to pay a ridiculous amount. I have around 70k in college savings, and dont want to go toooo much in debt.
Schools
(List of colleges by your initial chance estimate; designate if applying ED/EA/RD; if a scholarship is necessary for affordability, indicate that you are aiming for a scholarship and use the scholarship chance to estimate it into the appropriate group below)

  • Safety (certain admission and affordability)
    University of Wisconsin-Madison
    Texas A&M
    Elon University
    University of Pittsburg
  • Match
    North Carolina State
    Wake Forest
    Boston College
    Syracuse University
  • Reach
    University of Texas in Austin
    Boston University
    Vanderbilt University
    Duke University
    Washington University in SL

If you have only $70,000 in the bank, how will any of these colleges be affordable for four years? You have a bunch of OOS publics and a bunch of privates all which will be costly. What amount can your family contribute annually to fund your college costs!

I personally think Pitt is a match not a safety. And I think BC is a reach not a match.

I guess I wonder why UMD isn’t on your list?

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I have been thinking about adding UMD. I personally really want to leave the state just to be a little more away from home. Honestly im really struggling with finding any colleges I genuinly like, and dont know how to go about finding better safeties and matches that are more affordable. My guidance counselors pretty much said I was on my own and my parents work 15 hours a day. Any advice is a appreciated haha.

@Kzibell the very first thing you need to do is get an annual college budget from your parents. Without that, any suggestions are a shot in the dark here.

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My dad and step dad both make over 250k+ a year. I really want to keep it under 20-30k a year after scholarships. I dont want to be in a ton of debt before med school, but owing some is okay.

With your family income, it sounds like you need to be looking for schools with great merit aid.

Look at ASU, U of Arizona, U of Alabama, U of New Mexico. It’s very possible that with their auto merit, you will come in at your price point.

As an aside, you can be a pre-med intention at just about any college.

UW Madison will cost you about 50k a year OOS. I would say its a match, not a safety.

Thanks thats super helpful!

50K is a maybe a bit to much. I think Im struggling with discerning between a safety, match, and reach. What are the criteria you generally use to differentiate between them?

The universities that you have listed are great for premed if you ignore costs.

UMD is also great for premed. You are in-state.

Medical school is really, really expensive.

I will admit that my experience in this area mostly comes from what I have read on CC, plus having a daughter who is starting a DVM program in late August (really soon now). DVM admissions is not identical to medical school admissions, but it is similar and there is a LOT of overlap in the premed / prevet requirements. Because of this my daughter knows quite a few premed students who she met in her classes.

My daughter attended a university that is barely NOT in the top 100 in the US, but that has very good premed and animal science programs. She found that premed classes were full of VERY strong students. She found great professors. She did really well in DVM admissions and will be attending a “top 5 in the world” program.

You do not need to attend a “top 50” university to do well in medical school admissions. You do need to do very well in very tough classes. You need to get quite a bit of relevant experience in medical situations. You need to avoid debt if you can.

To me this implies that undergraduate admissions for a premed student should be boring. There is something to be said for coming in near the top of the class at an affordable in-state university when your goal is to graduate near the top of the class from an affordable university.

UMD is a great school and should be affordable for you. WUSTL is a great school and would be great if it is affordable. Your being legacy is likely to help with admissions when combined with your strong GPA.

If I were you I would run the NPCs, and drop everything that would leave you with any debt. Also, given that you have both a dad and a step-dad, I am going to guess that your parents might be divorced and therefore you should be aware that the NPC might not be accurate. Reality might be worse than the NPC predictions.

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NC State is over $47,000 a year.

Pitt is over $45,000.

You can look up the cost of attendance for any of these colleges.

Are any on this current list going to be affordable for you?

Adding…if the net price calculator specifically asks for incomes from step parents and non-custodial parent, it might….might be a decent estimate. Most NPCs do not do this.

With a step parent with $250,000 in income, it’s unlikely you would qualify for need based aid anywhere on this list of schools.

The schools that use the FAFSA only won’t consider the income from the parent you don’t live with this year. But those schools don’t meet full financial need.

The parent info will be changing for divorced families likely for the 2023-24 school year. When this happens, the FAFSA will be asking for the parent who has the higher income. But in your case, it sounds like either way, you are looking at parents income that is in the $250,000 a year range.

You need to look where you will have either a guarantee or strong chance for merit aid as family finances don’t factor into this.

With no Cs, you seem to have a good shot at Florida State in state tuition. Florida’s in state tuition is one of the lowest in the nation. Florida and Purdue are very good values OOS. Maryland is also a great value with in state tuition. Maybe your parents would pay for in state tuition and R&B and agree to leave the $70k for med or other graduate school.

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OK - everyone has already told you about costs - and you are right to say, I’m going to med school so I don’t want to go in debt. So you need to rearrange your list:

  1. Add a Maryland public - UMD is the obvious but if that’s not your flavor you have UMBC, Towson, St. Mary’s for small, Salisbury, etc.

  2. You need to add schools that will go heavy merit with your stats - FSU was mentioned, Alabama, Arizona, ASU to a lesser extent (Honors at both), U of South Carolina (and Honors), Arkansas, MS State, Miami of Ohio, etc.

As for your schools, i’ll say:

Your safeties, including Pitt, are safeties. Elon gives little aid as does Wisconsin. Pitt gives good aid only if you are an underrepresented minority.

Match - NC State and Syracuse - both not easy - but both are safeties for you. Syracuse will be $50K even with a scholarship - so take it off. Wake and BC should be considered reaches but you have a decent shot to both.

Reach - I agree.

Your list is great - unfortunately it’s not affordable. Tons of smart kids go to big publics and then use the Honors College as a way to “shrink” the school. Then you have a great school like FAU which has the Wilkes college, a separate campus from the biggies.

If you want to go to a private school like a BC or SU, you need to find one where you stand above the crowd so they’ll pay. Or one that offers a full tuition deal like SMU or Washington & Lee (Johnson). But run the NPC on Bradley - they love to have kids like you. Also, a lot of smaller privates, like Hendrix, will match your in-state tuition cost.

Just remember, your schedule, GPA and MCAT matter far more than where you go.

Good luck.

Most of your reaches are very high reaches; Wake and BC are likely closer to reach than match, etc. The bigger issue is you cannot afford most of these places given what you have stated.

Think long and hard about UMD: it is a great in-state school for you, more likely to be affordable for you, and plenty of people go to med school from there and end up very successful.
For Wake, BC, and three of your high reaches, Duke, Vanderbilt and WashU, (and others on here, I just know these well), you will be full-pay and will not qualify for need based aid and will not have any realistic chance at merit aid. The merit aid is rare at those places and is only considered for tippy-top students which you do not appear to be: ie, taken the MOST rigorous course load compared to your classmates, and in the 99th%ile on standardized scores etc, AND stand out phenomenally in other ways(national award, extreme musical talent, likely to be described by teachers as the few-in -a lifetime kids).

You need to major in something that will also bring in a livable wage just in case you don’t get into med school. It happens more often than not. Your GPA, MCAT, experience and volunteering could be perfect and you still may not get in. There is limited space in the med schools everywhere.

There are hundreds of thousands of med school aspirants who didn’t get in and ended up with a biology degree. The BLS lists the kinds of jobs that degree will employ: Field of degree: Biology : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Agree with everyone that you need to keep costs on the “down low”.
We’ve just been through this entire process and our daughter just graduated. Her entering class was 130 students (that’s from thousands of perfect applicants).
Your costs will be well over $250K- to $300K + dollars, easily.

Edited to add: the majority of med schools wont provide scholarship dollars. My daughter’s roommates were on LOANS, LOANS, and more LOANS. They didn’t want to be on loans but didn’t have a choice because neither they, nor their parents had the savings.
We were fortunate that we had saved money, and, our daughter attended undergrad instate, so we didn’t spend a “lot” of money on her expenses.

I have a D who graduated from Vandy in May and is heading to a top medical school. She is fortunate to have a full tuition scholarship at Vandy and she enjoyed her 4 years at Vandy very much. But Vandy is very much into stat and as it is now, I don’t see Vandy being a viable option for you.

In addition, I want to let you know for those reach schools, even if you get in, the weeding process is real and you will need to get good grades on premed classes as well as your major classes. D has fellow scholarship winner friends who have to reapply medical school the next cycle, or has known upperclassmen who did post bac before they can apply. And many of her friends also dropped premed after a year or two. Going to a competitive school is not necessarily a good thing.

Best of luck to you!

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Doubtful that you will get financial aid, as it appears that your dad makes over $250K per year. I don’t think that your step-dad’s income will count towards your EFC however. How much can your mom pay per year?

Note that for loans, as a first year undergrad you will be limited to $5500 max. Since many of the schools you are applying to probably won’t give you any need-based aid, that leaves a big gap. Thats why some of the posters above were encouraging you to look into colleges that offer merit scholarships. Otherwise you may be accepted to some of these colleges, but they will end up being unaffordable.

For a pre-med, you want to aim for as high of a GPA and MCAT as possible. As long as you get good grades in the science classes, you can major in anything. Being a non-bio major will help you stand out. Going to a smaller liberal arts type school can also help, especially because you’ll get to know your profs better. Being at the top of the class at a smaller college is better than being middle of the pack at a place like state U.

Given all of this, have you considered places like: Loyola Maryland, McDaniel, Scranton, St Joe’s, York, etc. You would probably get a lot of merit aid at these colleges. And you have a decent chance of being at the top of your class.

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Step dad’s income will be part of the EFC calculation for most schools which require the CSS Profile (which quite a few of the schools on OP’s list do require).

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I’ll start with the downers:
Your list is mostly unaffordable.
Think about majoring in something else than biology (cf. the link provided above). What about chemistry or physics, would you be able to handle that?

However, good for you:
-you have about 25k per year and your parents can probably pitch in some on top of that, so you can afford most instate public universities without debt, and that’s huge.

  • your stats are excellent and will get you merit at several OOS universities, though not the ones you listed.
    Then, UArizona, Arizona State, USC Columbia, UNew Mexico – all for their honors colleges.

So, UMD with one of the scholars communities + another instate public of your choice would be your logical safeties -academically strong and affordable.
Express interest and run the NPC on Muhlenberg, UScranton, Dickinson, Skidmore, Centre, St Olaf.

Pitt will only offer scholarships if you hit 1480-1500, no telling if even those scores will be enough to make it affordable. Your next test results will tell you whether it’s even worth it to apply.

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