Does ACT of 35 impact financial aid?

My daughter just got her ACT scores and got a composite of 35 (individual scores 34 to 36). We live in VA. She had been looking at the VA public colleges. She is interested in colleges in this region (NC, TN, MD, etc). Would any of the private or out-of-state colleges in this area be likely to give scholarships that would make the prices comparable with UVa? (She had straight As until last year, when she struggled with remote learning and got a B and a C in two classes - not sure how that will impact acceptances.)

It will impact merit, not need based aid.

Do you know that she’ll get into UVA? UVA is larger - what type of private colleges would you be looking at? You have great schools in VA and that’s beyond the big 3 - a school like Christopher Newport is underrated.

Your daughter would get money at UTK, Alabama (they publish a GPA/ACT table), Auburn, perhaps a Maryland school that’s not UMD, WVU and perhaps at a NC school that’s not UNC or NC State.

When you say she got a B and C and the rest are As - depending on rigor, she’ll be fine.

There’s a lot of private schools in the area you are mentioning. So if she’s a “superior” student for that school, she’ll likely get money. For example, a Rhodes in Memphis, Hendrix in Arkansas or Ogelthorpe in GA which may match UVAs tuition for you or a Goucher in MD.

What type of school is she looking for - size, greek/no greek, major…and what’s her GPA and what type of rigor - i.e. is she taking AP classes. If not, is it because her school doesn’t offer them or she just chose to take them.

Are you open to schools further away?


West Virginia has scholarship chart, COA would be less than UVA.
Salisbury is similar COA as UVA, could be less with scholarship.
St Mary’s College of MD, possible scholarship if top 15% class rank.
Would be in running for Presidential Scholarship ($30k)at Loyola Uni. Maryland.

Maybe Washington College.
See Stamps Scholarship at Elizabethtown if student has leadership or service ecs, too. Only 7 given The Stamps Scholars Program at Elizabethtown College - Elizabethtown College

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Absolutely. Depending on GPA, she will get close to a free ride at University of Alabama. Clemson may give enough to have it equal in state in Virginia. My son’s test score seemed to be the determining factor on why he got a scholarship vs classmates with equal grades who did not. My son got large scholarships at both. We have free tuition in Georgia so not enough but still very generous.

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Thanks for the detailed answer! She doesn’t have a lot of preference except a strong science program. She’s a little nerdy and would do better someone with less focus on partying and more on well-equipped labs. I think her GPA is 4.4 (weighted) or in that ballpark at least. She has loaded up on AP/dual enrollment classes. My preference is for her to go somewhere where freshman undergrads can still go to the professors for help instead of being in classes with 500 other kids (so I’m not a big fan of Va Tech). I think she would like to be driving distance from home. I don’t know that she will get into UVa, though I think she has a reasonable chance, so I’ll trying to identify some other options. Thanks for the help!

So to me what you are seeking is an LAC because they are known to focus on teaching and not research. There’s no guarantees, of course, that smaller means better access but that’s their premise.

My son goes to Bama. He has a hard time with access. But honestly, he makes every excuse why he can’t get there to get access.

You might be ok at public schools in their Honors programs - both South Carolina nd Charleston are strong. My daughter is a Charleston fellow and while the school is ranked less high, she’s already had a lot of 1:1 and hasn’t even started yet. Lots of advising and they are the academic face of the school UMD has great programs - but I’m not sure how “small” it can get. Miami of Ohio would reward you handsomely and they are known for teaching quality.

So I’d look at LACs - and there’s a lot that offer merit aid.

W&L right in your home state is very aggressive - but being from VA, you’re unlikely. They do, for example, have a scholarship for a Jewish student in addition to the Johnson.

Davidson offers some scholarships but there is a limited amount so it’s unlikely.

Richmond is another to look at. Bryn Mawr for a female school although it has cross registration with Swarthmore and Haverford.

Others would be Kenyon (Ohio), Dennison (Ohio), Bucknell, Lafayette, Trinity, Dickinson, Sewanee and the list can go on and on. Even lesser rated schools such as Randolph Macon can get aggressive. If you go to Maryland, there’s Goucher, Washington College - there’s really so many options and it’d grow if you expanded your geographic reach.

Plane or go, what’s the difference.

But one can’t assume that profs at a LAC will be more accessible although that’s the common perception.

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Take a look at universities offering REUs

Some LAC students go on to apply.
An example

“Five Students Awarded NSF Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowships

This summer five Mount students are completing Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF)…. are participating in active research at REU sites across the country at University of Georgia, University of Massachusetts Amherst, State University of New York (SUNY) Binghamton, Penn State University and University of Tennessee, respectively.

Mount students who were awarded these prestigious fellowships are researching and developing detection methods of the COVID-19 virus, new alternatives for solar power production, improved methods to prepare complex drug molecules like pharmaceuticals and natural products, and the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis. Each REU-Site consists of a group of approximately 10 undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution; each student is associated with a specific research project where they work closely with the faculty and other researchers. Fellowships include stipends and funds for housing and travel.”

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Her 35 ACT and excellent GPA should put her in a good place for merit awards.

Read this thread:

This student got the McNair Scholarship at University of South Carolina. Their annual budget was lower than the instate cost of UVA. She had a lot of good options…and many that would be affordable for you but were not for Kevin.

Lots of good suggestions on the thread for chasing merit awards.

Will your kiddo be a national merit scholar? Did she do well on the PSAT her junior year?

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Unfortunately the school didn’t offer the PSAT her junior year due to Covid… Thank you for sharing that thread, lots of good info!

Check out undergrad research at Christopher Newport Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity - Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity - Christopher Newport University

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