Early applications and scholarships

Hi All! Seeking clarification on the general admission/scholarship process. I realize each school has their own process, but trying to make sure we understand the big picture and general overall process. My daughter has been encouraged to apply early (by September) because her major fills at the schools she is looking at. There are a number of honors that she is a candidate for that aren’t awarded until later (after early admissions). So, do students apply without those honors (College Board National Recognition Program, National Merit) and get admitted and then once they are awarded the CBNRP and/or NM then they are awarded the corresponding scholarships even though it wasn’t on their application when they applied? Do they note the applicant/candidate/pending approval status on their application even though it hasn’t been awarded yet? Do colleges get notified by CB and NM or do students update their application and notify the school of their honors received after applying? Then do students wait till they have all the information about acceptance and scholarships that trickle in before deciding and accepting ultimately which school they will attend?

Yes, she should apply early where she can. Posters can help more if you tell us the schools/programs she is targeting. Some schools offer NMF scholarships, many don’t.

Unless she applies ED and is accepted, she will be able to compare admission and financial offers. Most schools have a deadline of May 1 to accept their offer of enrollment.

She can update the admissions people at each school if she is awarded CBNRP (I assume she’s a minority?) and/or becomes a national merit finalist. She can include her PSAT score in her application and note she is a likely national merit finalist (but doesn’t have to do this)…see projected cutoffs here: National Merit Semifinalist Cutoffs Class of 2022 - Compass Education Group

If she does achieve NMF, she has until May 31 2022 to identify her first choice school (your D will have all her admission results by then).

Thank you. She is applying to Texas A&M (visualization major) which offers a guaranteed $6000 per year for 4 years for CBNRP. Yes, she was invited by the college board to apply and did and meets all the criteria and awards will be announced in the fall. She is a candidate for NM too. Other schools she is applying to include SMU (creative computing), UTDallas (ATEC), and UT Austin (AET). She has been recruited by A&M and we went to their parent program recently for an overnight program and got the whole tour and Aggie experience for 24 hours. So far it’s her top choice. But we haven’t toured the others yet. They are scheduled. She has been invited to be a Mustang for a day and we will go to SMU for that in a couple weeks for a day program & tour. This whole process is so new to me. I never even did any college tours when I was a student. I lived in Tempe AZ at the time so I just applied to my local college (ASU) and went. I didn’t even have to write an essay. :grinning: That said, I didn’t have the academic merit that my daughter does and so I didn’t get any scholarships (and didn’t qualify for aid). So I worked to pay my expenses. Focusing on Scholarship $$$$ for my daughter so she doesn’t have to work her way through school like I did.

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Have you run the schools’ net price calculators (on each school’s site)? Here are a few:



Note the NPCs may not be accurate if parents are divorced, own a business, or own real estate beyond a primary home.

UT Dallas is generous for NMFs: Full tuition plus $4K per semester for other expenses plus $1.5K housing stipend. Honors Homepage - The University of Texas at Dallas

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Thank you. Yes I have run the calculators. We don’t qualify for any aid. The net calculators show us paying the full cost. SMU is only an option if she lands a full tuition or very near full tuition scholarship. We met with a college advisor who suggested she apply at the private like SMU, TCU, etc because they do give very generous merit scholarships that aren’t need based that bring the tuition down to what you would pay at the public universities. So that is the only reason she is applying at SMU. She wants to stay in state. Arizona actually has really good CBNRP scholarships. But she wants to stay in Texas where we live now.

MWFAN1921: Appreciate the info. I was stuck on wondering if the scholarships would be offered based on what was in her application. It sounds like scholarships will be offered based on information even if it comes in after her early application. I guess we should be in communication with the financial aid office after acceptance to make sure she is considered for all relevant scholarships?

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Correct. If schools offer scholarships based on NM, they know that the designation as finalist/scholar doesn’t come out until after the application deadline.

You might check out the National Merit forum for more insight as to how the timing and scholarships work. You can search in last year’s thread by the name of the school(s) you are interested in.

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The deadline to declare 1st choice varies between schools. Some schools want you to list them as your first choice as early as March.