I'm not sure if I'm looking at the right colleges and undergraduate Neuroscience programs/majors...

I’m a senior in high school who’s been wanting to go into the field of neuroscience since almost the time I started high school. I want to study the brain and nervous system, not to find out how exactly things work, (although that is essential) but what else we can do that we don’t know about. I know, it probably seems like a long stretch or maybe even silly vision, but it’s what I’ve been desiring since before I finally figured out what neuroscience was back in freshman year. So the first question I have for you guys is “what exactly would be the field I should go for to get my bachelors degree in to prepare for graduate school? Cognitive science or neuroscience or even something else that’s related? Or even both?” I’ve read a few other threads on undergraduate neuroscience and understand that it’s something more fit for a graduate study, but I reeeaaallly want to just study the brain and the CNS. The second question would be “Are there any current research projects and/or professors aiming in the similar direction that I want to go toward?” Lastly, I live in a household with 0 income and only live with my mom. My mom has disabilities and is unable to work so I wont have any expected family contributions to my college tuition. So in conclusion, are there any colleges that have a neuroscience related major and/or program which has great undergraduate research opportunities and provide a lot of financial aid towards low-income families that you guys would recommend? Answers and tips related to any one of my questions listed above would be more than appreciated :slight_smile:

@EsketitDP48 it would be helpful if you could provide info on your grades/scores so people can try to match you with targets. Also, what type of school - large, small? Any geographic preference? I know that Providence College offers an undergraduate certificate in Neuroscience and I think they try to meet financial need.

Almost every college offers Neuroscience now, so you’re in good shape. Talk to your guidance counselor about reach, safety and match colleges and maybe check out the Princeton Review List on which colleges are known to give the most FA.

These colleges offer well-funded financial aid programs for students in your circumstances:


To get started, you may want to read through the course descriptions at schools such as Bates, Mount Holyoke, Pitzer and Carleton.

Thank you to all that replied so far!
@Momma2018 My current unweighted GPA is 3.81 and I’ve taken almost all of the challenging courses available at my school(around 450 in students) including Honors, AP, and advanced classes. I’m rank 8 in my class of 95(measures unweighted) and as far as size goes, I would prefer having a more advanced facility with more faculty in neuroscience so I guess a larger school would be better. As far as where the college is, I don’t hold a preference. As long as it has what I want, it doesn’t matter to me where it is. Also, I just recently found out that bigfuture has data on most colleges on what their high end of the financial aid that they’re willing to give is so I can take a decently sized list on here and compare them on there so I hope that all helps to narrow down the colleges

You might want to give us an idea of your standardized testing results.

I’m going to be taking the SAT next month and I just took the ACT this last weekend for the second time. My first ACT composite score was 25, but I know I’ll do way better on the one i just took because that was not a good day for me the first time

Be very careful about looking at lists of schools that appear to promise a lot of financial aid until you actually know your estimated family contribution and have run the net price calculators on a few of the college websites with all your family’s financial information in hand.

With your current ACT, those top schools that you see on lists of neuroscience programs are also often ones that meet need, but most, if not all, of them are very competitive, even for kids with 34-36 on the ACT.

One very good school for neuroscience is the University of Alabama Birmingham. It’s not hard to get into but to you need a 28 on the ACT to go directly into their neuroscience program.

Make a list of schools that you have a good shot of getting into that you can afford. Look at your instate options. Even if they don’t have neuroscience, they might offer similar tracks in biology or psychology.

For what it’s worth, I’ve spent a year researching neuroscience options as a lower income mom of a kid with higher stats. Neuroscience as a major is not offered everywhere, and there are not a lot of low cost options. You may have to get creative.

You can take a look at schools on this list: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-global-universities/neuroscience-behavior

If your EFC is zero or near zero, you need to focus on colleges that meet full need. These are highly selective so you must make sure you are 100% in everything you do, starting with NEVER taking a standardized test you’ve not prepared for.
Only about 85 colleges out of 3,700 meet full need. The others may well be out if reaxh financially unless you score very very high on standardized tests.
If you’re dedicated and smart, you need to educate yourself about meet need colleges.
Note that undergrads often have a better shot at research at LACs because professors there are hired based on their willingness and ability to include undergraduates in their research, so, don’t dismiss them.
Borrow a Fiske Guide from your school library and start reading.
BTW, check out AFrenchie36 on tumblr, he studied neuroscience and does research on the topic.
What’s instate for you?

I thought I replied last night on this, but I guess it didn’t post.
I just tried replying again and it didn’t post or save it as a draft

Ok, so my EFC is 0 and I have definitely not closed off the option of a LAC. In fact, I’ve researched almost every one of them that have given me priority status, an invitation to apply, or an invitation to come visit. For financial aid, I used bigfuture.org to compare colleges with some of my requirements and I acknowledge the fact that I need to focus more on those which provide more financial aid. I will use other sites to compare colleges so that I don’t just rely on one site though. As far as my testing scores go, I assure you that I’m doing all I can to get better/good scores. Also, I talked to the head neuroscientist at one of my instate colleges and she said not to go into a generalized biology or psychology program. Even so, if the college I’m researching doesn’t have a closely related neuroscience major, I still look into the biology and psychology programs on the chance that they might have a concentration or research in that area. I checked out that list of neuroscience rankings and I’m very surprised with what I saw. I’ve been looking at other posts with neuroscience-related content and usually what I see is that people claim that UCSF and John Hopkins have the best programs for neuroscience hands down. I’ll check out those other things you guys recommended as well when I get the chance.

Do not waste your time (you may get application fee waived because you are EFC 0) to apply for JHC or UCSF with an ACT 25 as most of the applicants have ACT 36 for those schools. Your in state schools are your most likely schools for your interests and affordable, a lot of state schools has neuroscience major in one way or the other. That subject require advanced degrees to be able to find a job and you really need to perform well in your UG to get it.

If, however, you can advance your standard scores to a much better results. close to ACT 36, please post here and we will make different assessment then.

Will do @artloversplus

If it helps at all, I’ve excelled in numerous extra-cirricular activities and have held leadership positions. Also, I’m a QuestBridge student, but I didn’t participate in the National College Match.

University of California at San Francisco only accepts grad students. Is this the school you researched for grad school?

I did not know that in fact


An ACT of 25 will not get you into any UC’s or most California privates.

Also, if you are not a California resident, you won’t be getting ANY aid from the State of California. Questbridge may not help.

Also, please learn to write in paragraphs.

Apply test optional to Bowdoin. Applying ED would have helped.
Amherst, Brandeis (TO), Bucknell, Bates, Brown, Colby, Colgate, ConnCollege, Dickinson, F&M, Gettysburg, Hamilton, Kenyon, Lafayette, Macalester, Muhlenberg (TO), Pitzer, Skidmore, St Lawrence, Vassar, Wesleyan (TO).

If you’re lower income, applying to UMichigan may be affordable - run the NPC. High reach though, obviously.

I’m not researching grad schools just yet, but I’m open to suggestions on which colleges to not try for until grad school. I just saw this one mentioned in quite a few threads relative to this one.