Mid-sized private colleges in Northeast/Mid-Atlantic/Midwest with merit aid

My husband’s best friend got into Georgetown and a full ride at UDel, parents upper middle class (they were actually friends with my parents do I heard about some of the discussions). Smart guy, took the full ride, went to law school, retired in his 40’s.


I did the same when I went to college. It was a harder path in my chosen field (finance) but ultimately got me to the same destination. Thanks for your input.


W&M is a very good school but gives no merit aid and is a bit pricey out of state. CNU might be a little remote and not particularly diverse. Salisbury probably less than selective, although the right size. Thanks for your input.

Yes I noted u have to hit their home run scholarship for your purpose - the 1693 I believe it’s called.

I mentioned Salisbury bcuz has some Jews.

Don’t mistake selectivity with being good. Elon, Denver, Miami, Charleston and so many more are very solid but easy gets.

The list could be longer but the geography limits it.

Ps if you don’t want remote, take off Miami. CNU is not remote…in a mid size city with an airport. Or you can go to nearby Norfolk for more flights.


Yes, you’re absolutely correct. Rutgers is a very good school and among the most afforable because it is in-state. My daughter is a little apprehensive about the sprawling campus/bus system and would also perhaps like to experience a non-NJ student environment, and perhaps a somewhat smaller institution (although that is up for debate as well, particularly if she can get into to a good honors college which would shrink the universe somewhat).

It is still on our board and she will be applying. It will also be part of the family discussion when it comes time to make a final decision.


Miami (OH) is on the board because it is potentially among the most affordable and a good overall institution. My wife has family 1.5 hours away, even though Oxford is in the middle of nowhere. Quick flight to Cincy or Dayton, then a 1-1.5 hr drive. It’s doable. Midwest kids seem to be particularly down to earth (without meaning to stereotype, although I know definitely am). Just thought it would also be a cultural fit.

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I get it. We applied. If u visit Miami, at least for 2021 admits, they refund the app fee. If u, again for 21, do a pitt online info session, they’ll give u a free code to use. I think hail to pitt or h2pitt.

W&L probably too small and rural but it’s got a law school too to add to the population and VMI near adjacent. It’s worth applying just for Johnson. Get on their info list. They’ll send u a free app waiver. The Hillel is strong but mighty and while we didn’t get Johnson we were an alternate for the Weinstein (free tuition). My daughter was really impressed with the Jewish life and overall vibe. If we won the scholarship (got accepted but full pay) she may have gone. They award big merit to a decent chunk of kids…the Johnson to 10% + other tuition only. With 20 common app slots you might deem it worthy of a Hail Mary even though on paper it’s small and remote. It’s just one more essay plus a short one for Weinstein. The town, lots of good restaurants, is a stumble down the hill.


Miami is 45 mins from the Cincinnati airport, about an hour from the Dayton one. My d goes to Cinci often for concerts, activities, the zoo, etc. She has friends who commute there for internships. Oxford may feel like the sticks but it is really not far from civilization.


Will definitely add Washington and Lee to the list. Might be a long shot to get the scholarship but it’s definitely out there to pursue. My daughter was part of a competitive magnate program focused on law in high school. Might be an angle to consider pursuing given the strong law school and pre-law program at W&L, even though she is currently more interested in biology as a likely career path. Any advice based on how your daughter managed the application process for W&L? Thanks very much for your input!

Well she got in but nada $. There was a choice of questions for Johnson. If I remember she did the if your can create a class what would it be and why. The Weinstein was a tell us about your Jewish life or something like it. She had an essay from 5 other schools, including Pitt, for that one so it took no extra time. Just the interview once they selected you as a finalist. If she’s interested in the law, maybe you can tie it in. Not sure it would help unless she has sincere interest. Any major works for pre law so bio works as well as any other…but only if it’s an interest. Everything should be authentic.

We are a full pay family but I chased merit so she applied at 21 with 17 acceptances and we let her select from 8 or 10 schools under $50k. All had a chance to get there but not all did. Some she eliminated…knew weren’t the right fit in hindsight so it came down to four.

I just don’t see the value as full pay private - that’s just me. We are very lucky In that we accepted a school @$12k merit but somehow got another $25k after accepting. …just no reasonable way to know that would happen and $3k more this year. So we get back $5k more than tuition…at least this year. Pays for a meal plan. Not sure how it will work next when she goes abroad - if we might lose some $$.

Lots of schools have money once you’re in…service scholarships, etc. While my daughter is at a less prestigious school, it’s definitely right for her but I knew that when we first stepped on campus Junior year. . That’s what you want because they are there four years and prestige doesn’t equal a good experience. So take her to schools and find her aha…vs worrying about selectivity. If you’re lucky, she’ll light up on a campus…that’s what you want. My kid had 4 finalists but we knew all along what she’d pick.

If my kid was at W&L, she’s have been involved in the poverty program if that’s something that might interest yours. But at her school she started a club to support afghan refugee resettlement. She loves the concept of Tukkin Olam. So sometimes at a “lesser pedigree’ school you actually have more an opportunity to make an impact. And frankly she’d have gone to W&L for me moreso than herself.

There’s a poster on here with a Johnson winner who has posted more about their experience.

I’d say simply do your best (duh) …ie don’t rush essays and answer them creatively (so that not reading the same essay for the 84th time), honestly, and most importantly authentically…but also look to reuse those you can (making minimal changes). My daughter always had a sentence or two tied to the school she would change to show knowledge and prep. She might highlight the size of the Jewish community and contrast it to the lack of opportunity growing up or note the opportunity between Pitt/cmu or Rice/U Houston, etc. Whether that’s the right way or not, I don’t know but it was for her. …. but assuming you are Jewish (I think), it opens potentially another opportunity beyond Johnson as they want to grow the community and the Weinstein Family offers that from an endowed scholarship POV. And they can always set you up with a student to talk to ensure comfort for your child.

We were impressed from our self visit when a Poli sci prof was on campus with his kids and stopped and talked to my kid for 20 mins to the entire process…just first rate. And with 20 common app slots (we used em all) since we were chasing merit, why not. The worst they can say is no.

Looking forward to seeing how your journey plays out.


My D21 is a Johnson Scholar at W&L. I did not suggest it earlier as it definitely is not a mid-size school. :grinning:

If your D is interested after researching W&L, I’m happy to share our experience. We were a full-pay, donut hole family looking for merit to save $ to assist with med school. My D is a biochem major and poverty studies minor on a premed track. She did a Maymester study abroad, was matched with an internship at a free health clinic this summer (service and patient-facing clinical hours) and has a research position next year, among other opportunities. So it has been a good match for her.


I see “atypical” undergrad majors as a strength, really. This was illustrated during the pandemic. I could really tell the difference between journalists with a strong science background and those without. I think the same would be true of environmental lawyers, or lawyers working for medical device manufacturers etc.


I agree. Actually the first thing I thought for the OP’s D is that she may want to go into healthcare law… I have a feeling there will be a greater need for legal advice for hospitals and healthcare providers in many states.

My D is considering that as a Plan B if med school plans change.