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

I second the Pitt recommendation. They are strong in biology and the school has ties to a world class research hospital. Though it has ~26,000 students, it feels much smaller and the Oakland neighborhood in Pittsburgh is a great student environment. It is next door to CMU, and students can cross register for some programs.

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FYI. Undergrad enrollment at Pitt is under 20k so it’s a smaller public school. If you’re interested in anything medical related it’s hard to beat.

URoch has a vibrant Jewish community, around 10% of students. Seems almost all my d’s friends were Jewish, and she went to Shabbat with them several times (I believe at a professor’s house).

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I appreciate everyone’s input.

If you are looking at large public universities, you might want to add some more Big10 schools: UofM, UofW Madison and UIUC. All are highly ranked with strong Biology departments. UIUC pulls many students from the Chicago metro area, so there will be a diverse student body and a decent Jewish population and supporting orgs like Illini Hillel. UofM is strong in everything, including bio, but they do not have a history of giving much financial aid to OOS students. All three are ranked higher than all the publics listed in the thread.

Thank you for your input.

Already applying to Wisconsin. Hoping for some merit aid (but may not get it).

Michigan doesn’t give any merit aid and tuition is $55k. Illinois is similar to Wisconsin.

Michigan gives merit aid. You just have to apply for it after you are accepted. Out of state can get up to 20k for the most part. There are a couple of 30k scholarships.

Both University of Texas and Texas A&M have large, active Hillels and Jewish sororities and fraternities.
Obviously very large schools, larger than what you’re asking, but don’t discount that southern schools don’t have a large Jewish presence.
I drive by the A&M Hillel complex often, and it is gorgeous!
Good luck college shopping…I hope you find the perfect fit!

Not sure if you looked at Connecticut College - a little smaller than you said with around 2,000 undergrad. However they give great aid, I am going here for cheaper than any state school in CT would have been (from CT). Acceptance rate is around 37%, definitely attainable. It doesn’t feel super academically competitive, and we also get to know our teachers very well! There are lots of research opportunities in our biology department as well!


Would Eckerd College in Florida fit the bill? I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

Thank you for your input!

Coming pretty late to this party (have a junior son (D24), so just starting the process again now) and probably too late now but might help others. I didn’t see any discussion of women’s colleges, so probably not something of interest to your daughter, but FWIW . . .

My D21 wanted east coast / LAC / mid size-small, near a big city and is Jewish. She’s a sophmore at Bryn Mawr. She was interested in the HWCs as well (went to an all-girls’ K-8). Some of the HWCs (except for Barnard and Wellesley) have a very good record of giving merit aid (and a lot of it) to the women with stats in the top of their range as it seems they are trying to lure them from the top 20-30 schools. My daughter had a 33 ACT and an A- average (no AP classes at her small private school, but a very rigorous class schedule).

Here’s what my daughter got offered in merit aid:
Scripps - 0 (but some friends got between $10-15K)
Smith - $15K
Sarah Lawrence - $25K
Bryn Mawr - $30K
Mount Holyoke - $40K

Loves BMC, can take classes at Haverford and Swarthmore, and even Penn. Makes her small school feel much bigger if she wants it to. And she’s an active part of Hillel there (Quaker roots, similar to Friends schools, but no longer attached to the organization). Because of the bi-co/tri-co there are men on campus who take classes, live there, eat there, but she really loves the close nature of the all women’s vibe. She definitely works hard and is very engaged.

Just a thought.
Good luck!

Oh! and acceptance rates are higher (average 35%) than equal quality LACs as only women apply and the ones who do necessarily self-select, so a much smaller pool.


I think URI is a school one should visit before applying. My kids thought it was in the middle of no where…unless you had a car…and they knew they weren’t taking a car to college.


Thank you for your input.