Questions about declaring a college for NMF

Very new to this and college counselor is not very informed, so I am hoping I can get some clarity from you all, who are a wealth of information! My daughter scored much higher than our state’s cutoff (this year’s at least) and do we are crossing our fingers for national merit status. That said we have 3 colleges on our list that give NMF full-tuition scholarships: University of Kentucky, University of Alabama and Fordham. She is looking at several other small liberal arts schools as well and we are busy trying to fit the visits in this year as she is a 3 season varsity athlete. We may not get to visit Alabama before she applies. First question is, when do we need to declare a first choice? Wondering how much time we would have to fit in a plane trip to Alabama. Also, would Alabama pay for a flight for a NMF to visit? Thought I read that which would make waiting until she hears about final status a better idea than visiting now.

If she ends up liking Fordham the best, should she try for a highly competitive NMF scholarship there or declare Alabama as a sure thing? She’s a pretty easy going kid though and my guess is that she won’t have her heart set on only one school. Trying to get a handle on how we should decide which of the 3 to declare if she doesn’t hate any of them, but leans slightly toward a more competitive one (Fordham or UKY.)

Lastly, by which month are scholarship offers usually complete? Would we have a little time to plan a visit before the May 1st deadline? There are a couple of schools that are quite far away and we would only consider with considerable merit money.

Thank you so much for your help

Our S many years ago didn’t name any U as his 1st choice for NMF because honestly he didn’t have his heart set on a particular U. After he was accepted and reviewed his options, he declared the one he wanted to attend in April and was given significant merit awards based on his naming that U prior to the May 1 deadline.

Some Us require you to name them your 1st choice sooner for them to consider you for merit awards, so you can check with the Us she’s interested in.

I am taking from your post that you D is a potential NMF for 2018 (not this year). If so, relax and enjoy the process. The earliest any college will require that your D name them a first choice is March 1st, after being confirmed as NMF. Although some colleges, have earlier dates, MOST don’t require anything more than being named as of May 1st. By then your D will have (hopefully) accepted their college decision.

Congratulations to your D. Over the next year many tress will sacrifice their lives for schools to send your D recruitment material. :))

In all seriousness, any of the schools that offer significant scholarships will provide you all the details in their offer letter, well before she will need to make a decision. My S went through a number of choices and we are down to two choice (UofMN-Twin Cities with significant scholarship and UCF with a Full Ride.) I will just be glad when a final decision is made.


Your D is a junior then?

We made our long list of schools at the end of junior year, largely based on the potential for large merit awards, then we watched for the scholarship information on school web sites to be updated for the new incoming class. I seem to remember the info being updated by August 1, perhaps sooner for some schools.

Once the scholarship info was updated, we were able to narrow down our list of schools and go from there.

I also recommend making a spreadsheet with updated tuition, fees, and room + board costs. Add in estimated books, travel expenses, insurance plan if applicable, and maybe 3-4% inflation for each year.

You’ll see that a full tuition scholarship at UAlabama is much less expensive than a full tuition scholarship at Fordham. Those NYC room and board prices, plus the scholarship does not cover fees. Read the fine print.

And yes, you have plenty of time.

Thank you so much-- that was very helpful! (And yes, she is a junior.)