Safety schools with financial aid/merit aid for SAT 2190?

<p>I need to finalize my list of schools I'm applying to but my list is reach heavy right now. I'm looking for small LACs with an activist and liberal personality. I want difficult classes and research opportunities. I'm a Northern California student and I love it here but I'm willing to go to obscure places (I'd like to avoid the south and any overwhelmingly red states if I can). I plan on studying political science and genetics (Or possibly biochemistry) with the goal of obtaining a Ph.D. and persuing biological research. The most important thing for me is that I can afford the school and I'm willing to compromise on all of my preferences for a cheap school. My parents have $17,000 saved for college. They think they can tentatively contribute around $800 a month. However, I think they might be quite a bit optimistic with this number (It's based on the idea that my sister will become financially independent.) so I'm wary. Anyway, that theoretically gives me $13,850 for four years (not including lending). Can you please give me any suggestions on what safety schools I should apply to? Also, telling me if any schools on my list are totally wrong for me would be helpful.</p>

<p>My SAT: 2190 - 780 CR, 730 M, 680 W
ACT: 31 - 34 M, 34 R, 30 W + essay, 24 S
GPA: 4.1691 Cummulative Weighted, 3.9275 Cummulative Unweighted
7 AP classes, 1 Honors:
AP Calc AB (5), AP US History(4), AP Eng Lang(4), AP Physics B, AP Comp Sci A, AP Calc BC, AP Eng Lit, HP Pre-Calc
Class rank: 9/405 (top 2%)
Diverse list of ECs with music, leadership positions, some volunteering</p>

<p>My List of Colleges:
Swarthmore College
Reed College
Wesleyan University
Smith College
Middlebury College
Macalester College
Haverford College
Grinnell College
Colby College
Wellesley College
UC Berkeley</p>

Williams College
Rice University
Earlham College
Pomona College
Claremont McKenna College
Bowdoin College
Rhodes College
UC Davis
UC Santa Cruz</p>

<p>Have you run the net price calculators on the various schools’ web sites to get financial aid estimates? If the net prices are not affordable on need-based aid alone, you need to find safeties with automatic large merit scholarships (though a large percentage of them are in the south, though not necessarily conservative parts of the south), as listed in the sticky thread in the financial aid and scholarships forum.</p>

<p>Admission-wise, if you apply to the full slate of UCs, it is extremely unlikely to be rejected from all of them with your stats, unless your application has a glaring defect that they all care about (missing a-g courses, etc.). UCs generally meet need with EFC defined by federal methodology and ESC of around $9,000 (i.e. direct loan and some work earnings), so you need to determine whether your parents can afford the EFC and you are willing to handle the ESC.</p>

<p>Yes, I’ve run net price calculators on the schools. The UC schools are slightly out of my price range at around $21,000 a year. I was trying to find schools that are more like $17,000 a year. Swarthmore, Middlebury, and Wesleyan are close but they are difficult to get into. So I was looking for schools that would be likely to offer me merit aid. I have lloked into the automatic merit scholarships but I don’t know how to find out if the schools are decent or not. They are not in the Fiske guide to colleges so I don’t know if they have the things I need like a good biology program.</p>

<p>I think you would love Hendrix. It’s a very liberal, tolerant environment full of interesting, engaged students. The college offers ample opportunities for undergraduate research, internships, study abroad and so on. Hendrix does a great job preparing students for PhD and other graduate programs. Yes, it’s in the south but Arkansas is not nearly as “red” as Texas or some of the other southern states. (As an example, all four (R) House members just voted to reopen the government/avoid default, as did the (R) senator–Arkansas was also the only southern state to approve Medicaid expansion.) Little Rock is nearby and is a fun, eclectic city.</p>

<p>With your stats you will definitely get merit aid, and you would also be eligible to compete for the full-ride Hays Scholarship.</p>

<p>[Hendrix</a> College | Hays Memorial Scholarship](<a href=“]Hendrix”>Hendrix College)</p>

<p>Someone else can probably speak to this better than I can, but I think that many colleges that offer merit aid then reduce the need based aid by that amount. So your cost of attendance does not end up any different unless you get a very large merit scholarship. Most of the schools on your list don’t offer merit scholarships that large.</p>

Thanks, I’ll look into Hendrix College!</p>

Oh, I should have thought of that. I guess I need to stick with a list of schools that offer the competitive merit aid awards or the automatic merit schools.</p>

<p>Does anyone know if any of the schools on this list will give me a good shot at merit? I compiled this from the list of competitive merit aid schools but I can’t apply to all of them.
Catholic University
George Washington University
Anges Scott College
University of Georgia
Knox College
University of Kentucky
Michigan State University
St. Louis Misourri
Syracuse University
North Carolina State University
Arcadia University
Wofford College
University of Houston
University of Utah
University of New Mexico
University of North Carolina</p>

<p>You may like Trinity University in San Antonio.</p>

<p>Trinity University looks like a good option. I will check out the net price calculator. Thanks!</p>

<p>Based on my own investigations and your need for money, I’d say Agnes Scott, Georgia, Kentucky, and St. Louis are pretty firm bets for some money. Add Louisville in there, too. Forget about Syracuse, North Carolina and probably North Carolina State. Good luck.</p>

<p>any overwhelmingly red states if I can</p>

<p>Lol… I wouldn’t worry too much about that. The profs at colleges in “red states” are from everywhere. And, campuses tend to be more liberal anyway.</p>

<p>BTW…just because a school is in a “blue state,” it means little. Most blue states are actually “red” in most of their cities, so your “blue state college” may be sitting in a “red city.”</p>

<p>the issue isn’t about getting “some money.” You need a LOT of merit. You need about a full tuition scholarship so that your parents’ contribution and a small loan will pay for room, board, books, fees, transportation and any remaining small tuition costs. </p>

<p>If a costly private gives you a “half tuition” scholarship, then that won’t be enough. You’d still have to pay about $35k-40k per year.</p>

<p>YOU can only borrow $5,500 for frosh year.</p>

<p>I don’t think Georgia, St. Louis, and a number of those others would give you a “net cost” of about $19k. </p>

<p>Georgia isn’t great with OOS merit. I know what my kids were offered from SLU, and it was about half tuition with higher test scores & GPA. </p>

<p>I have no clue as to why you’d consider Georgia (nearly all instate students ) and Kentucky, if you won’t consider Alabama that has FAR more OOS students from all over the US. Calif is #5 in sending students to Bama. </p>

<p>Bama has been “Obama Country” for the last two elections. The congressperson for that area is a Democrat. </p>

<p>You’d get free tuition to Bama. Your remaining costs would be about $15k per year…and that’s with the nicest private room dorms. Bama has a Tier 1 Law School, so it’s Poly Sci dept is strong. </p>

<p>There’s little reason not to apply to Bama since the merit is assured for your stats as long as you apply before Dec 15. The app is EZ…no essays, no LORs.</p>

<p>You need to run the NPCs on these schools’ websites. </p>

<p>As for merit, unless you know for sure what a school will give you (assured merit for stats), you can’t depend on anything. So, be sure to apply to a couple of schools that will give you ASSURED LARGE merit for your stats.</p>

<p>Bowdoin is a very good school, but I would not recommend it for you. I had a friend with very strong liberal/activist leanings, went to Bowdoin. She wasn’t miserable and got a good education, but four years of spinning her wheels as far as her passions went.</p>

<p>On the other hand, I knew a guy who went to Knox as well. Nothing but good to say about it. He was also very liberal, although not as activist, so I don’t know about that part.</p>

<p>@mom2collegekids: there’s a big different between being majority registered Democrat (e.g. Bama, I guess) and having an activist and liberal personality (e.g. Hampshire, at the far end). Atmosphere is nowhere near the same, not even in the same universe. Perhaps we make compromises for cost or whatever, but let’s not pretend there is no difference.</p>

<p>Really, there’s a reason Bama gives so much merit money to attract OOS students. They have a reputation for being markedly more conservative than other schools, even other Southern schools like UT and UNC, and that reputation isn’t based on nothing.</p>

<p>Good merit money possibilities at North Eastern, Fordham Hofstra, Pitt, and number of Catholic schools other than the big name ones. Some of the Florida LACs, Pitzer, Tulsa, Tulane. Of the schools you mention, Knox, Agnes Scott, earlham. </p>

<p>You already have enough reach schools on your primary list, so unless you replace some with those on your consideration, it’s the less competitive schools you need to add. Dickinson, Gettysburg, are some other possibilities. I think you’d get accepted to them, and they would probably give you a good strong mert/aid package that would be similar to what your reach schools would give on a need basis. Do you know what some of the less competitive UCs are likely to give you? That’s something to discuss with your counselor.</p>



<p>Actually, cities are more likely to be bluish (even in reddish states), while rural areas are more likely to be reddish (even in bluish states). Universities are more likely to be bluish compared to their surrounding areas.</p>

<p>The less competitive UCs (SC, R, M) may be worth a look; you may have a better chance of getting something like a Regents’ scholarship at the less competitive UCs than at Berkeley. The policy appears to be to apply the scholarship money first to ESC, so it would actually reduce the net price compared to need-based aid alone.</p>

<p>I would also look into Willamette (across the street from the Oregon state Capitol), Occidental, Oxford College of Emory, and Rhodes. One of the issues with NPCs is that they’re often highly inaccurate for colleges which award a great deal of merit aid, but which isn’t “officially” based on stats (even though it usually is).</p>

<p>So your realistic family contribution (RFC) is about $23K/year, or less (~$14K year from your parents’ savings + current income, plus $9K from loans and student employment). Each school’s NPC should be showing no more than $23K as the Expected Family Contribution. If any school’s EFC is greater than your RFC, it’s not affordable. Not without enough merit aid to cover both the determined need plus the gap (EFC-RFC), so you net out at $23K or below. </p>

<p>Most schools on your list in the original post do not offer merit aid at all. Some of the ones that do (like Macalester, Grinnell, and Rice) are competitive enough that you’d be unlikely to get the $30K-$40K merit award you’d need to hit your $23K target. If Earlham, Rhodes, or Smith are offering merit awards that large, you might have a shot at one. Otherwise, you need different schools on your list (less selective schools that guarantee large merit awards for students with strong stats). You should have a good shot at merit aid from the schools in post #7 … but it’s hard to say how much you’d get. If they do not have guaranteed awards for specific stats, look at their Common Data Set files, section H, for the number of merit awards they give out and the average amounts.</p>

<p>If the NPCs are showing EFCs equal to or less than $23K, then your original list looks pretty good for what you say you want. It’s a little top-heavy with reach schools, though.</p>

<p>Actually, cities are more likely to be bluish (even in reddish states</p>

<p>True for the biggest cities, especially urban cities. However, many colleges and univs are located in mid-cized cities (bedroom communities/suburbia) and those aren’t that blue…even in a blue state.</p>

<p>That said, unless the univ is some Bible college, super religious college, or rather provincial, it’s going to have a more liberal atmosphere. The profs are almost certainly going to have a liberal bent - especially in some majors. However, on many campuses, the STEM profs & sometimes the busines profs tend to be more “middle of the road” or right of center.</p>

<p>Take a look at Carleton which has a great science program and good aide as well as UM Twin Cities. With your stats you may qualify for honors program and aide.</p>