"Top-Choice" College

<p>Is it worth telling a college you are applying to that you marked them as your "top-choice" on the NMS application?</p>

<p>Do you have any doubt that you will be admitted? I guess this would be similar to telling them that they are your top choice, in general. It wouldn’t hurt. </p>

<p>(I think this is a somewhat unusual question because most schools that give big NM scholarships are not very selective, so finalists would pretty much be guaranteed admission and have no need to convey their serious intentions with the hope of gaining points with admissions officers. Are you going for a scholarship at a highly selective school?)</p>

<p>It can’t hurt anything, but it probably won’t carry much weight since it can be changed up until the end of April.</p>

<p>I asked this in another thread too, but is there any strategy to gain additional money from a school that offers a NMF package–and name them as first choice?</p>

<p>There are 2 schools I am looking at that offer money for NMF. One is ranked in the top 20 for engineering and I have already been accepted. The other is not as highly ranked, but I figure I will hear from them soon. I like both, but I think money will play a big factor in my ultimate choice.</p>

<p>Any advice on strategy would be great!</p>

<p>It may. We did a campus tour of our daughter’s first choice school just this week and when we mentioned she was a National Merit Semi-Finalist they brought out the dean of admissions to speak with us. </p>

<p>He was quite open with the ‘perks’ that NMFs get at the school (best of the resident housing, etc.) and even offered to set our daughter up later this year with a VIP tour where she could get a more in depth look at the classes she’s interested in, talk with some professors and upper classmen and such. We liked what we heard when we ‘dangled’ the carrot LOL.</p>

<p>It also motivated her to get her essay done and since we homeschool and had her Girl Scout Leader for the last 10 years do the endorsement, we had everything submitted today too. The admissions dean noted that 94% of the NMSF become NMF, and almost always those that don’t it’s because the paperwork isn’t submitted in time.</p>

<p>Tiberius, </p>

<p>Do you mind sharing your 2 top schools and where you’ve already been admitted? My son is also a NMSF and planning to do engineering.</p>

<p>@CBMom–I’m wanting to compare two schools for their NM money offered—and strategy. I’ve heard from Texas A & M (accepted), but have not heard from Univ. of OK yet.</p>

<p>TiberiusShift…for some reason, it takes OU forever and a day to get back on acceptance. That was our only very slightly negative experience at OU. If you contact the National Scholars office at OU and let them know you are a NMSF and have applied, they will get your app pushed through quickly and then you can apply to the Honors College. The Scholars office is a great resource for you. They are extremely responsive. :-)</p>

<p>When you choose that school as top choice, that school would be notified. This would be considered as expressing interest at that school. It will have a small positive effect on the application. Some student would change the top choice school after EA notice for RD application, and again in March to the school that is admitted and offer merit scholarship based on that although they may not go there at the end.</p>

<p>Sorry about my ignorance, but for the Top-Choice College, should we choose the college we most want to go to (MIT for me), a college that we’re confident we can get into (UMN), or a college that offers a large scholarship for NMSF (Northeastern)? </p>

<p>Also, if we don’t go to the college that we list as our top choice, do we not get the scholarship?</p>

<p>MIT gives $0 for NMF so there is no point in making them 1st choice. </p>

<p>My D applied to both UMN and NEU as NMSF. </p>

<p>UMN is a school which will give you your regular NMF offer (contingent on achieving NMF status) as soon as you tell them you are NMSF, it’s $10-12,000/yr and also a scholarship for the OOS tuition difference if you are OOS. Makes no difference if you list them 1st choice for that. Any other supplementary scholarships they have will not be awarded until later, maybe March. I don’t know if making them 1st choice helps for those.</p>

<p>NEU, on the other hand, will not give you the NMF award even tentatively, until you DO list them 1st choice. When you are initially admitted, they will give you some smaller scholarship, like Dean’s $20K/yr.They told me the NMF money would be automatically offered when they heard from NMSC that they are 1st choice. Now they’ve reduced the scholarship this year and the website makes some vague reference to other scholarship money that may be awarded on top of the NMF money. Since it’s the first year for this can’t ask anyone about their experience getting more money. They can’t give more money until they first give the initial $30K/yr. I think your best bet is to list them as soon as you can so you can find out your total package.</p>

<p>You only get scholarship money from a college if you attend there. Outside scholarships given by corporations and other groups are usually portable. Sometimes outside scholarships may be somewhat restricted. If they are administered by a particular college but money comes from outside source like a private foundation, they are almost certainly specifically for that college, not really an outside scholarship. My D got one for $2250/yr she could use at any college in our state, had to give that up since she went OOS. If you manage to get the actual NMSC scholarship that comes from NMSC, that can go anywhere. But the college sponsored NMF scholarships are only for that college.</p>

<p>@celesteroberts - Thanks! You cleared up a lot of the information I was confused about.</p>

<p>Okay…still trying to grasp this.
Should our child be putting as #1 as school that she would get a full ride or lots of dollars from guaranteed (like Alabama)? Or should she be putting a school she really would like to go to that may or may not come up to snuff with dollars (like Northeastern or BU, etc.)?</p>

<p>What is the ‘strategy’ in making choices and getting money? The only thing we are totally clear on is that top schools generally don’t participate in this at all, correct?</p>


<p>It depends on what you mean by ‘top.’ Vanderbilt gives $5K/yr for NMF. Carleton gives $2K/yr. </p>

<p>To see which schools give at least the small $500-2,000/yr official scholarships without having to check every school website, go to the NMSC website and download the most recent annual report they have on their main page. Starting on p 38 they list all the universities which enrolled National Merit Scholars (not finalists, but scholars) in fall 2012. The way it’s listed is, to the left of the name is the total number enrolled and to the right in parentheses is how many of those are sponsored by the college itself. So ASU had 97 scholars of which 75 were sponsored by ASU.The other 22 received either the official NMSC scholarship or a corporate award. All 97 would have received the large big unofficial NMF full tuition scholarship, since that is automatic, not competitive at ASU.The numbers in the annual report are just about the official awards administered through NMSC.</p>

<p>So you see that UChicago and WUSTL participate. HYPS and MIT do not. They have large numbers of scholars, but they get their scholarship money somewhere else, not from the school.</p>

<p>Every school is different so it’s hard to generalize about what to do. Mom2collegekids can weigh in on UAlabama if she sees this. My feeling about Alabama is that the guaranteed award is already so large that there can’t be that much else one can hope to get. Could there be some other departmental scholarships that they give out to kids who seem likely to come? </p>

<p>The way NEU has the NMF info presented on their website currently makes it sound like the $30K, at least, is guaranteed. Last year when it was still full tuition it was not worded so clearly and people worried that they might not receive the scholarship, especially since they don’t give any advance promises when you are admitted. </p>

<p>UMN website says they award money when you designate them 1st choice, but our experience was that the promise of the scholarship came in advance of the notice that D was even admitted, in September. UMN does have a limited # of these scholarships. Originally they were unlimited, but the numbers of NMFs enrolling went up every year and now the larger scholarship is capped at about 125, I was told by administrators there, with the remaining NMFs getting the smaller amount. I don’t know if they are awarded first come or by stats or what. D applied early AND had high stats, so can’t tell from her experience. If you apply early and get the award soon after, then you are set. If you apply early but hear nothing, maybe you should check with them to see what’s up.The thing is these schools can change their procedures any time they please if it’s not totally at variance with what website says. UMN site says ‘preference is given…’ which is kind of vague and they do mention a smaller scholarship. So I can’t be sure of anything with them.</p>

<p>I don’t know if designating a school early affects your chances of receiving extra money that is not NMF related. But if the NMF award itself is guaranteed, it shouldn’t matter for that scholarship so long as you list them by the college deadline, in case they have it set earlier than the NMSC deadine.</p>

<p>There is some strategizing people do that has to do with how the official NMSC award, if you happen to win one of those, might interface with your top school’s award. I haven’t followed that carefully, but there are several old threads here that address this you can look up. If I recall correctly, the official award from NMSC could be smaller than your school’s award and if your school isn’t one which is generous in giving you more money to make up for it, you could end up with less money from the official NMSC award than getting one from your school. The NMSC money is a one time award of $2500, while the school official awards tend to be renewable for 4 years, so could total as much as 4 x $2,000 =$8,000. You are only allowed one official award, from whatever source. Some schools allow you to take the NMSC money the first year and then they give you what you would have received from them in following years, but unofficially. Others say you are ineligible for their award because you got one from NMSC. But if you designate that school 1st choice early enough, it takes precedence over the NMSC award. I think. To strategize this way you need to know how your likely schools handle these things, and if you are in the top 30% or so of NMFs so that this is even likely to be a consideration. But I’m not positive about the stuff in this paragraph, so check the old threads to verify, or call NMSC and talk to them. They can clarify.</p>



<p>At A&M, our son saw his first increase in scholarship money after we put down his housing deposit. Another increase after he attended the New Student Conference (registration). A&M seems to significantly, under promise and over deliver. We did not have to threaten to go to another college or anything. It has been a real joy dealing with them.</p>

<p>One concern is that if you are awarded one NM scholarship, you can’t be awarded any other NM scholarship. That means if you name a school first choice, and they award you their NM scholarship, but then you change your mind and decide you’d really rather go to a different school that offers a NM scholarship, you’re out of luck. </p>

<p>Northeastern has an earlier notification date this year as well – April 13th. I think that complicates matters significantly, since we were planning on doing final visits and make the final decision during DS’s April break, the week <em>after</em> the NEU deadline. </p>

<p>If he puts down NEU before April 13th, and they award him the scholarship before he has a chance to actually decide where he really does want to go to school, I think he’d be out of luck. :frowning: I think if NEU stays on the list, we’re going to have to plan on a preliminary decision trip during February break, even though he won’t know about all his schools yet, since he’s applying to 3 schools without EA or equivalent.</p>