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National Merit and Various Questions

barn9898barn9898 Registered User Posts: 22 New Member
edited September 2013 in Texas A&M University
After reading the TAMU site it looks like the National Merit award is close to a full ride - is that correct? Scored a 230 on PSAT, 2250 on SAT and 36 composite with ACT, plus SAT Math II of 800 and 790 on Chemistry. Also have 4.8 gpa with full I.B. program (all A's). Leaning towards Biomedical Engineering and it looks like there may be additional scholarship opportunities for the Engineering department - is this true? Are there other schools that can match what TAMU can offer in terms of the quality of education for engineering/physcial sciences combined with scholarship ooportunities?
Post edited by barn9898 on
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Replies to: National Merit and Various Questions

  • HilloHillo Registered User Posts: 169 Junior Member
    Not a full ride.

    There can be fees for every department/class (~$1,000-2,000 more a semester for you).

    If you're someone who'd rather live off-campus, that's ~$600/month more for rent/utilities.

    If you'll live on-campus, you'll be required to buy some type of eating plan and have to eat unfavorable or unhealthy food (or lose the money).

    Oh and expensive textbooks!
  • AGmomx2AGmomx2 Registered User Posts: 1,272 Senior Member
    A better answer is it depends. Here's what you get:
    https://scholarships.tamu.edu/national_scholars/national_merit.aspx
    plus any additional scholarships that you compete for with all other students. It's possible.
  • HilloHillo Registered User Posts: 169 Junior Member
    I think "it depends" is not a good answer.

    We should know what we're getting into with facts and anecdotes.

    There might be a $17,645/yr maximum for an in-state resident because I qualified for an adjustable financial scholarship (could be reduced in accordance to the total money reward) but did not receive it.
    I'm working 20-30 hrs/wk just to be safe (oh, and no work study offered either).

    Of course, your daughter may be an amazing applicant, so just write the optional essay and update us if it's truly "possible."

    I remember someone receiving more money from UT than from A&M (but A&M matched it with the Aggie-Bound Scholarship).

    Also, the University of Houston sent me an invitation for applying for a stipend up to $10,000 (based on extracurricular activities) which COULD be on top of their National Merit Scholarship package.

    Other things: Your daughter can use your leftover stipends at A&M's vet School or at the University of Arizona's pharmacy school (if she's interested in either).
  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
    Yes, a free ride is possible. A free ride plus stipend is also possible. It is true that you won't know what you get from A&M until it is awarded. In other words, it's not one of those "guaranteed scholarship package" NMF schools that you hear about. But, it is possible that a student could be awarded a free-ride or free-ride with stipend as a National Merit Finalist, particularly if that student has other competitive qualifications beyond NMF.
  • jrobackjroback Registered User Posts: 94 Junior Member
    My son is a freshman NMF. Its not quite a full ride for him, but after TAMU added multiple scholarships total out of pocket for us is < 10K/yr. This is probably true of most if not all NMF. Be aware, however, than many of these scholarships require the recipient to maintain certain GPAs during their time at TAMU, otherwise scholarship is not renewed.
  • WAPackerWAPacker Registered User Posts: 388 Member
    jroback, is your son in honors? We have been told that joining honors(University or departmental) opens up more scholarship opportunities.
  • jrobackjroback Registered User Posts: 94 Junior Member
    He is in honors, but to be honest with you I don't know how much that affected his scholarships. Most of what he got was right off the TAMU website where they list the basic package for NMF. He also got a departmental scholarship and another scholarship from the Corps.
  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
    jroback wrote:
    This is probably true of most if not all NMF.

    I agree that the website-posted A&M NMF package is probably typical for most NMF's, but it's definitely not true for all. I personally know of 3 NMF kids who are on free-rides. Two of them have stipends on top of their free-rides. So, it is possible. It will all depend on what else that NMF brings to the table. And it likely won't be purely stats-driven.

    WAPacker, aside from the very much appreciated $1000 study abroad stipend that's mentioned on the A&M NMF Scholarship webpage, we haven't noticed any particular scholarship advantage to being in university-wide honors. It's been a good program for my son. He's really enjoyed it. But I don't believe that enrolling in honors increases one's scholarship opportunities a whole lot.

    Based on my family's experience, departmental scholarships tend to occur more frequently than honors scholarships. But in my family's case, departmental scholarships aren't connected to departmental honors in any way. My son's were all awarded independent of departmental honors enrollment. He is glad he's enrolled in his department's honors program.

    Both the university-wide and departmental honors programs have been worthwhile for him. But honors itself hasn't brought any increased funding beyond the $1000 study abroad stipend that we certainly very much appreciate.
  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
    OP wrote:
    Leaning towards Biomedical Engineering and it looks like there may be additional scholarship opportunities for the Engineering department - is this true? Are there other schools that can match what TAMU can offer in terms of the quality of education for engineering/physcial sciences combined with scholarship ooportunities?

    Yes, it is true that there are additional scholarship opportunities from the Engineering department. However, you won't know what you get until you apply and receive your entire scholarship package. There are more departmental awards available for continuing students as well. But again, none of these are guaranteed awards. You will only know about them after you have been awarded one or more.

    Since TAMU awards a variety of scholarship packages to different individuals for different reasons, it is difficult to say whether other schools can match the quality of education & scholarship opportunities offered by TAMU. My son thought that A&M offered him the best combination of both, education and scholarships, and he hasn't looked back. It's been great so far!

    Best of luck to you, OP! :)
  • barn9898barn9898 Registered User Posts: 22 New Member
    Thanks Simplelife!
  • bctnln1059bctnln1059 Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    SimpleLife, would it be possible for you to give any examples of other things an NMF might bring to the table that might results in a free ride or free ride with stipend?
  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
    Hi, bctnln1059.
    I don't have any inside information as to what "other things" are prized by those who choose each year's recipients. I'm just a parent. I don't know of "a list." But I'm betting they're things that wouldn't surprise anyone here if they were listed. The kids I know who received free-rides were very clearly outstanding students and citizens in many regards.

    On top of very evident, objective top marks in all academic areas, including NMF, two of the three I know held state recognition for long-practiced extracurriculars. All three I know have a reputation for, and evidence of, exemplary citizenship, integrity, and compassion towards others. In other words, they all have strong character that has been evident over time. All three that I know also received large awards from other highly respected universities. (Large awards aren't generally given for the sole purpose of rewarding top talent, right? Rather, they’re given to lure top talent to the school.) The kids I know of are the kinds of kids that get recognized (sometimes quietly) by many people over their years in middle and high school, but these kids remain humble and kind. I don't think it's a coincidence that the kids I know of stand out as really good people, not just as good students, leaders, athletes, and/or musicians.

    Texas A&M is a school that truly values and promotes good character. And as it turns out, all three kids I know who received these large awards have exemplified exceptionally good character over time. They all show a talent for natural, unassuming leadership. They're all tippy-top students in every regard. They have outstanding achievements in extracurriculars that have been a part of their lives for a long period of time. The things I'm talking about can't really be faked, or accomplished in a year, or simply written about in an essay or two. The qualities I'm talking about are so inherent to the students I'm talking about that every part of their applications and resumes and letters of recommendation speak clearly to those same inherent traits.

    Of course, I'm talking about a sample of three here. And my answer is very anecdotal. I could be way off-base. But I would surmise that there would have to be something very special and very consistently noticeable about any student who is awarded such a large gift from such a large, exceptional university. The student would have to bring something beyond “mere” academics, though academics are a clear jumping off point.

    Best of luck to you and yours, bctnln1059, in the grueling college search process! :)
  • Debbie7452Debbie7452 Registered User Posts: 535 Member
    My D has a full ride + and was NMF. She did not get awarded all of it on the first offer. She kept getting revised awards with more and more added. I can only hope she lives up to Simplelife's description!

    She had NMF, very high rank/gpa, very high SAT, very strong letters of recommendation. She met several times with the Dean of her school and he helped get departmental money. She is a Soph. Now and got an extra award added this year. She has a 4.0 so she's not disappointing them.
  • SimpleLifeSimpleLife Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
    ^Hi, Debbie7452!
    I'm not 100% positive, but I THINK you may have PM'd me a year and a half ago when your daughter was interviewing for a certain scholarship! If it's you (it WAS a Debbie, though maybe not a Debbie7452? :) ), I'm so glad your D is doing well and that she's loving A&M! Woo hoo! Good for her, and good for you!
    Simple:)
  • bctnln1059bctnln1059 Registered User Posts: 108 Junior Member
    SimpleLife, thank you so much for your response. It sounds right on target! I'm also glad to hear that A&M values such personal qualities.
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