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National Merit Finalists rejected from University of Florida?

sherimba03sherimba03 98 replies8 threads Junior Member
Hi everyone, I'd like to hear from anyone who knows of a confirmed NMF who got rejected from UF within the past few years and why, if known. DS21 has begun chanting "Gator Nation" on a daily basis, and we are both growing more excited by the day about the possibility of his attending on a full ride. We even had a discussion today about putting a "Proud Gator Mom" bumper sticker on the right side of my Prius to get a giggle from drivers (the left side has my Sebastian the Ibis) although the irony might be lost on most of our fellow Californians.

But now I'm getting worried that we are jumping the gun and are too confident, based on the possibility he could be one of the "average excellent students" rejected from UF. And he's OOS too, making him a less sympathetic case than a high-performing in-state applicant.

I would like to hear the cc community's thoughts on the appropriate level of cautious pragmatism I should be bringing to the dinner table.

Summary of his info:
PSAT November 2019 Selection Index = 226
SAT score November 2019 = 1560
GPA: Straight As (a 4.0 unweighted, and a 4.6/5.0 (he's in AP Calc BC, AP Physics, and AP Lit right now, took AP Chem last year, scored a 5)
Leadership role in Spanish honor society volunteering
Next year will be captain of the football team; 4 years varsity
Only child of a single mom (that's me :blush: )
Starting an engineering internship this month at a high-tech company
Wants to get a mechanical engineering degree and then go to law school
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Replies to: National Merit Finalists rejected from University of Florida?

  • izrk02izrk02 510 replies19 threads Member
    Make sure he shows a ton of demonstrated interest. He might not get a full ride being OOS, but if you have a ton of need, don't get too excited. The average need-based scholarship is around $9,000. Run the NPC. There's no OOS full ride merit. The most he could get is the "Gator Nation Scholarship" which is up to $20,000 per year.
    This thread will help -> https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/university-florida/2168933-how-to-avoid-being-one-of-the-stories-of-getting-rejected-with-high-stats.html
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  • sherimba03sherimba03 98 replies8 threads Junior Member
    @izrk02 that thread you linked to is what prompted my thread, lol. And just to clarify, the reason we are so interested in UF is precisely because I believe what you have said is actually incorrect - he would basically get a full ride (full cost of attendance) as an NMF if he makes it through that process, via the Benacquisto. Unless I'm seriously misunderstanding?
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 3303 replies62 threads Senior Member
    edited January 4
    sherimba03 wrote: »
    @izrk02 that thread you linked to is what prompted my thread, lol. And just to clarify, the reason we are so interested in UF is precisely because I believe what you have said is actually incorrect - he would basically get a full ride (full cost of attendance) as an NMF if he makes it through that process, via the Benacquisto. Unless I'm seriously misunderstanding?

    Yes, Benaquisto is full ride for NMFs and includes OOS students. https://admissions.ufl.edu/afford/scholarships

    I haven't heard of an NMF not being accepted, whether in or out of state. Hopefully some more posters will weigh in.
    edited January 4
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  • izrk02izrk02 510 replies19 threads Member
    Sorry, I wasn't aware of the Benacquisto program (I'm from NC). I'd give him a good chance of getting really good merit aid no matter where he goes. I think he has a good shot at getting in, just making sure they don't think UF is his safety. Some schools reject applicants who appear to have it as their safety. Have him apply as soon as possible, go on a tour (if you can/haven't already). And do all the other demonstrated interest things.
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  • PoppyseedzPoppyseedz 58 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Your son is a GREAT candidate. The scholarship will be full Cost of Attendance he will need to identify UF as his #1 to National Merit. I believe the ytreat Benacquisto kids like a cohort with special onboarding. As you can imagine, it opened to OOS to attract OOS NMF's. I do not believe he will have any disadvantages that an OOS without NMF might have.
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  • sherimba03sherimba03 98 replies8 threads Junior Member
    edited January 4
    This is the power of the cc forums - all the things we learn about! So yes, we are already scheduled for tours of UM, UCF, and UF in April and I wouldn't be surprised if he paints his face orange and blue for the UF tour, it is so far from being a safety school from his perspective. And I don't expect to be able to leave Gainesville without dropping some cash on some school swag for him. LOL.
    edited January 4
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  • flprepaidmomflprepaidmom 86 replies26 threads Junior Member
    To get the benaquisto scholarship at UF, you must list UF as your top choice on the application. That should be all they need for demonstrated interest.
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23827 replies17 threads Senior Member
    The Benacquisto is run by a separate agency and the funds paid to the university he chooses. There is no financial reason for UF (or any other school) NOT to take a NMF - it's free money to them.

    However, he still does need to be accepted to UF
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  • sherimba03sherimba03 98 replies8 threads Junior Member
    @flprepaidmom and @Poppyseedz thank you and yes, thanks to cc I am fully aware that we need to list UF as top choice (if it still is next spring) no later than May 1, 2021. Assuming he makes the finalist cut, of course.
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  • sherimba03sherimba03 98 replies8 threads Junior Member
    @twoinanddone that's exactly the point of this thread - how worried should I be that he won't be accepted to UF?
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  • flprepaidmomflprepaidmom 86 replies26 threads Junior Member
    @sherimba03 unless his essay is absolutely horrific (which I highly doubt) I would say you have absolutely nothing to worry about!! Relax and enjoy the (full) ride!!
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  • sherimba03sherimba03 98 replies8 threads Junior Member
    @flprepaidmom thank you, as other here have said it just really does seem too good to be true. Of course, there's still a lot that has to happen, but everything that has to happen seems eminently achievable for my DS21: maintain his grades, stay out of jail :wink: , submit his NMF application correctly/on time, submit his UF application correctly/on time, and designate UF as his NMF choice on time. And of course, stay healthy. And hope the state of Florida continues OOS Bena inclusion, and that UF continues to be on a mission to overtake the UCs as top state flagship in the rankings.

    I'm a worrier by nature but it will be good to hear confirmation that no one has ever heard of an NMF being rejected by UF (or rejected only for reasons that likely wouldn't affect DS21).
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  • GatorDad305GatorDad305 403 replies22 threads Member
    Never heard of that happening.
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  • mountainmomof3mountainmomof3 639 replies16 threads Member
    My NMF S19 was accepted to UF last year. We did visit but no special demonstrated interest. Definitely put time into essays, etc.

    You do not need to designate a #1 choice until very late in the NMF process so no worries on that end. It’s a great school but son chose another full ride (competitive and unrelated to NMF) elsewhere.
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  • madredosmadredos 231 replies2 threads Junior Member
    My daughter is an instate Benacquisto. I feel confident your son will get in so I am only here to give a little heads up about watching that award like a hawk. UF and the state of Florida have a habit of making small errors that can lead to the $ disappearing from a kid’s award portal. We know of several Benacquaitos this has happened to. There is a petition process to get it back but it is a pain. My kid had hers dropped because of a mistake made by the study abroad office. Students are also not permitted to drop or add a class after drop/add ever. It is a wonderful scholarship though. I am hoping UF offers your son additional $ because it is stackable. School money and state $. It has not been our experience that the Benacquistos are a cohort but maybe that is new and part of the OOS push. The Honors Program is a cohort. Go Gators!!
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23827 replies17 threads Senior Member
    I know one top student who didn't get into UF. She was not NMF but still a top student. She attended a Gainesville hs, and I think there were just too many applicants from that school to accept them all (who says students don't want to go to college close to home?).

    From my daughters' high school, we had several NMF who were not in the top 20 of the class (top 5%). NMF and top 20 were listed in the graduation program, so it was easy to cross check (the Val and Sal were not NMF). I don't know if all those who wanted to go to UF got into UF. At that time bright futures was only worth about $3200/yr and UCF had much better scholarship money, and our hs seemed to split pretty evenly UF/FSU/UCF but quite a few going to other state schools like USF, FIU, FAU too). Things are different now ($$ wise), but I don't know if UF would take all 20-26 of those NMF/top 20 students from one high school.
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  • GatorDad305GatorDad305 403 replies22 threads Member
    In general, I think it would be surprising for UF to reject a NMF because most NMFs also have competitive GPAs and probably ECs too. However, not every NMF has great grades, and it is based strictly on how you do on one test, the PSAT. If you think about it, if a kid has an average academic record but just jumps out of the gym on the PSAT, does he really deserve a full ride nearly anywhere?

    Again, I imagine most NMFs have commensurate gpas, etc., but i could certainly see where an undeniably smart NMF, but perhaps unmotivated kid, might get rejected.
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  • sherimba03sherimba03 98 replies8 threads Junior Member
    @madredos thank you so much for the confirmation and for the heads-up on watching out for mistakes. I will be watching like a hawk, for sure, with this kind of money on the line. I work in an FDA-regulated environment and I've actually gotten into serious trouble because people who constantly make mistakes that I have to point out for correction get irritated and complain about me making them "feel bad" when I try to help them learn from the mistakes and not repeat them, lol. After dealing with this so much over the past decade I am pretty cynical and my default assumption is that stuff is going to get messed up and I need to stay ahead of it as much as I can and not make any assumptions.

    I recently learned that a colleague has a BS/MS from UF and a PhD from MIT. He told DS21 that what primarily matters is your "terminal degree." I appreciated his perspective because @GatorDad305 as I'm sure you know, NMF kids certainly are not offered "full ride(s) nearly anywhere," lol. There are really only a comparatively tiny number of NMF full ride schools out there and certainly none of the T20s offer more than a pittance for NMF. The Florida schools, ASU, Alabama, a couple of Texas schools...that's pretty much it. I think USC is one of the highest-ranked private schools to offer a significant NMF package? But it's still not close to full COA, at half-tuiton. Luckily my DS21 is truly excited about UF and does not feel at all like it would be settling for less. And I am working toward feeling comfortable with the likelihood of having a Gator in this Hurricane House!
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  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone 23827 replies17 threads Senior Member
    U of Miami also participates in the Benacquisto, but it's at about $22k. Miami will then add its own scholarships to that.
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  • GatorDad305GatorDad305 403 replies22 threads Member
    @sherimba03 Point taken. I think I meant to suggest admission nearly anywhere.
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