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• 05/21/2020 at 01:30AM

Any schools where I might receive merit scholarships?


I go to a public school in the Midwest

35 ACT, 3.93 UW GPA, 4.13 weighted

I will qualify for National Merit Semifinalist (at least) based on my PSAT score

International Top 10 at DECA, 1st in state

4-time International Future Problem Solving participant

President of 3 student groups, VP of Student Council

United Against Hate student Advisory Board member

Independent research

Not a lot of community service in any one activity, but community outreach projects through clubs and NHS

I'm not trying to brag or do a chanceme or anything, I was just wondering if there are some middle-range schools that would be likely to give me significant merit aid, or if there are outside scholarships I should be looking for. I know it's hard to get merit scholarships anywhere, but I am trying to find out where I should even try. I've had trouble finding relevant results.

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1 answer

• 05/21/2020 at 02:48AM[edited]

Honestly, you should have a pretty good shot at merit scholarships from a lot of private schools. With a 35 ACT, almost(?) straight-As, and a pretty strong set of ECs, even schools like USC, Northeastern, and BU—which are at the top end of the schools that offer merit scholarships—could potentially offer you something. (It wouldn't be anything like a full ride, but those schools will often offer awards around ~25k/yr to really accomplished students). You could even be a competitive applicant for something like the Robertson program at Duke/UNC, which is a free ride + a lot of incentives and additional opportunities.

That aside, some schools I've seen students get a lot of aid from in that nebulous "mid-tier" you're talking about are Case Western, Syracuse, Fordham, Drexel, University of Miami, Loyola Chicago, Loyola Marymount, and Pepperdine. That's a pretty big range, but most of those schools are somewhere between #50 and #150 on US News rankings, to give you an idea of where they stand. Rankings are a decent gauge of the competitiveness of a school's average applicant, and by that a decent proxy for the aid you might get from a school. So below that range, that's where you'd start to see really big numbers—full ride scholarships and the like—potentially offered.

As for public schools, that depends on your state. Most state flagships will give students like you (in their state) a pretty substantial amount of money, but some are more stingy than others. Smaller regional state schools would almost definitely give you significant merit aid. That said, public schools outside your state are always a lot less likely to give money, even to a student of your caliber.

Accepted Answer
[🎤 AUTHOR]@AllyG05/21/2020 at 05:59PM

This is super helpful, thank you! I will be sure to look into it, and I really appreciate having some direction!

@DebaterMAX05/21/2020 at 07:02PM

So I kinda want to chime if your state is a member of MSEP you might be able to get good merit aid because your out of state tuition is near instate tuition prices and some WUE schools offer merit instate tuition so if you can afford their instate which depending on the state might be cheaper than your homestate like

Univ New Mexico

Univ of Wy

But instate public schools should have a lot more merit for instate students because of being a public school

@DebaterMAX05/21/2020 at 07:03PM

Also what school is BU?


05/21/2020 at 07:10PM

Boston University. Baylor would probably give someone with this profile a pretty big scholarship.

Also good point about MSEP—most of the flagships don't participate in it, but if there's a smaller state school that's a good fit for your interests, it could definitely lower the cost. Just make sure the school is a good fit, because smaller state schools can be very hit or miss and might have funding trouble over the next couple of years. (E.g., Ohio University just cut a bunch of departments.)

@DebaterMAX05/21/2020 at 07:15PM

Im slapping myself I forgot BostonU. I was thinking Baylor. Thanks!

Also the Kansas Nebrska North Dakota flagships participate along with IUPUI.

05/21/2020 at 07:49PM

Good catch. I was thinking more UIUC, UW-Madison, Michigan, OSU, the more eastern states I guess. CV has a full list of MSEP schools here for you @AllyG if you're interested in learning more about them: