What are some Good schools for biological sciences that give merit aid?Answered
I am a high school junior with a 1450 SAT, 3.971 unweighted and 4.3 weighted GPA. Typical ECs, decent but not amazing. I will apply to UCs and a few state schools, but am looking for some others that would give good merit aid as I most likely will not qualify for need based aid.
I love Northeastern, USC, but am not sure if I am accepted I would get enough aid. I need it to come down to the price of a UC, so about 35-40k max.
This might seem a bit counterintuitive because these schools have a higher sticker price, but your best bet is actually to apply to private colleges where you'd be in the top 10-20% of their admitted class (you can judge that from comparing your scores and GPA with their 75th percentile marks on their websites or other sites like CollegeSimply—but basically, these are schools that our chancing would consider "safeties" for you).
Private schools will always have more merit aid to give out than out-of-state public schools, and if you fall into that "top student" category, you might end up with prices that are a cheaper in the end than the UCs and other out-of-state public schools. It's pretty rare for out-of-state students to get merit aid from the UCs, UMich, Washington, UT-Austin, or most of the other top public research universities, though depending on the state you're in you can sometimes get reduced tuition for being in the same region (like UMass--Amherst will sometimes grant in-state rates to students in other parts of New England.)
So the best option here would be to target private schools where you'd be a top admit. You might actually be pretty close to that group of Northeastern, at least close enough to make it worth applying. Boston University, Case Western Reserve University, and Colgate University might be some others to look into. It also depends on what kind of biology you're interested in—some schools will be good stepping stones for medicine, while others might be better for things like ecology, animal sciences, or marine bio.
I second what @jcdenton said, but just wanted to add that you could also consider schools that give automatic scholarships based on SAT scores, especially since yours is strong enough to qualify for a lot of these schools. Here's a list of them: https://blog.collegevine.com/which-colleges-award-automatic-scholarships-based-on-sat-scores/
You might also find this post helpful - it lists the colleges that are most generous with merit aid: https://blog.collegevine.com/which-colleges-give-out-the-most-merit-aid-a-list-of-the-top-50/
They aren't the most prestigious schools in general, but you might find something that's a good fit!
sounds like UCs are your best bet, but i know purdue and UMich both have strong programs and give our really great aid.
wish i could be more helpful!