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madteaparty

Are there any selective schools that offer *merit* scholarships?

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I'm fairly ignorant of this topic, and the reason for this is that I'm under the impression, for a selective school "merit" will hopefully, maybe get you the privilege of paying the ticket price :)

But then I see for example Univ. of William and Mary* does offer some scholarships. I'm assuming the numbers required for these would be equivalent to being admitted to a much higher ranked school, correct?

What other selective schools have you come across that offer merit scholarships that doesn't have in-state limitations?

* this one got on my radar only bc a family member with older kids told me about it.

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U Rochester has merit scholarships.  Many of them are basic ($5 - $20K), but a few go up to full ride from what I understand.

 

Vanderbilt does too.  And Wake Forest + U Miami.  All of these have basic merit, but go up to full ride.  I'm sure there are more, but these are some a terrific gal from the school where I work got awarded so I KNOW they exist.  (All merit - no need-based aspect.)

 

One has to be really competitive to get the full rides - not so much for the basic awards.

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Yes there are moderately selective schools that offer merit.

 

But... how you define selective and how you define merit (as full ride, half-tuition, any amount no matter how small) determines the size of the set.

 

Also, the more selective the school and the fewer the big merit awards given, the more impressive your student needs to be to have a chance for them.

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There are many selective schools that offer merit scholarships. The big awards do tend to be quite competitive. Poking around on the websites of schools of interest offered the best information as to what the financial possibilities were.

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Duke has some merit scholarships. The valedictorian of my high school class (I was salutatorian) turned down Princeton for one.

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Vanderbilt was already mentioned, but they offer merit scholarships to a very few students each year. (IIRC, boardie Gratia's child received one this year).  

 

Swarthmore awards a couple of combo merit/aid scholarships -- a student qualifies for a minimum tuition grant based on merit, which can then be increased on the basis of need.

 

 

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EDITED:

 

Deleting so as to not make this list a distraction from the thread.

 

My intent was to post a list of selective schools based on acceptance rates (since acceptance rate is a big part of the definition of "selective"), thinking people could use that to chime in about financial aid about the various schools, or research schools of interest from the list, BUT... Since so many have noted errors in this US News & World Report list, I'm deleting. :)

 

Carry on. Nothing more to see here.  :tongue_smilie:

Edited by Lori D.
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Yes there are moderately selective schools that offer merit.

 

But... how you define selective and how you define merit (as full ride, half-tuition, any amount no matter how small) determines the size of the set.

 

Also, the more selective the school and the fewer the big merit awards given, the more impressive your student needs to be to have a chance for them.

 

FWIW, I went of William and Mary's acceptance rate (googled at 34%) and mentioned schools at that rate or more selective that I know "for sure" about.

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You may want to do a school-by-school search (on the website of each school) of what merit aid they provide and what the process is of awarding that aid, so you don't get tripped up by fine print. ;)

 

Here's a list of the 50 most selective colleges from 2015 in get you started. These all had an acceptance rate 20% or under -- as low as 3-6% in a number of cases:

1. Stanford University (CA)

2. Columbia University (NY)

3. Harvard University (MA)

4. Juilliard School (NY)

5. Princeton University (NJ)

6. Yale University (CT)

7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MA)

8. University of Chicago (IL)

9. Brown University (RI)

10. California Institute of Technology (CA)

11. United States Naval Academy (MD)

12. Pomona College (CA)

13. United States Military Academy, Westpoint (NY)

14. University of Pennsylvania (PA)

15. Claremont McKenna College (CA)

16. Dartmouth College (NH)

17. College of the Ozarks (MO)

18. Duke University (NC)

19. Swarthmore College (PA)

20. Vanderbilt University (TN)

21. Cooper Union (NY)

22. Harvey Mudd College (CA)

23. Johns Hopkins University (MD)

24. Northwestern University (IL)

25. Pitzer College (CA)

26. Amherst College (MA)

27. Jarvis Christian College (TX)

28. Bowdoin College (ME)

29. Cornell University (NY)

30. United States Merchant Marine Academy (NY)

31. University of California--Berkeley (CA)

32. Rice University (TX)

33. Rust College (MS)

34. Tufts University (MA)

35. Colorado College (CO)

36. Georgetown University (Washington DC)

37. Middlebury College (VT)

38. United States Air Force Academy (CO)

39. University of California--Los Angeles (CA)

40. Washington University in St. Louis (MO)

41. United States Coast Guard Academy (CT)

42. University of Southern California (CA)

43. Williams College (MA)

44. Barnard College (NY)

45. University of Notre Dame (IN)

46. Carleton College (MN)

47. Fort Valley State University (GA)

48. Liberty University (VA)

49. Southern University New Orleans (LA)

50. Bates College (ME)

 

Where did you find a list that has Liberty at #48?  We have students apply to Liberty every single year and none I know of have been turned down.  They are not students who would get into other places on your list TBH.  I've never heard of Fort Valley State in GA or Southern U in LA either and would seriously doubt they belong in the Top 50...

 

Otherwise... looking at this list, Rice and WUSTL have merit scholarships - both highly competitive, but they have them.

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Fort Valley state and Southern are HBCUs.

 

Where did you find a list that has Liberty at #48? We have students apply to Liberty every single year and none I know of have been turned down. They are not students who would get into other places on your list TBH. I've never heard of Fort Valley State in GA or Southern U in LA either and would seriously doubt they belong in the Top 50...

 

Otherwise... looking at this list, Rice and WUSTL have merit scholarships - both highly competitive, but they have them.

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Here's a list of schools that do NOT offer Merit Scholarships. This might help to cross some selective schools off right away. However, still worth checking the Net Price Calculators on these since schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford may provide some need-based aid to families making up to $200,000.

 

Ivies;

 

Brown

Cornell

Columbia

Dartmouth

Harvard

Princeton

University of Pennsylvania

Yale

 

Other:

 

Amherst

Barnard

Bates

Bowdoin (except $2500 NM award)

Caltech

Carleton (except $2000 NM award)

Colby (except $500 NM award)

Colgate

Connecticut College

Georgetown

Hamilton

Haverford

Middlebury

MIT

Pomona

Reed

Stanford (except Athletic scholarships)

Tufts (except $500 NM award)

University of Chicago

Vassar

Wellesley

Wesleyan

Williams

Edited by 3andme
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US News & World Report, "based on the fall 2015 entering class".

 

I think you are conflating "low acceptance rate" and "top tier". ;) A school can be highly selective due to a very small student population, so only a few spots available to be filled each year. A school can also have a very low acceptance rate due to being very specialized.

 

I was posting a list based on reported acceptance rates as the determining factor for "selective schools" -- not making a judgement call the quality of the schools. I assumed the OP would make the judgement as to which of the schools on the list was worthy of researching.  :)

 

A school can be highly selective due to a small population, but Liberty is not small.  They're large - even on campus.

 

I played around on their site, but they don't give stats themselves.  They do for their online program (96% acceptance rate) and Honors Program (65% acceptance rate for high schoolers), but not for basic undergrad.  If they truly were in the 20% range, one can bet they'd be shouting it from the rooftops.  Someone miskeyed numbers - or perhaps several who don't share the faith apply "for kicks" and get turned down.

 

I've never seen a student who applied get turned down, unlike true selective schools - and their stats reflect a higher acceptance rate too - pretty low comparatively.

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Where did you find a list that has Liberty at #48? We have students apply to Liberty every single year and none I know of have been turned down. They are not students who would get into other places on your list TBH. I've never heard of Fort Valley State in GA or Southern U in LA either and would seriously doubt they belong in the Top 50...

 

Otherwise... looking at this list, Rice and WUSTL have merit scholarships - both highly competitive, but they have them.

Ds was accepted to both of these schools. He received merit at Rice (around $22.5k? Something like that), but none at WashU. I don't know how their application processes are now, but when Ds applied, Rice had a pretty long supplement to the Common App that was required of everyone. Merit was awarded based on the application. WashU had no *required* supplement for everyone, but there was a supplement if you wanted to be considered for merit. He did complete the supplement to be considered for merit but was not invited to their scholarship weekend. Again, this was four years ago. I think VERY few get merit at WashU. I believe if you were invited to the scholarship weekend you were at least going to get half tuition. Of those who attend, I think half of them get bumped up to full tuition. Don't hold me to this. I do not know if either school's process has changed since then.

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A school can be highly selective due to a small population, but Liberty is not small.  They're large - even on campus.

 

I played around on their site, but they don't give stats themselves.  They do for their online program (96% acceptance rate) and Honors Program (65% acceptance rate for high schoolers), but not for basic undergrad.  If they truly were in the 20% range, one can bet they'd be shouting it from the rooftops.  Someone miskeyed numbers - or perhaps several who don't share the faith apply "for kicks" and get turned down.

 

I've never seen a student who applied get turned down, unlike true selective schools - and their stats reflect a higher acceptance rate too - pretty low comparatively.

 

I think USNWR mistakenly used numbers from two different categories, with 30,000 representing the total number of applicants for ALL programs, while the number they used for "admitted students" only counts those admitted to the Lynchburg campus, thus creating a totally false "acceptance rate" of 21%. The number of students on the Lynchburg campus is ~13,000, which is in line with the "accepted students" number of ~6500, roughly half of whom actually enroll. The total enrollment for students in ALL programs, including online, is ~110,000, and I think that's where the "30,000 applicants" comes from.

 

There seem to be data errors for other anomalies in that list as well:

#27 Jarvis Christian College (ranked between Amherst and Bowdoin) is listed as having an acceptance rate of 14%, but Collegedata.com lists their acceptance rate as 54% and their average SAT math & CR scores as 370 & 357.

#33 Rust College is listed as having an acceptance rate of 16%, but other websites show an acceptance rate of 40% or more, and the average ACT is 15.

#47 Fort Valley State's acceptance rate is listed as 24%, but the numbers don't make sense because the number of "accepted" is less than the total number of freshman, and the number enrolled is only 2/3 of that, and yet this is a college with a very high drop-out rate — about half of freshmen don't return, and the 4 yr grad rate is 10%.

#49 Southern University has an acceptance rate of 21% according to USNWR, but Collegedata.com shows a rate of 79%, with an average ACT score of 16.

 

All of those errors make me wonder how many other stats in the USNWR rankings are wrong. I know that a lot of the info they list for Reed is incorrect, but they have been doing that (on purpose, as "punishment") ever since Reed asked to be removed from the listings and stopped sending data. But the fact that there were so many (presumably unintentional) errors in at least 5 of the 50 colleges on that list, really makes me wonder what their fact checking process is, and how often they get things wrong. 

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US News & World Report, "based on the fall 2015 entering class".

 

I think you are conflating "low acceptance rate" and "top tier". ;) A school can be highly selective due to a very small student population, so only a few spots available to be filled each year. A school can also have a very low acceptance rate due to being very specialized.

 

I was posting a list based on reported acceptance rates as the determining factor for "selective schools" -- not making a judgement call the quality of the schools. I assumed the OP would make the judgement as to which of the schools on the list was worthy of researching. :)

There are also sometimes issue with the data schools report concerning acceptance rates. There has been quite a bit written about this surrounding the service academies, e.g. counting applications started but never completed, counting summer academy applications, etc. Of course their application processes are so unique that it is also like comparing apples to oranges. Other schools may have different quirks in their reporting.
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Here's a list of schools that do NOT offer Merit Scholarships. This might help to cross some selective schools off right away. However, still worth checking the Net Price Calculators on these since schools like Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford may provide some need-based aid to families making up to $200,000.

 

Ivies;

 

Brown

Cornell

Columbia

Dartmouth

Harvard

Princeton

University of Pennsylvania

Yale

 

Other:

 

Amherst

Barnard

Bates

Bowdoin (except $2500 NM award)

Caltech

Carleton (except $2000 NM award)

Colby (except $500 NM award)

Colgate

Connecticut College

Georgetown

Hamilton

Haverford

Middlebury

MIT

Pomona

Reed

Stanford (except Athletic scholarships)

Tufts (except $500 NM award)

University of Chicago

Vassar

Wellesley

Wesleyan

Williams

 

That's how I went about the process with three of them.  Just cross those off in beginning, so no hearts are broken.  If you are counting on merit, but are considered full-pay, they would love to accept your kid.  They need a certain amount of full-pay students!

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U Rochester has merit scholarships.  Many of them are basic ($5 - $20K), but a few go up to full ride from what I understand.

 

Vanderbilt does too.  And Wake Forest + U Miami.  All of these have basic merit, but go up to full ride.  I'm sure there are more, but these are some a terrific gal from the school where I work got awarded so I KNOW they exist.  (All merit - no need-based aspect.)

 

One has to be really competitive to get the full rides - not so much for the basic awards.

 

I'm not familiar with the others, but this is incorrect for Vanderbilt, which states clearly that their merit aid is limited, competitive, and goes to the top 1% of applicants. 

Edited by katilac
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This is my go-to source.  It was very accurate when looking with my oldest. 

 

Of the more selective schools he applied to, he received good merit from Oberlin, Kenyon, Macalester and Denison.

Edited by lisabees
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I'm not familiar with the others, but this is incorrect for Vanderbilt, which states clearly that their merit aid is limited, competitive, and goes to the top 1% of applicants. 

 

The gal from our school would have been a senior (at college this past year.  She had full rides (all merit) to Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and U Miami (for selective schools - she had them at others like Pitt and U Alabama too).  She chose Wake Forest and was quite happy.  Her dream school was Stanford and she got in, but they don't offer merit aid and tossing out a full ride to be full pay (aside from some local scholarships adding up to about 20K) didn't seem wise to her.

 

I'm positive she'd have been in their Top 1% of applicants.  Whether Vandy has changed their policy over the past 4 years or whether they are more akin to UVA and have "outside" scholarships for full rides, I'm not sure.  I've lost connections to be able to ask.  I know she was out of school for competitions for each and then was kept abreast of her decisions and reasoning.  We had a pretty nice academic relationship the four years she was at my school.

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There are also sometimes issue with the data schools report concerning acceptance rates. There has been quite a bit written about this surrounding the service academies, e.g. counting applications started but never completed, counting summer academy applications, etc. Of course their application processes are so unique that it is also like comparing apples to oranges. Other schools may have different quirks in their reporting.

While there are multiple stages to a service academy application, it's worth noting that the preliminary app and summer seminar apps require as much as many schools ask for in their full application. Test scores, essay, in some cases a transcript and letters of recommendation.

 

My son applied to at least one civilian college but never finished the supplement. I'm sure they still counted him with their year's applications.

 

Now I do find it odd that at least one of the academies doesn't publish Common Data Set info.

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I'm not familiar with the others, but this is incorrect for Vanderbilt, which states clearly that their merit aid is limited, competitive, and goes to the top 1% of applicants. 

 

Vanderbilt's top scholarship currently is the Cornelius Vanderbilt, which is highly selective within their selective applicant pool and covers full tuition plus stipends for summer abroad or research opportunities.  Currently, there is nothing that covers full COA based strictly on merit.  There are additional departmental scholarships once you are there, but I don't know that this would end up covering full cost of attendance.

 

Edited by Gratia271
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I'm fairly ignorant of this topic, and the reason for this is that I'm under the impression, for a selective school "merit" will hopefully, maybe get you the privilege of paying the ticket price :)

But then I see for example Univ. of William and Mary* does offer some scholarships. I'm assuming the numbers required for these would be equivalent to being admitted to a much higher ranked school, correct?

What other selective schools have you come across that offer merit scholarships that doesn't have in-state limitations?

* this one got on my radar only bc a family member with older kids told me about it.

In terms of the bolded, I would classify scholarships like the1693 as more competitive/selective than admissions to higher ranked schools. While W&M might have a 34% acceptance rate, it looks like only 8 kids are selected as Scholars. The profiles of past winners are definitely competitive for top school admissions, but statistically, they are going to need something more to garner the committee's attention to be awarded the scholarship. (IOW, even school ranked 32, not top 10, is going to be full of tippy top applicants. These 8 would shine no matter where they applied.) http://www.wm.edu/as/1693scholars/selectioninfo/index.php. These kids are going to be the best of the best of W&M's applicants. (Kudos to our WTM boardie whose Dd is a 1693!)

 

The Stamps list of partner schools is a good one for a list of top schools which offer their extremely competitive scholarships. (Gratia's Dd is a Stamps. It is a major achievement.)

http://www.stampsfoundation.org/partners/

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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For a point of comparison, at The Ohio State, many of the people invited to interview for the Eminence Fellows program were also admitted to Ivies. It is ultimately awarded to around 25 students (varies slightly year to year).  From that pool, 4-5 become Stamps Scholars.  This is from an average entering class of around 8000 students.  So, like 8Fill said, the academic credentials of students admitted to these opportunities are typically at the top of the top and are admitted at just about everywhere they apply.

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Vanderbilt's top scholarship currently is the Cornelius Vanderbilt, which is highly selective within their selective applicant pool and covers full tuition plus stipends for summer abroad or research opportunities.  Currently, there is nothing that covers full COA based strictly on merit.  There are additional departmental scholarships once you are there, but I don't know that this would end up covering full cost of attendance.

 

This actually can explain the discrepancy with the gal I know.  She had won a 20K (per year) scholarship that is given to 1-3 students from our school from a local foundation.  I suspect she was using that in coordination with the CV to equal her full ride.  I know she didn't need the local one with WF (felt bad telling them she didn't need it) and I assumed that was the same with Vandy, but it probably wouldn't have been.  I'll adjust my thoughts assuming this is the case since I can't ask her directly (and her sibling has also since graduated).

Edited by creekland
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I think I worded my post poorly - I didn't mean that Vandy doesn't give substantial amounts of merit aid to any students, but rather that the aid they do give is competitive and goes to the top 1% of applicants. In other words, they have no basic awards. 

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I think it is hard to look at acceptance rate alone as a measure of selectivity.  If a school is currently very popular then sometimes the number of applicants goes up dramatically but those applicants are not necessarily all qualified.  I think it was Sewanee that went through this recently-sudden popularity that led to lower acceptance rates.

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I think it is hard to look at acceptance rate alone as a measure of selectivity.  If a school is currently very popular then sometimes the number of applicants goes up dramatically but those applicants are not necessarily all qualified.  I think it was Sewanee that went through this recently-sudden popularity that led to lower acceptance rates.

 

You can check the ACT range to get an idea of the students they accept. 

 

Swarthmore, 29-34 is the middle 50% of accepted students, 25% score below, 25% score above. 

 

You can find easily by searching "college name ACT range." 

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I've sent two kids to Washington & Lee (#14 LAC according to the US News ranking), both on merit scholarships.

 

Dd1 entered W&L the year before the Johnsons; she had a full-tuition scholarship but received full funding for an  amazing summer internship opportunity through the Johnson program.

 

Ds1 entered W&L the following year. He was a Johnson Scholar, and since the Johnson scholarships are large enough to cover not only tuition + room and board but also books and fraternity/sorority fees but he did not join a fraternity, he actually EARNED several thousand dollars per year just by attending W&L!

 

Seriously, the Johnson Scholarships are amazingly generous. Approximately 10% of the entering freshman class is awarded a minimum of a full-tuition scholarship, though only the tippy-top candidates are awarded the Johnson. Basically, if your student is invited to the scholarship weekend, he will most likely be awarded a full-tuition scholarship even if he does not receive a Johnson.

 

W&L should be at the top of the list of all top students who want a small private LAC and who are seriously interested in generous merit scholarships.

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I've sent two kids to Washington & Lee (#14 LAC according to the US News ranking), both on merit scholarships.

 

Dd1 entered W&L the year before the Johnsons; she had a full-tuition scholarship but received full funding for an  amazing summer internship opportunity through the Johnson program.

 

Ds1 entered W&L the following year. He was a Johnson Scholar, and since the Johnson scholarships are large enough to cover not only tuition + room and board but also books and fraternity/sorority fees but he did not join a fraternity, he actually EARNED several thousand dollars per year just by attending W&L!

 

Seriously, the Johnson Scholarships are amazingly generous. Approximately 10% of the entering freshman class is awarded a minimum of a full-tuition scholarship, though only the tippy-top candidates are awarded the Johnson. Basically, if your student is invited to the scholarship weekend, he will most likely be awarded a full-tuition scholarship even if he does not receive a Johnson.

 

W&L should be at the top of the list of all top students who want a small private LAC and who are seriously interested in generous merit scholarships.

 

If one were going to apply to W&L, they should be considering the requirements for homeschooled applicants early on in their high school years.  W&L suggests results from 5 AP or SAT subject tests from homeschoolers be included on their application.  This testing burden is far beyond what many other schools, including selective schools, even discuss.  This is a burden that is difficult to produce at the last minute if you feel you need to check all the boxes on the suggested list of supplements for homeschoolers.

 

Don't take this as a negative review of W&L, just a warning that if you are seriously considering them you may need begin testing before senior year.

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At W&L my kids knew several students who "fulfilled" the SAT-2 requirement by using AP's and CC classes. In other words, W&L is much more flexible than the admissions material indicates.

 

However, someone who works in admissions there (I met her anonymously at a Christmas party -- long story) says that while they would love to accept more homeschoolers, the problem with many homeschoolers is that they just don't submit enough "outside verification" for W&L to be sure that they will succeed once accepted. (Her words, not mine. Don't shoot the messenger!)

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And don't forget the tuition-free colleges.

 

Ds2 went to Webb -- an amazing college for naval architecture. All students get exciting internships every January (winterterm), and 100% of graduates have jobs by mid-summer. (The only reason the date is that late is that occasionally one has an "epiphany" in late spring and changes plans!) My son's wife has been to both Antarctica and Hawaii on various Winterterm internships!!!

 

For a student interested in mechanical engineering, ocean engineering, or naval architecture, it's hard to beat the hands-on education, and the price is definitely unbeatable! :D And hey, how colleges have provided the setting for the one of the film versions of The Great Gatsby? (The college is located on an estate on the Gold Coast of Long Island, right on the Sound!)

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And don't forget the tuition-free colleges.

 

Ds2 went to Webb -- an amazing college for naval architecture. All students get exciting internships every January (winterterm), and 100% of graduates have jobs by mid-summer. 

 

They look pretty cool! It's about $19,000 for room, board, books, and fees. Which is pretty amazing. My dd will pay quite a bit for her internship.  

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I've found this info in the Forbes article:
According to US News and World Report, Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa pays the highest percentage of merit scholarships in the country with 98% of students receiving non-need based aid.

 

https://www.bing.com/search?q=site%3Asearch.university&qs=n&form=QBRE&sp=-1&pq=site%3Asearch.university&sc=0-22&sk=&cvid=75B6AD788B4749CBA0DAA48B81D42D75

Edited by alpat

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They look pretty cool! It's about $19,000 for room, board, books, and fees. Which is pretty amazing. My dd will pay quite a bit for her internship.  

 

The Webb internships are all paid. Some definitely pay more than others, but all are paid. (Not surprisingly, interning in Maine building wooden boats pays significantly less than interning in Newport News working at a company that builds boats for the Navy!) Ds knew students who interned in Europe and Australia; some did their "on the boat" internship ferrying supplies to seriously remote islands in the Pacific. Pretty cool!

 

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for selectivity ranking:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/04/04/business/economy/economix-selectivity-table.html

 

The Barron's selectivity ranking system has been around since I went to college decades ago.

You can find the Barrons college book at many public libraries.

 

Create your college list first based on major etc and then look for merit aid.

 

[some day they will have an easier way to compare particular majors from college A to college B. ]

 

 

https://www.niche.com/colleges/rankings/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by MarkT
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The Webb internships are all paid.  

 

Her internship will be paid as well, but not as much as the tuition for 6 hours of credit! If she doesn't do a double major, she could do a spring internship and have it paid by scholarship, she has a ton of hours. But if she continues the double major plans, internship will have to be in summer. 

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