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College suggestions - colder climate and merit aid


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DS is currently a junior and we are starting to formulate a college list. We are currently considering the colleges listed below but would like suggestions for additional ones. DS would prefer:

  • smaller more academic, liberal arts school but is open to larger schools as well.
  • merit aid as we are not eligible for financial aid i.e "Full pay"
  • history, computer science or International relations as major
  • colder climate - We live in the Seattle area and DS loves the overcast, mild to cold weather, likes rain or snow but HATES hot weather
  •  

This last criteria seems to be one of the more restrictive ones but he's pretty adamant about it so it seems to rule out most colleges in the South and Texas unfortunately.  Here's our current list. Please feel free to suggest other universities.

  • University of Washington
  • Whitman University (Walla Walla, WA)
  • University of Puget Sound (Tacoma, WA)
  • St. Olaf University (Northfield, MN)
  • University of Denver
  • Hobart & William Smith (Geneva, NY)
  • University of Rochester (Rochester, NY)
  • University of Vermont 
  • University of St. Andrews (Scotland)

Possibly

  • Denison University (Granville, OH)
  • Case Western (Cleveland, OH)
  • Lawrence University (Appleton, WI)
  • Hillsdale College (Hillsdale, MI)

 

 

 

 

 

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My daughter got an amazing merit aid package from Lawrence University (more than $100,000 over the 4 years), and an excellent one from Clark University as well ($80,000). I see that Lawrence is on your maybe list but I would strongly consider it. And Clark University is excellent for academics in an up-and-coming city - it's my daughter's top safety choice if she doesn't get into the more selective schools she applied to.

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On 1/23/2019 at 7:27 PM, GoodGrief1 said:

Grinnell College in Iowa has decent merit aid. You have a jewel there locally in UW though!!

I almost mentioned Grinnell. At least when my son was admitted, they promised to increase merit aid each year to match any increase in costs. I’m not sure if they still do.

 

Edited by Frances
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1 hour ago, Frances said:

Macalaster College in St. Paul, MN

My son got a scholarship that cut the cost in half plus a work study award, even though we didn’t qualify for financial aid.

 

Thanks for this data point. I will have to take a second look at Macalester. Previously I had read it was very stingy on merit (non-need based) aid even for top students so I ruled it out. We are trying to get the total COA in the mid $40s ideally so aiming for merit over $20000 if possible or a low base COA.

Also, thanks for the suggestions of Grinnell, Cornell College, Truman State, Clark and Westminster. Will look more closely at those.

 

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26 minutes ago, 3andme said:

 

Thanks for this data point. I will have to take a second look at Macalester. Previously I had read it was very stingy on merit (non-need based) aid even for top students so I ruled it out. We are trying to get the total COA in the mid $40s ideally so aiming for merit over $20000 if possible or a low base COA.

Also, thanks for the suggestions of Grinnell, Cornell College, Truman State, Clark and Westminster. Will look more closely at those.

 

If I recall correctly, I think my son’s generous scholarship was based on him being NM as an initial criteria. But I could be confusing it with a different school, as it has been several years. I do know it was the only school where he received a work study award. All the others required financial need to qualify. We liked it because my husband and I both made good connections through work study jobs.

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Is he a NMSF? If so and he is a top 2-3% applicant, he would be competitive for Fordham's full-tuition scholarship. Fordham has 2 campuses in NYC, one in Manhattan and the other in the Bronx. That scholarship would bring your costs down to $20,000.  Access to flights home would be easy, too. 

My Dd was interested in IR and they have internships at the UN. She looked into their different programs and found that they have more than one connection with the UN. Here's one: https://www.fordham.edu/info/21404/partnerships_and_affiliations/3154/united_nations/1 (She was also inereseted in foreign language and they had internships that way, too.)

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"merit aid as we are not eligible for financial aid i.e "Full pay""

Best NEVER to assume.  I forget the percentages, but approximately 25% of students do not file the FAFSA, assuming they cannot get Financial Aid.  Of those, approximately 25% of the students who did not file the FAFSA would be eligible for Financial Aid.

FILE THE FAFSA on October 1st, the day it becomes available for the Freshman year for your student.

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The following have an average of above 50 per cent receiving merit aid: Case Western, Creighton, Gustavus Adolphus College, Augustana, Clark, Grinnell, St. Olaf. Average merit aid is between 16K and 23K, but obviously an average doesn't really tell the whole story. Macalaster is around 40 per cent, with an average of 15K, and Carleton is 11 per cent, around 4.5K. Here's an interesting spreadsheet that lists this for you: http://www.personalcollegeadmissions.com/need-and-merit

If you're considering St. Andrew's, then I would suggest adding Edinburgh and if you really want cloudy and overcast and cheap but good, one of the university colleges in NL.

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We found the CTCL schools offered a lot of merit. The ones my dd applied to gave merit that brought her cost of attendance to our instate uni tuition. Any of the ones in the northeast will be in a cold climate. (Out of the ones we saw, we liked Allegheny the best) He would also qualify for instate tuition at UMaine, which while not a small LAC is a small university and certainly fits his cold weather requirement 🙂

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Lawrence in Wisconsin gave my kid over half COA bringing it right in line with our state flagship.  Amazing merit there!

Also, absolutely fill out the FAFSA, CSS, etc.  My kid has been accepted to 3 schools thus far.  At 2 of them he got money he would not have received had we not done financial aid filing.  By the calculators we qualify for aid NO WHERE.  Not even the most "generous" schools.   And I totally get why the EFC formulas don't actually work for many families.  I think they're a bit ridiculous actually.  

With a list that contains Hillsdale and Lawrence I'm a little puzzled about suggestions.  Have you visited any schools or done the online tours and introductions?  If Hillsdale is a yes, maybe somewhere like Wheaton in Illinois might be nice.  If you like Saint Olaf and Lawrence, Macalester and Grinell might be a good fit.  It also depends on stats when you are hoping for merit - you want to target schools where you are at the 75% or higher for best results merit hunting.  

I agree that the CTCL list is a great starting point!  I've been so impressed with every school on that list we've looked at even if it wasn't quite the right fit for my kid.

Edited by FuzzyCatz
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5 hours ago, whitestavern said:

We found the CTCL schools offered a lot of merit. The ones my dd applied to gave merit that brought her cost of attendance to our instate uni tuition. Any of the ones in the northeast will be in a cold climate. (Out of the ones we saw, we liked Allegheny the best) He would also qualify for instate tuition at UMaine, which while not a small LAC is a small university and certainly fits his cold weather requirement 🙂

 

Yes, I read through CTCL about  a year or so ago and noted a few colleges from it but priorities change and I'll definitely have to reread it with fresh eyes.  I will take a closer look at University of Maine - was not aware of their Flagship Match or NM program.

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5 hours ago, FuzzyCatz said:

Lawrence in Wisconsin gave my kid over half COA bringing it right in line with our state flagship.  Amazing merit there!

Also, absolutely fill out the FAFSA, CSS, etc.  My kid has been accepted to 3 schools thus far.  At 2 of them he got money he would not have received had we not done financial aid filing.  By the calculators we qualify for aid NO WHERE.  Not even the most "generous" schools.   And I totally get why the EFC formulas don't actually work for many families.  I think they're a bit ridiculous actually.  

With a list that contains Hillsdale and Lawrence I'm a little puzzled about suggestions.  Have you visited any schools or done the online tours and introductions?  If Hillsdale is a yes, maybe somewhere like Wheaton in Illinois might be nice.  If you like Saint Olaf and Lawrence, Macalester and Grinell might be a good fit.  It also depends on stats when you are hoping for merit - you want to target schools where you are at the 75% or higher for best results merit hunting.  

I agree that the CTCL list is a great starting point!  I've been so impressed with every school on that list we've looked at even if it wasn't quite the right fit for my kid.

 

I'm not hopeful about financial aid but will definitely fill out the forms - as you experienced, you just never know.  DS is politically conservative but not religious so he was attracted to Hillsdale's more conservative philosophy. They also have a low COA.   DS would prefer a more politically balanced campus and not one that is uber liberal or activist but this is not a priority since we live in a very liberal area and he's used to being in the minority in that regard. 

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D

1 hour ago, 3andme said:

 

I'm not hopeful about financial aid but will definitely fill out the forms - as you experienced, you just never know.  DS is politically conservative but not religious so he was attracted to Hillsdale's more conservative philosophy. They also have a low COA.   DS would prefer a more politically balanced campus and not one that is uber liberal or activist but this is not a priority since we live in a very liberal area and he's used to being in the minority in that regard. 

I wouldn't eliminate Fordham bc it is a Catholic U. From our perspective as very devout Catholics, Fordham meets our definition of Catholic in name only. It is a liberal campus, but most schools in areas outside of the South are.

If he wants a generally more conservative environment without being a conservative school, schools in the detested warm climates are more likely to offer him that balance.

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https://blog.prepscholar.com/colleges-with-full-ride-scholarships

Broken down by region. These schools give merit aid. Whether or not it is just a few big ones or smaller amounts for more students depends on the school. 

There is a list somewhere of schools with large NMF scholarships. (my search only brought up old lists) 

My oldest received merit scholarships from Rose-Hulman and Drexel that brought the COA down to 20K or so. 

 

 

 

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On 1/24/2019 at 6:59 AM, whitestavern said:

 (Out of the ones we saw, we liked Allegheny the best)  

 

Allegheny most definitely meets the cold weather requirement also, lol. It's a small college in a small town, which is another thing to consider - he sounds open to mid-sized schools, but has he considered urban vs suburban vs rural? My kids did not want to be rural or small town, so that narrowed things down a bit. 

Don't be overly swayed by colleges stating that give lots of merit aid - you are interested in final cost, and a $60,000 school can offer a good amount of merit aid and still come out pricier than a $40,000 school that offers little to no merit aid. I know, I know, this is somewhat obvious, but you are going to be on information overload and this is something you want to consider before narrowing your lists. The application fees can add up quickly! 

Check the cost of flights! Going to college in a city with cheap flights home vs expensive can add up to quite a bit over four years. 

Take a look at the midwest, the merit aid tends to be much more impressive at comparable schools when compared to the northeast. 

 

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Loyola Chicago has a beautiful, cold campus and the NPC gave us a price around 40k (21k merit estimate off 60k COA, when I ran it last spring; that may be outdated by now).  I'm not sure how reliable the NPC merit estimate is, but my sense is that bigger scholarships are not uncommon.

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On 1/26/2019 at 4:44 PM, Sebastian (a lady) said:

How committed is he to a small college? I think Miami University in Oxford Ohio fits in a lot of ways, but would be a large school compared to those you listed.  They do have automatic merit aid that isn't for top achievers only.

 

He thinks he might prefer small but honestly we haven't visited any schools yet so I don't think we should eliminate based on size just yet. I'll take a look at Miami Univ in Ohio. I've seen the name before and it always confuses me. 

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On 1/24/2019 at 12:37 PM, 8FillTheHeart said:

D

I wouldn't eliminate Fordham bc it is a Catholic U. From our perspective as very devout Catholics, Fordham meets our definition of Catholic in name only. It is a liberal campus, but most schools in areas outside of the South are.

If he wants a generally more conservative environment without being a conservative school, schools in the detested warm climates are more likely to offer him that balance.

 

Definitely not ruling out any colleges with religious affiliation as long as they don't require a faith code or something similar. DS is not crazy about urban schools would prefer suburban or rural but I'm not sure it's a dealbreaker. It seems like Fordham has a lot to offer for IR.

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 Thanks for the continuing suggestions. This has been really helpful as most of these colleges have not been on my radar. Adding Fordham, Alleghany, Ursinus, St. Norbert, Norwich, Knox, Loyola Chicago, Miami Univ of Ohio, Gonzaga, and Whitworth to my research list.

Edited by 3andme
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If he is serious about cold climates, University of Alaska Fairbanks is not a horrible choice, and has some interesting elements for a young person who grew up in Seattle. The merit scholarships are decent. It's not a liberal arts school, but it's not a huge university either. The "college experience" would not be the same at University of Alaska Anchorage, which is more of a commuter school. Anyway, tossing it out there in case it might interest your son. 🙂 It was on my daughter's list, as we are in-state, and we have been to Fairbanks many times.

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