Preparing for College

Comrades in Apps

If you're a high school senior, you may be finished submitting all your college applications. Some of you may be planning marathon sessions to meet that January 1 (or thereabouts) deadline. Still others of you may have already heard good (or not so good) news about your Early Decision/Early Action apps. Whatever your situation, have you ever felt all alone out there in College App Land?

The cliche notes that misery loves company. However, if you're miserable about your situation, happy, or even ambivalent, theirs a place where you can hang out that most times offers comfort and even entertainment: the College Confidential discussion forum. It's kind of like a friendly club, where lots of others know your name and situation.

Here's a typical response to a poster's problem:

Poster's problem: Hi, I am trying to figure out safeties where I can get good merit aid and am interested to know which university, Northeastern or American, gives more merit aid.

If stats are helpful I have a 3.85 GPA, rank top 3% in a top public school in new england, and have a 1550/1600 SAT and 2290/2400 SAT. I have already been accepted to UConn Honors.

Also, are there any other safeties/targets with good merit aid that anyone might suggest? Thanks a lot in advance!

Helpful response: American doesn't list any specifics for their merit scholarships...therefore, there's no way to know what stats are needed, how many are awarded, how much is awarded, or anything. So, nothing is assured. AU Freshman Merit Scholarships | Financial Aid | American University, Washington, DC

Personally, I don't like vague scholarships. To me if a school offers many numerous scholarships, it would give more details.

Northeastern U

Northeastern University Undergraduate Admissions > Costs & Financial Aid > Scholarships

Trustee Scholarship

The Trustee Scholarship is our most prestigious and competitive full tuition, room and board scholarship and awards high achieving freshman applicants who demonstrate extraordinary accomplishments/skills in leadership, innovation, creativity, community service or entrepreneurship in their home or school communities. The most competitive students will have outstanding grades and test scores and are in the top one percent of

our admitted freshman applicant pool. Approximately 100 students will receive either the National Merit Finalist or Trustee Scholarship.

Achievement, Excellence and Dean's Scholarships

The top 25 percent of admitted freshman applicants may be considered for these competitive merit scholarships. These awards range from $5000–$16000 for the first year. In future years amounts are awarded on a per semester basis, ranging from $2500–$8000 per full semester.

How much merit money are you looking for? Assuming that the COAs of these schools is about $50k, how much merit do you want?

Getting to know your way around the CC forum is one of the first things you should do. There are categories for virtually any area related to the college process. There is also a long list of featured threads that discuss especially important topics, such as:

College admission rates for women spur civil rights probe.

More CC Research Help Needed. This time: Great college towns that aren't major cities.

Has anyone else been disillusioned by their first taste of college?

ED/EA Insights.

Declining an early decision acceptance offer.

Questions for an Admissions Insider? Ask an Expert on The New York Times' "The Choice."

Advice from people who have transferred: How did you stay the whole year?

There are literally millions of posts on the CC forum. It's highly likely that any question you have about your college admissions process has been (or is being) discussed on the forum. Thus, a simple check for your topic using the forum's powerful search function can save you plenty of time and effort.

And while you're at it, don't forget College Confidential's terrific main site, where you'll find an almost limitless number of extremely helpful articles about everything college. As the New York Times says about CC, it has "a wealth of information!"


Don't forget to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.