I am especially happy to share another set of merit scholarship awards that a teenager (this one from Georgia) earned. If you missed the first set of offers from a teenager in the Pacific Northwest that I shared in my last college blog post, you can find them here:
I was particularly psyched to receive the awards from the Georgia teenager because the schools that she applied to were primarily located in the South. As I’ve mentioned many times before, you’ll find many of the best value schools in the South, Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and interior West.
Even I was surprised, however, at how reasonable the prices were after the merit scholarships were subtracted! The lowest priced school was Goucher College which came in at a mere $14,346!
This teenager’s awards also illustrate another admission reality: an applicant is more likely to receive better financial aid or merit awards if they are academically in the top third to the top quarter of the applicants.
Georgia Teenager’s Awards
Background on the Georgia Teenager
Here is what the Georgia teenager’s mom shared about her daughter:
My daughter applied to 12 schools, one state school which is not listed on the College Abacus, so I couldn’t do the calculations. The cost of it was about $13,000.
My calculations for transportation are not official for the school. I put in $500 for schools close by, $750 for medium distance and $1,500 for those far away, where my daughter would fly (she will come home a few times a year, more than most).
Expected Family Contribution
Our Expected Family Contribution is a little over $29,000, but is far more than what we can realistically pay, since my husband is nearing retirement age, and we have a son who is in technical school and though 24, will still be going to school for 2 more years.
My daughter is a good student (I think 3.85 unweighted GPA) with 5 AP’s, 1 Honors, 1 dual-enrollment class, numerous extra-curriculars including tennis, a volunteer experience in Chile this past summer, and leadership in a few clubs.
She received merit scholarships from all the schools except the state school. There she qualifies for our Georgia Zell Miller Award, which is full tuition, but does not cover the ever increasing “fees”, and of course, not room and board.
Berry College offered $14,500, which was lowest, but the Zell Miller state grant for private schools is $4,000 and private schools get a tuition equalization grant of 700, making the total $19,200.
Her First College Choice
Her first choice was Wofford College, and even though they met our EFC, it was very disappointing, as she was selected for Wofford Scholars and had visited 5 times, including overnight. Not sure what to think about that.
She has decided on Goucher, where she received a full tuition scholarship. Her dad and I were a little anxious about it, due to their fairly low graduation rate in 4 years, but after visiting, I feel she made the right choice for her.
I think some of Goucher’s graduation rate is due to their accepted B to B+ students who don’t have a clue what they want to do. They have many General Ed requirements, but some classes count for 2 areas. I think you must choose classes carefully.
Our daughter decided long ago that she loves Biology,and taking AP Bio now, so will enter on a pre-med/pre Physician Assistant track (what she really wants). Goucher also allows 16 credits to transfer from other schools with pre-approval (the science profs said no problem to taking math classes, etc. in the summer to transfer in).
I wanted to get your opinion about the graduation rate and the school in general?
After visiting many schools (I lost count…at least 15), Lindsay decided she wanted a metropolitan area. She knows if she goes over the 4-year mark, the nearly $20,000 a semester is on her.
Congratulations on your daughter’s impressive haul of merit scholarships.
Goucher’s graduation rate (60%) is lower than many selective liberal arts colleges. (Among all private non-profit colleges and universities, Goucher’s grad rate ranks it in the 78th percentile.)
One reason for Goucher’s lower grad rate is it’s freshmen retention rate (83%) which is also lower than many liberal arts colleges. Since freshmen who leave the school are officially counted as never having graduated from their original institution, the grad rate looks artificially low. The grad rate for students who remain at Goucher will be higher. I doubt that your daughter will have any trouble graduating on time.
I pulled Goucher’s grad rate and freshmen retention rate from College Completion, a microsite within The Chronicle of Higher Education. I’d urge you to check it out when researching schools.
I would ask the school why 17% of freshman leave after their first year. You also would want to be confident that there will be enough students matching your daughter’s academic caliber attending the school. How rigorous will the academics be for her? I suspect that wouldn’t be a problem if she’s in the pre-med track.
That is the potential trade-off that a teenager faces when she aims for schools that will give her their largest merit scholarships. To get those, you typically have to be better on paper than the vast majority of applicants. It’s a balancing act.
If anyone wants to chime in on this, please leave your comment in the box below.