"What kind of scholarship can I get?"

The June blog post earned so much attention from CBS, The Washington Post, College Confidential, and others that I wanted to feature it here on the new blog as well.
The University of Rochester's new online Net Price Calculator will help families assemble an individual projection about financial assistance at UR. Mining data from last year reveals some rules of thumb about how the mythical “average” admitted student succeeded in earning a scholarship.

Warnings about interpreting these data:

  • UR doesn’t use a final scholarship formula. Committees with many perspectives review each admitted candidate’s documents multiple times.
  • Every year is different. These data show what happened this past year and reflect our values.
  • A “typical” UR entering student has completed on average 5.5 year-long AP courses or the equivalent, earned on average a 3.8 GPA, and scored in the 90th percentile on tests.

12 steps that mattered for earning merit scholarships
in the UR Class of 2015:

Academic excellence:

  1. Taking AP, IB, honors, and/or advanced courses (when available at the school) mattered. Rule of thumb: Merit awards increased on average $400 per rigorous course.
  2. Grades. Rule of thumb: Each semester academic course “A” grade translated into $62 more in merit. And—ahem—grades other than “A” reduced eligibility.
  3. Tests. Rule of thumb: In effect (not by design), UR awarded $115 more in merit on average for every 10 points higher on the SAT, or $425 for each 1 point higher ACT composite. So (for example), a student with three 750s on the SAT on average received $1,725 more in scholarship than a student with three 700s. That’s nice, but note that time and money spent prepping for and taking tests has a limited return-on-investment.

UR’s first commitment is to meet “demonstrated need”:

  1. Showing up: Regardless of need, completing the FAFSA correlated on average with $1,700 more in merit aid. Completing both the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE yielded on average $2,500 more in merit aid.
  2. We had a “progressive tax” in our merit. On average, each four dollars less in family income increased merit awards one cent. Not much impact per student, but noticeable overall.

Talk to us: The biggest gains in merit competition came from meeting us at the right time:

  1. Winners of our High School Awards (Bausch & Lomb, Xerox, George Eastman, and Frederick Douglass/Susan B. Anthony) received on average $300 more in merit aid.
  2. Admitted students who had serious conversations with admissions and financial aid counselors earned $3,000 average difference in merit aid. Even before admission, students who scheduled a recommended admissions interview earned on average $250 more in merit.
  3. Students who completed all parts of their admission application on time (including midyear requests) earned on average $400 more in merit than those who didn’t.

Out of control: Don’t change your location, your interests, your teachers, or your birthday, but those factors made a difference, reflecting the University’s interest in diversity:

  1. Greener pastures: The 62.5% of our students from out of state received on average about $2,000 more merit. Yet New York residents received $2,400 on average in extra need-based aid.
  2. Life experience: On average, each extra day of life a student brought to campus earned them an extra 82 cents in merit scholarship. Note: This is interesting, but not a reason by itself to delay college—you’d lose more in lifetime income than you would gain in a UR scholarship.
  3. Apples for teacher: A reader rating of “excellent” for an applicant’s letters of recommendation correlated with $1,800 more in merit awards.
  4. Dare to be different: On average, the more frequent the major interest, the lower the merit award. The average student received about $1.89 less every time someone else was admitted with the same major interest.

Comments for "What kind of scholarship can I get?"

Name: Marilyn McGaffin
Time: Thursday, April 11, 2013

My son has been offered an $80K merit scholarship at Tulane University. Could you explain to me why my son did not qualify for any merit scholarships at University of Rochester? Is there any way you could match this?

Name: Jon Burdick
Time: Friday, April 12, 2013

Ms. McGaffin,

Rochester reviews "second chance" self-nominations for any leftover/unclaimed scholarship awards at this time of year. Students who write to the Admissions Office get (one) extra chance. Your son should include any information that has emerged since he applied, or emphasize anything he thinks our committee might have missed the first time.

Our criteria for awarding aren't the same as Tulane's (in general or for any specific student), so there's no particular likelihood of us matching the specific offer, but we're happy to give him every competitive chance.

Name: UR Parent c/o 2015
Time: Friday, August 23, 2013

Hi Dean Burdick. My son (now a Jr year Chem E student) has the same level of scholarship that he received coming in as a Freshman, but since then he has made the Dean's list several semesters in a row. Is it possible to consider his college record for a higher level of scholarship this year or is that fixed for the duration based on his high school performance?

Name: Jon Burdick
Time: Sunday, September 1, 2013

UR Parent:

Thanks for writing and I apologize for my delay responding. We've welcomed Rochester's largest and best-ever freshman Class this past week! We've almost reached our planning goal of 5,000 undergraduates, two years ahead of schedule. Regarding merit scholarships, the majority are four-year awards at a fixed amount each year, automatically renewed if students continue to earn at least a 3.0 GPA. The amounts don't automatically increase, but continuing students on campus have two opportunities to earn additional funds from Admissions and Financial Aid. First is to qualify for any need-based assistance. In some cases students who entered without eligibility for financial aid will find that circumstances (and cost increases) make them eligible in later years. Students who think they might now qualify for help should complete the financial aid application process. In addition we offer a spring competition each year for "Continuing Student Scholarships;" current freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are invited to apply for these scholarships, which we award based on success at the University both in and out of classrooms (so research, leadership, involvement, and other achievements count along with grades). Winners of these scholarships (there were about 50 this past spring) receive the funds for the following year, and can continue to compete for up to three years total.

Congratulations to you and your son for his fine performance. I hope he will consider applying for a Continuing Student Scholarship for his senior year, and to come see us in the Financial Aid Office if we can help him in any other way.

Name: Chirapon
Time: Friday, December 27, 2013

I'm looking for some scholarship to study in the major of hotel and tourism management or any hospitality in master degree.

Name: Maisha
Time: Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hi! I am going to be a senior in high school this year. I received the Frederick Douglass/Susan B. Anthony Award last year. I live in Florida, and I was wondering if there were any links that showed possible scholarship opportunities, especially for out-of-state students.

Name: Feiraz el Rumy
Time: Thursday, November 6, 2014

We also list scholarship on scholarshipdesk.com. US and International students may use this scholarship portal.

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