Holding Acceptances? Leveraging for financial aid?

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superbug99

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Hi friends! I am so so fortunate to have acceptances to great schools, but I'm a little confused on what I should do now.

Right now, I have acceptances to UCSF, WashU in St. Louis, and UVA (awaiting results from UW and Columbia interviews now). I think I am going to withdraw from my spot at UVA, as I don't think even a total COA scholarship would compel me to choose it over my other two schools. Currently, I am heavily leaning towards UCSF (for their P/F/lack of AOA), but I would definitely consider WashU over UCSF given a generous financial aid package. I would also heavily consider Columbia/UW (if I get in lol) again with financial aid in mind. How should I go about letting schools know my thought process? And does the SDN community have any insight/guidance they could give me? For additional context, I am thinking about OBGYN right now, but don't want to completely shut down the possibility of pursuing a more competitive specialty.

I really don't want to seem tone-deaf, and I recognize I am in an extremely fortunate position! I also recognize that I'm holding onto a lot of acceptances right now, and the general tone on the premed subreddit seems to be if I can narrow down my choices at all to help other applicants, I should do so. Any guidance would be much appreciated!

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I think that most of the people on premed Reddit who say not to hold onto acceptances because it’s selfish are saying it for their own selfish reasons. You earned the acceptances so imo it’s not tone dead to keep them until you decide for sure. Unless you know for a fact you would never end up attending a school no matter what (ie full tuition scholarship) then it’s okay to not withdraw while you consider things further

Congrats by the way. That’s an impressive handful of acceptances
 
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I think that most of the people on premed Reddit who say not to hold onto acceptances because it’s selfish are saying it for their own selfish reasons. You earned the acceptances so imo it’s not tone dead to keep them until you decide for sure. Unless you know for a fact you would never end up attending a school no matter what (ie full tuition scholarship) then it’s okay to not withdraw while you consider things further

Congrats by the way. That’s an impressive handful of acceptances
Thank you so much for your perspective! I'm trying to tell myself it's ok to weigh my options longer, but with how stressed people are about this process, it makes me want to narrow down my choices sooner
 
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Thank you so much for your perspective! I'm trying to tell myself it's ok to weigh my options longer, but with how stressed people are about this process, it makes me want to narrow down my choices sooner
You earned these acceptances. Your withdrawing now is unlikely to make any meaningful dent in waitlist movement. So, do what's best for you. Just my thoughts and congratulations!
 
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You earned these acceptances. Your withdrawing now is unlikely to make any meaningful dent in waitlist movement. So, do what's best for you. Just my thoughts and congratulations!
That is true, I guess it's unlikely that things will change much on waitlists until we get closer to the commitment date, thank you for your perspective! I was wondering if it was possible to leverage these acceptances for getting more financial aid? I obviously should do a lot more personal research on it first, but I'm a little confused on the best way to go about it
 
That is true, I guess it's unlikely that things will change much on waitlists until we get closer to the commitment date, thank you for your perspective! I was wondering if it was possible to leverage these acceptances for getting more financial aid? I obviously should do a lot more personal research on it first, but I'm a little confused on the best way to go about it
There really is no "best way," since one size does not fit all. It all depends on what schools you are talking about, how attractive a candidate you are relative to the rest of their admitted pool, whether you are talking about merit or need-based aid, what the school's merit or need based aid budget is, and whether you are receiving aid, and how much, from your other schools.

As a matter of policy, some schools simply will not match, while others will not risk losing attractive candidates to peer institutions over money. The mere fact that you have a bunch of acceptances to great schools will not, in and of itself, generate a bidding war for the right to educate you. Demonstrated financial need, and/or merit scholarships at peer institutions, OTOH, might shake some money loose.

It's way too early to play the game. You need to wait until you have all your As and all your financial aid offers. At that point, if the school you really want is falling significantly short of another school that you would also be happy to attend, that's the time to lay your cards on the table and make your request. You cannot, however, just put out a request for bids like someone shopping for a loan on LendingTree. :)

Now is the time to enjoy your success and let the rest of the cycle play out. As we get into the spring, your'll have a clearer picture regarding what your financial aid situation is going to look like. Hope this helps.
 
There really is no "best way," since one size does not fit all. It all depends on what schools you are talking about, how attractive a candidate you are relative to the rest of their admitted pool, whether you are talking about merit or need-based aid, what the school's merit or need based aid budget is, and whether you are receiving aid, and how much, from your other schools.

As a matter of policy, some schools simply will not match, while others will not risk losing attractive candidates to peer institutions over money. The mere fact that you have a bunch of acceptances to great schools will not, in and of itself, generate a bidding war for the right to educate you. Demonstrated financial need, and/or merit scholarships at peer institutions, OTOH, might shake some money loose.

It's way too early to play the game. You need to wait until you have all your As and all your financial aid offers. At that point, if the school you really want is falling significantly short of another school that you would also be happy to attend, that's the time to lay your cards on the table and make your request. You cannot, however, just put out a request for bids like someone shopping for a loan on LendingTree. :)

Now is the time to enjoy your success and let the rest of the cycle play out. As we get into the spring, your'll have a clearer picture regarding what your financial aid situation is going to look like. Hope this helps.
Thank you so much for the thought you put into this response! I will try to just chill then for awhile :)
 
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Thank you so much for the thought you put into this response! I will try to just chill then for awhile :)
My policy was essentially to only withdraw from schools that offered 0 merit aid or very little need aid. Of 13 IIs, only 1 qualified, and I withdrew from it post-A. I have some A's rn that I know I wouldn't go to, but I'm holding onto for FA purposes. Def don't recommend withdrawing from UVA for now (UVA is one of mine too).
 
My policy was essentially to only withdraw from schools that offered 0 merit aid or very little need aid. Of 13 IIs, only 1 qualified, and I withdrew from it post-A. I have some A's rn that I know I wouldn't go to, but I'm holding onto for FA purposes. Def don't recommend withdrawing from UVA for now (UVA is one of mine too).
Yes, probably better safe than sorry. I really can't imagine a scenario where I go to UVA over WashU/UCSF, but perhaps I'm being naive, and should hold on to that A for longer
 
Yes, probably better safe than sorry. I really can't imagine a scenario where I go to UVA over WashU/UCSF, but perhaps I'm being naive, and should hold on to that A for longer
Definitely not cause you might go, but just so you have the option to increase your aid at the other two schools, or any other schools you get into.
 
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Thank you so much for the thought you put into this response! I will try to just chill then for awhile :)
I have to disagree with @KnightDoc on this one. Many schools have converted their financial aid to 100% need-based, but some retain recruitment funds to help them snag their unicorns. If I were you I would make a gentle inquiry to UCSF and WashU about scholarships. Name drop the other institution. The worst they can do is say no. UVA is a good school, but unless you're a Virginia resident it's not going to give you any leverage against those other two.
 
I have to disagree with @KnightDoc on this one. Many schools have converted their financial aid to 100% need-based, but some retain recruitment funds to help them snag their unicorns. If I were you I would make a gentle inquiry to UCSF and WashU about scholarships. Name drop the other institution. The worst they can do is say no. UVA is a good school, but unless you're a Virginia resident it's not going to give you any leverage against those other two.
With all due respect, you are not disagreeing with me at all! :)

Please go back a reread what I said. "As a matter of policy, some schools simply will not match, while others will not risk losing attractive candidates to peer institutions over money. The mere fact that you have a bunch of acceptances to great schools will not, in and of itself, generate a bidding war for the right to educate you. Demonstrated financial need, and/or merit scholarships at peer institutions, OTOH, might shake some money loose."

I stand by what I said about it being too early to make this move. Many schools do not make need based fin aid or merit grant awards until March or April, and you really need to wait until all of that is done, including at the target schools, in order to effectively ask for anything, anywhere.
 
I have to disagree with @KnightDoc on this one. Many schools have converted their financial aid to 100% need-based, but some retain recruitment funds to help them snag their unicorns. If I were you I would make a gentle inquiry to UCSF and WashU about scholarships. Name drop the other institution. The worst they can do is say no. UVA is a good school, but unless you're a Virginia resident it's not going to give you any leverage against those other two.
I will definitely do a lot more research into this approach, thank you for your insight! I honestly don't think I'm enough of a unicorn for it to matter too much, but always worth a shot! Thank you for your perspective
 
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With all due respect, you are not disagreeing with me at all! :)

Please go back a reread what I said. "As a matter of policy, some schools simply will not match, while others will not risk losing attractive candidates to peer institutions over money. The mere fact that you have a bunch of acceptances to great schools will not, in and of itself, generate a bidding war for the right to educate you. Demonstrated financial need, and/or merit scholarships at peer institutions, OTOH, might shake some money loose."

I stand by what I said about it being too early to make this move. Many schools do not make need based fin aid or merit grant awards until March or April, and you really need to wait until all of that is done, including at the target schools, in order to effectively ask for anything, anywhere.
Wait until you have at least one financial and or merit aid offer. Then in April, you can negotiate one of two ways leading up to single PTE. You can proactively communicate to the admissions dean at those schools that you are hoping to do better than your current aid package at X; this helps remove multiple back and forth. Or, you can wait for all packages to arrive and the. With the clock ticking down to April 30, indicate you hope they can consider better package like X and Y.
 
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Hi friends! I am so so fortunate to have acceptances to great schools, but I'm a little confused on what I should do now.

Right now, I have acceptances to UCSF, WashU in St. Louis, and UVA (awaiting results from UW and Columbia interviews now). I think I am going to withdraw from my spot at UVA, as I don't think even a total COA scholarship would compel me to choose it over my other two schools. Currently, I am heavily leaning towards UCSF (for their P/F/lack of AOA), but I would definitely consider WashU over UCSF given a generous financial aid package. I would also heavily consider Columbia/UW (if I get in lol) again with financial aid in mind. How should I go about letting schools know my thought process? And does the SDN community have any insight/guidance they could give me? For additional context, I am thinking about OBGYN right now, but don't want to completely shut down the possibility of pursuing a more competitive specialty.

I really don't want to seem tone-deaf, and I recognize I am in an extremely fortunate position! I also recognize that I'm holding onto a lot of acceptances right now, and the general tone on the premed subreddit seems to be if I can narrow down my choices at all to help other applicants, I should do so. Any guidance would be much appreciated!
Visit the schools that you're interested in again. Narrow it down to two and schedule a tour with a current med student or admissions officer. Bring something to take notes, and prepare questions.

You can also find out a lot by looking at each school's website. But nothing beats an in-person experience.

You're going to be a doctor either way--trust me; you will pay off your loans eventually. You said that you would attend Columbia/U Wash if they gave you a generous financial aid package, no?

I would
1. Be careful posting identifying information like this on the internet, as this is not how to go about "leveraging for financial aid" with med schools
2. Follow the advice above about visiting the school in person. I say this not as a way to garner a bigger financial aid package, but as a way to find a school that is the best fit for you.

I wish you the best of luck.
 
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I will definitely do a lot more research into this approach, thank you for your insight! I honestly don't think I'm enough of a unicorn for it to matter too much, but always worth a shot! Thank you for your perspective
you don't always have to be a unicorn tbh. 64% of WashU students are on a full tuition scholarship. 30% get around half.
80% of UCLA students get some form of merit scholarship while around 30% are on full tuition (with half of that on full COA too)
I think about half of Mayo students get a full tuition scholarship and a quarter get half tuition?
Some of these schools give out a LOT of aid.
 
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you don't always have to be a unicorn tbh. 64% of WashU students are on a full tuition scholarship. 30% get around half.
80% of UCLA students get some form of merit scholarship while around 30% are on full tuition (with half of that on full COA too)
I think about half of Mayo students get a full tuition scholarship and a quarter get half tuition?
Some of these schools give out a LOT of aid.
Are you saying only 6% of WashU students pay more than half tuition? That number seems way low to me.

TBH, I seriously doubt they are providing $4.4 million in tuition subsidies for each class, while telling the last 5 students each year that they simply don't have an additional $164K for them! :)
 
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Are you saying only 6% of WashU students pay more than half tuition? That number seems way low to me.

TBH, I seriously doubt they are providing $4.4 million in tuition subsidies for each class, while telling the last 5 students each year that they simply don't have an additional $164K for them! :)
I mean... I attended their interview. The exact breakdown was as follows: 64% have full tuition aid. 30% receive some tuition aid that they said averages around half tuition. I definitely mischaracterized that "half tuition" number, as it could totally be 15% get 55k and 15% get 5k for an average of 30k, which is half tuition (I implied that all of that 30% is getting half tuition each, rather than it being the average).

Only 2-3 students a year graduate with more than 200k debt. Only 40% of the student body has any debt at all, and over half of that is under 100k. Of course, you can't calculate too much from my source below as parental aid isn't provided.
WashU is very very generous with both need and merit aid. I realized in my interview just how underrated they are as a uni.
 
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I mean... I attended their interview. The exact breakdown was as follows: 64% have full tuition aid. 30% receive some tuition aid that they said averages around half tuition. I definitely mischaracterized that "half tuition" number, as it could totally be 15% get 55k and 15% get 5k for an average of 30k, which is half tuition (I implied that all of that 30% is getting half tuition each, rather than it being the average).

Only 2-3 students a year graduate with more than 200k debt. Only 40% of the student body has any debt at all, and over half of that is under 100k. Of course, you can't calculate too much from my source below as parental aid isn't provided.
WashU is very very generous with both need and merit aid. I realized in my interview just how underrated they are as a uni.
Okay, but this still begs the question, with 2/3 receiving full tuition and 83% of the remainder receiving grants averaging half tuition, why on earth are they screwing around with a whopping 5 people in a class of 84, and not just throwing them into the pool and tossing a few bucks their way? Seems a little petty to me at that point, and should probably make those people feel a little foolish to be the only 5 people in the class paying full tuition.
 
Okay, but this still begs the question, with 2/3 receiving full tuition and 83% of the remainder receiving grants averaging half tuition, why on earth are they screwing around with a whopping 5 people in a class of 84, and not just throwing them into the pool and tossing a few bucks their way? Seems a little petty to me at that point, and should probably make those people feel a little foolish to be the only 5 people in the class paying full tuition.
yea... I had that exact same question myself tbh. Best guess is they were taken from the waitlist and WashU figured they were easily replaceable or just has a general policy of not giving non-need aid to people from the waitlist.

This policy isn't the rarest though. At UCLA, about 110 students get some aid, with 90-100 receiving some form of merit aid. That leaves like 10 guys that get nothing. Similar things happen at Mayo (my friend goes there, got in off the waitlist, got no scholarship, and he says he's one of very few)

Also WashU's class size is 125, not 84.
 
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yea... I had that exact same question myself tbh. Best guess is they were taken from the waitlist and WashU figured they were easily replaceable or just has a general policy of not giving non-need aid to people from the waitlist.

This policy isn't the rarest though. At UCLA, about 110 students get some aid, with 90-100 receiving some form of merit aid. That leaves like 10 guys that get nothing. Similar things happen at Mayo (my friend goes there, got in off the waitlist, got no scholarship, and he says he's one of very few)

Also WashU's class size is 125, not 84.
According to MSAR, the class size is 104, with 20 being MD/PhD. For the record, most people are "easily replaceable" at a T10 (11 :)) school. That's not a reason to exclude a tiny minority of the student body from at least a little tuition discount. Raising $4.4 million to provide monetary incentives to 94% of the class is really no different from raising $4.6 million to provide something to everyone.

JMHO, but TBH, if I were in that position and had a significantly less expensive alternative, I'd let them easily replace me on principle alone.
 
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According to MSAR, the class size is 104, with 20 being MD/PhD. For the record, most people are "easily replaceable" at a T10 (11 :)) school. That's not a reason to exclude a tiny minority of the student body from at least a little tuition discount. Raising $4.4 million to provide monetary incentives to 94% of the class is really no different from raising $4.6 million to provide something to everyone.

JMHO, but TBH, if I were in that position and had a significantly less expensive alternative, I'd let them easily replace me on principle alone.
Yea, you make great points. Honestly, felt the same way.
Also, no idea what's going on with MSAR, but their class size is 123 people. They told us they aim for 125 on interview day. You can see here:
60 women and 62 men
 
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Yea, you make great points. Honestly, felt the same way.
Also, no idea what's going on with MSAR, but their class size is 123 people. They told us they aim for 125 on interview day. You can see here:
60 women and 62 men
Okay, so they bumped up the class size. You still have to back out the MD/PhDs, since they are fully funded everywhere, and usually not by the school. The MD-onlys are 90, which is not that much more than the 84 I pulled from MSAR.

Also, no kidding, if I didn't have a significantly less expensive alternative, but I had an acceptance from a peer like Cornell or Columbia that doesn't give merit money to anyone, I'd choose the other school for no reason other than I'd feel stupid being one of very few paying full freight, and would much rather be somewhere where I felt I was being treated equitably, even though the money would be exactly the same.

After all, when you think about it, even though the schools are truly awesome, Rochester, MN and St. Louis, MO, are really not two of the most attractive places in the country to spend 4 years. The schools only get away with things like this because people like your friend allow them to.
 
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