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Merit Aid for Med School

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by barsoum.michael, 05.14.14.

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  1. barsoum.michael

    barsoum.michael 2+ Year Member

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    How does one get a merit scholarship for med school? What do you have to do to get one?
     
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  3. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor Gold Donor 5+ Year Member

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    Be the embodiment of the school's mission.
     
    DermViser, ChemEngMD, Entadus and 3 others like this.
  4. tantacles

    tantacles Lifetime Donor SDN Moderator 7+ Year Member

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    Ideally with a 38 or above MCAT.
     
  5. PreMedOrDead

    PreMedOrDead I'm sure you'll get in... 2+ Year Member

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    Basically, you have to be such an exceptional individual in some way that an admissions committee says, "Wow, this person is amazing. We have to have him/her."

    Perfect MCAT, saved a starving child from a bear attack with your bare hands, ate a poop hot dog, and cured cancer all in one year, etc. They come from a million subjective things that specifically awe the right people during the application process. It is rare that there are set standards for who receives them.

    TL;DR: Excel and get lucky.
     
    DermViser and gyngyn like this.
  6. moop

    moop 1K Member Banned Account on Hold

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    I'm sure all this is always subjective, but generally speaking, is matching the school mission a must? Necessary or sufficient?
     
  7. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor Gold Donor 5+ Year Member

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    Necessary, but not sufficient.
    If one is the very incarnation of a school's mission and has every characteristic that defines excellence, the odds that a merit scholarship will be forthcoming goes up. Each school's endowment varies, so having all this may still be insufficient. Timing also plays an important role.
     
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  8. moop

    moop 1K Member Banned Account on Hold

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    Ah. So they're not always given to monstrous stats people? Still a chance for median stats applicants to wiggle their way to merit aid based on the rest of the shining package?

    This changes things..
     
  9. PreMedOrDead

    PreMedOrDead I'm sure you'll get in... 2+ Year Member

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    Yes and no. While it's certainly possible for a median GPA/MCAT applicant to receive a merit scholarship, chances are the shining package is going to someone that is both above the median stats (extracurricular activity-wise as well) AND is the embodiment of the school's mission.

    Basically, do your best and don't expect anything. If you receive money be eternally grateful, but do not feel entitled to it. No one is.
     
    ridethecliche likes this.
  10. Espadaleader

    Espadaleader 5+ Year Member

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    If you're exceptional you can get in on a low GPA or MCAT. Not both. Also, "low MCAT" still needs to be strong. Remember, a 30 MCAT is the 80th percentile. Low GPA can't be lower than 3.6: it you have 3.6/30 and you spent 2 years at NIH, did Fulbright, are a single parent etc. you might get merit aid.
     
  11. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    Get more than one offer and be so desirable as a candidate that at least one school is willing to throw money at you to entice you to matriculate.
     
  12. gyngyn

    gyngyn Professor Gold Donor 5+ Year Member

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    Preferably at a loftier institution!
     
  13. wiloghby

    wiloghby In a Step 1 cave 2+ Year Member

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    Bingo! This is what I did. My GPA is sub 3.6, but with a strong MCAT too. And aside from being classified as SES disadvantaged I'm not underrepresented. So if your interviews and everything go/went really well, it might work out for you too!

    Basically I did as gyngyn hinted and waited for the right time to point out to both schools that their COAs were virtually identical, that cost was very important for me and my family, and that I could see myself attending either school. (I had already qualified for need-based at both schools so the schools already had some idea of my financial situation).

    One school e-mailed me to congratulate me on my merit scholarship 2 days later. Sometimes a merit scholarship is a need scholarship too -- i.e. you gotta let them know you need one :]
     
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  14. EMDO2018

    EMDO2018 Banned Banned

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    Going through this process right now, hopefully I can get my tuition down to 20k.
     
  15. wiloghby

    wiloghby In a Step 1 cave 2+ Year Member

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    Cool! I'm sure you'll end up paying less than I will then. Have you had any luck yet? Definitely keep us posted.
     
  16. Narmerguy

    Narmerguy SDN Senior Moderator 7+ Year Member

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    I think a lot of it is out of your control so there's not much use in dwelling on the scholarship stuff. The easiest things you can control are GPA/MCAT. Having a high combo of these seems to be one of the most consistent commonalities between people who receive substantial merit scholarships. You can be desirable to medical schools for other reasons, but it's harder to know these and they're often out of your control (e.g. URM). Just excel at what you do and people are attracted to good work.
     
  17. aspirantmed

    aspirantmed

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    To future readers of this thread, definitely keep in mind that cases like these are probably more the exception than the rule. Unless you can make a really, really good case for yourself, it's also entirely plausible that your schools will tell you (as mine did) "Great; we'll miss ya!"

    Granted, my need profile isn't as substantial, and my stats are probably only in the ~70th percentile for these institutions .. but just know it's not as simple as bargaining down pricing on a new car. :)
     
  18. wiloghby

    wiloghby In a Step 1 cave 2+ Year Member

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    On a completely unrelated note, I've never had any luck negotiating a car deal for some reason. I've tried and tried and they'll never budge for me.

    My point is that merit scholarships aren't purely rewards for those with the best metrics. Certainly if you want a merit scholarship, you better work your butt off to have a top GPA and MCAT and just turn in the best application you can. Once you've done that, I do think timing can be important. Merit scholarships are given with a strategic purpose by AdComms, I would imagine -- namely to convince students to attend their school. Even if you are a 4.0/45/astronaut, I suspect/know there are schools that won't seriously consider you for a merit scholarship if you aren't holding acceptances to other schools. If offering you merit aid isn't going to impact your decision, they'd be better off using that money where it would yield other top-rated applicants who are on the fence -- no? And I suspect that becomes a much more important consideration very close to May 15. I bet the very same student that might be offered some aid on 5/14 or 5/15 might not get any merit aid if they were admitted off the wait list a week before orientation.

    Granted, all of that has been hypothesizing and assumption on my part. But it's the hypothesis on which I based my merit aid hopes.

    But for sure: letting a school know you have less expensive options can help in that it certainly can't hurt. NickNaylor has posted a couple of times about the easiest $30,000 he ever made. And I hope EMDO2018 will sometime soon too.
     
  19. breakintheroof

    breakintheroof MS-Zero 2+ Year Member

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    Intriguing. A few searches didn't turn this up. @NickNaylor, care to tell the story again?
     
  20. wiloghby

    wiloghby In a Step 1 cave 2+ Year Member

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    well.... I think it was him! But this is my memory we're talking about... after work.. at 3:00 AM. So I apologize if I fabricated that.
     
  21. trino

    trino 2+ Year Member

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    This is very true. Many merit scholarships should be considered recruitment scholarships. Not so much given because of what the person did, but to get them to attend over offers from other schools. It's like a snowball effect. Once you have an offer from one school, others will be easier to get offers from
     
  22. breakintheroof

    breakintheroof MS-Zero 2+ Year Member

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    No worries. Perhaps it is lost to history.
     
  23. EMDO2018

    EMDO2018 Banned Banned

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    Did it! tuition down to 20k from 48k.
     
    youmed likes this.
  24. moop

    moop 1K Member Banned Account on Hold

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    How?
     
  25. EMDO2018

    EMDO2018 Banned Banned

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    I think they planned on giving me the scholarship all along, but when I got accepted to another school they said I would get it only if I chose them. Plus, it was 18k academic scholarship 1o k diversity scholarship.
     
  26. NickNaylor

    NickNaylor Daisy the Dog Lifetime Donor 7+ Year Member

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    Sure thing.

    Back in the good ol days, I was choosing between my current institution - the one I really wanted to attend but which had a significantly higher COA - and my local state school - a fantastic school in and of itself, but 20 minutes away from where I grew up but also, obviously, much cheaper. I had received a scholarship already to my current institution with my acceptance but knew, thanks to SDN, that higher "tiers" of scholarships were available. After I went to the second look weekend at my current school, I sent the admissions office an email reiterating my interest in the school and that - financial considerations aside - I would absolutely attend their institution. However, given that I was paying for my own education, cost was a primary consideration for me. I asked to be considered for an increase in my scholarship of the committee felt my application was deserving of it and hoped for the best. The next day I got an email from the admissions director saying that my scholarship had been increased. I withdrew the remainder of my apps and committed to the school shortly thereafter.

    I think everyone else has already brought up key points related to this issue, but to emphasize:

    -Under no circumstance should a scholarship or an increase in your scholarship be expected. Yes, even if you have a 4.0 from Harvard, a 45 on the MCAT, and won the Nobel prize.

    -You must have some degree of "leverage" to do this move. By leverage I mean acceptance at another school, ideally one of similar calibre to the one you're trying to do this move with.

    -Your request should be humble, emphasize your interest in attending that school, and why you think you would be a good student here. Coming across as money grubbing - even if that's what is effectively going on - is a no go.

    All that said, there is NO HARM in asking the question. Don't sell yourself short - universities treat you as dollar signs and you have a right to put yourself in the best position possible. But if you give off the impression that you're arrogant, demanding, and/or unappreciative, you more than likely won't be successful.


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