Merit Aid for Ordinary Hispanic from the Border

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Discus: Parents Forum: 2004 Archive - Part 2: Merit Aid for Ordinary Hispanic from the Border
By Texdad (Texdad) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 05:40 pm: Edit

We went to visit family down in the "Valley" of Texas. Little town 15 miles from the border. They have a daughter, Mexican American, who is a senior and has been too busy, the last two years being a varsity cheerleader with related socializing so her grades have fallen to the top 16% at a pathetic highschool. According to the family,and even her sister, the girl is smarter than her sister who was top 10% and is making nearly all A's in the UT Austin Engineering program. UT Austin might not be an option, though belatedly the girl would like to follow her sister.

No one knows her PSAT score, nobody much follows those things. She is getting a lot of mail from all over the country, if that means anything. She hasn't taken the SAT yet. I offered to pay for the Princeton Review or Kaplan to help out. It turns out that the closest review course is over 200 miles away in San Antonio so that won't help . Nobody cares about this type of thing down there.

Money is important. This girl would very much benefit from being around a less party oriented crowd. Anyone have any suggestions about colleges that might want her and give her some aid.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 07:15 pm: Edit

A few questions: will the family qualify for need-based aid? Or is merit aid the only need they'll probably get? If it's the latter, she'll have plenty of choices, depending on her GPA and her SAT scores. Any idea on whether she'd like a small, medium, or larger school? Does she want to stay relatively close to home or is she open to the whole U.S.? How about potential majors?

By Anxiousmom (Anxiousmom) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 07:44 pm: Edit

Try Trinity University in San Antonio. Very good academics....good merit aid

By Texdad (Texdad) on Friday, September 10, 2004 - 11:58 pm: Edit

I'm sorry. Will definitely qualify for need based aid. Probably 0 EFC with two kids in college at the same time.

Acording to the mother even the top 10% kids are hard to get away from the area. Teachers want her older sister to come to school to talk up UT Austin as she is one of the only kids from school to have gone there.

By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 12:08 am: Edit

A few suggestions: Southwestern University near Austin. They really like high achieving hispanic students and are very good with financial aid.

Another possibility that might appeal to her is St. Mary's University of San Antonio. It has a student population that is 68% hispanic, good academics, decent financial aid, good support services.

Texas Christian University also comes to mind - however, I've heard mixed things about the party situation there. It is a very good school academically, however.

Trinity U would be a possibility as well depending on her test scores but since you mentioned that she probably would do best in a school where there isn't too much partying, it might not be the best choice.

By Xdad (Xdad) on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 01:11 am: Edit

Texdad, that was generous of you to offer to pay for SAT classes. Despite the distance, there are options that remain open, including classes that are held over the phone or videotaped. However, it is a critical for this young woman to become more proactive and obtain her PSAT scores. On the surface, it would appear that she might have done well if mail is pouring in. She should check her status for National Merit for Hispanics that typically requires a score of less than 190 on the PSAT. Earning the National merit would open quite a few doors - a school like ASU would offer her free tuition and a generous stipend.

It would be a waste to see this young woman not reach her potential. However, one should be aware that the competition to gain admission at selective schools is fierce, and that students need to display a burning desire as well as aptitude.

By Reidmc (Reidmc) on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 02:37 am: Edit

In lieu of a live Kaplan/PR course, using the Princeton Review book and working through the tests in the 10 Real SAT book is an excellent test prep strategy.

With URM status a selective northeastern or midwestern LAC could be a very good bet, not only for admission, but for less party and more motivating academic attention that she'd find at State U, or even Trinity.

Depending on where she ends up GPA and SAT-wise, schools ranging in selectivity and geography from say, Trinity and Union to Knox and Earlham could be possibilities. However, most of these schools require or recommend SAT IIs. That, and the fact that she will need a good chunk of time in December to get the apps out (as she won't know which schools to apply to until she gets her test scores and mid-term grades) will likely mean an adjustment to her social and cheerleading schedule. Or not (unfortunately.)

These LACs will vary in their approach to need aid, but not wildly, and her URM status will be a definite plus in this area too. I guess I would put a longish list together now, based on her academic interests, career interests and a few other factors, and cut the list once more data is in. All predicated on her willingness and ability to schedule the requisite testing, test prep and time for apps. Otherwise, busting a 3.8-4.0 at a less-selective state school and following her sister to UT-Austin as a transfer would be an okay Plan B.

Good luck.

By Ginacar (Ginacar) on Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 05:39 pm: Edit

I am sure the OP did not mean to be offensive, but as high school student from the Valley, I wanted to make it clear that the residents are not a bunch of behind-the-times Mexicans who have never heard of the SAT. As far as the nearest SAT program being 250 miles away in San Antonio, I find that hilarious because I, too, live 15 minutes from the border, and took a SAT/ACT prep class last semester and am attending a school-sponsored ACT academy next month, free of charge. I'd rather not say the exact city I am from in this message, but if the OP would email me, I'd be happy to tell you some of the many things in the Valley that this girl could take advantage of.

By Texdad (Texdad) on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 09:55 pm: Edit

Gina 2006. Glad to hear that. I will e-mail you. I was a bit dramatic as I was appealing for some help. I can understand your irritation. Sorry.

Also, thanks to the other suggestions. We called the father of the girl and told him to find out the PSAT score. Wouldn't it be great if she was a potential Hispanic Scholar due to her score.

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