Pros:Money, money everywhere for the academically successful student
Cons:None now, but will Coke funds last forever?
Living only a few minutes away from Emory, I've had more than a passing experience with the university and its community events. When it came time to apply for undergraduate admission there, I was overwhelmed by the merit-based scholarships available to this beautiful and well-regarded school. As is typical of other colleges, Emory required an open-themed essay for general admission; for consideration for the many merit scholarships, all I had to do was write an extra three-page essay on my academic interests.
I had the unusual experience of applying to college from abroad, having spent my senior year of high school as an exchange student. While handling the paperwork and essays from so far away was generally a hassle, Emory was far from the most difficult in its requirements for financial aid forms. If an applicant does not plan to ask for need-based financial aid, he has only to fill out a portion of the FAFSA, and not much else is needed for scholarship eligibility.
I knew already, and had heard from current undergraduates, that Emory was the "Coca-Cola school." The constant construction on campus was the product of enormous grants from the beverage company; and the school's scholarship program reflected this money source even more strongly. The Emory Scholars program, in particular the highly selective Woodruff Scholars program, allows many freshman to go to this private school for less than they would pay at a lower-level public college. While the Emory Scholars receive either full or half tuition, the Woodruff Scholars are courted with everything from full tuition, room, and board to a generous clothing allowance.
Even more incredible, I realized after I had been asked to interview for the Scholars Program, was the university's offer to pay for travel for every invited student. Not only was I living on the other side of the Atlantic, but the flight back to Atlanta had to be made quickly and ended up costing over $1,000. Although I hadn't planned to attend school in my hometown, I jumped at the chance to spend a week back in America and, secondarily, to get a inside view of the school I had driven by so often.
Ultimately, all the students invited to the Scholars Week received at least half of the cost of tuition. Somehow, I didn't realize just how wonderful a value I received from this generous school, and I finally turned down admission. I have no way of knowing what my personal experiences at Emory would have been, but I do know that I could have had these experiences for amazingly little money.
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