We went through this trying process with our daughter last year, who applied to many schools with a 1470 SAT (780 math) & 3.99 GPA. Got into Lehigh, BC, Rochester and others but very little merit money was offered. Ended up going to The University of Miami, studying BioMedical Engineering, where they gave her a Presidential Scholarship and is doing great in her first semester. I can tell you there are no absolute rules or reasons, no guidelines or books to lead you on this quick journey. Other acquaintances got into prestiges schools with less qualifications due to reasons that seem not to take the most qualified applicants. Merit money is tough to come. Good luck.