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Should I choose the Native option on the Common App and will it help me?

screenname2727screenname2727 2 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5 New Member
Hello,

I am a Canadian high school student looking to apply to a top Ivy and other exemplary U.S. schools. These include UPenn (Wharton), USC (Marshall), UC Berkeley (Haas), MIT (Sloan) & more. We don't use GPAs in Canada, therefore I do not know it off the top of my head.

These are my (general) stats and ECs: 96% average (top 1% of my school), 2 published newspaper articles on mental health education, designed a mental health program, currently working to include a mental health education in schools, won regional & provincial business & other awards, president of 5 clubs (founder of 1), participated in over 10 other clubs & teams. I was also accepted into a competitive pre-college program at Wharton. I have yet to take SATs (am doing it in August & October).

I am 1/8th (12.5%) Métis, specifically "Red Indian." The remaining percentage is white. The issue is that I do not have status. My great grandfather was Métis, however, lost many rights (including status) due to the Métis land claim in 1945. Thus, my family has not been able to find documentation yet.

However, I have always identified myself as of Native and white heritage as it is important to me that I am recognized as both.

Should I/Can I check the NA box? If no, why not? If yes, would it help me in any way (keeping in mind that I would be considered as an international student, as well)?

Thanks :) !!

TL/DR: I am a Canadian Métis without status applying to top U.S. schools and would like the above questions to be answered!
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Replies to: Should I choose the Native option on the Common App and will it help me?

  • skieuropeskieurope 37890 replies6558 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 44,448 Super Moderator
    edited June 24
    Can I check the NA box?
    Yes.
    If yes, would it help me in any way
    Short answer - it depends. It will not help for Berkeley because it is a public university, and as such is prohibited by CA law to factor in race for admissions.(Also keep in mind if you need FA, cross Berkeley off your list).

    For private universities, they are free to determine their own definition of URM and to decide how much of a bump, if any, it will get in the admissions process. In general,US colleges consider Native to mean descended from the indigenous peoples of the US, including Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians. Some may expand their definitions to include First Nation; others will not. And there is no master database on the topic.

    Good luck.
    edited June 24
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  • privatebankerprivatebanker 5017 replies64 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,081 Senior Member
    edited June 24
    Make sure to apply to Dartmouth. Google their special commitment to Native people’s in their admissions process, school mission and numbers. They were committed to correcting a flawed history in the early 70s and have been doing a pretty good job ever since.
    edited June 24
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5381 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,391 Senior Member
    They are often looking for a continued connection with your tribal community, not something that can be substantiated through a DNA test. Since you have always identified as NA, you presumably have been involved (even if you are not entitled to a share of the nation's $.) In the U.S., you should be able to trace yourself back through the Dawes Rolls. Not sure what would be the equivalent in Canada.

    Agree that Dartmouth is a good target (although the handful of NA students I know there all grew up on reservations.)

    Avoid an Elizabeth Warren situation.
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  • wydlifewydlife 39 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
    I’ve seen on some applications that they require a tribe ID and that might be connected to the documents you were referring to. Because you don’t have them, I would not suggest putting NA on your application box.
    If you only see yourself as getting an advantage from it (i.e masking your whiteness by including underrepresented identity), that is not the way to go on your apps. You are far more qualified for these US schools to be including a 1/8th DNA test result in your application. I’m not attempting to belittle the NA community, however, it would be unfair to take on those experiences when it stopped at your great grandfather. Just food for thought.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 32674 replies349 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 33,023 Senior Member
    The Common App includes a space for tribal enrollment number or registration id. Whether a college expects that depends on its policies. In general, it's colleges in areas of the US with large NA populations.

    OP may not get any NA tip as a Canadian. Might, might not. The competition from Canada is strong.

    OP hasn't gven us any info that would tell just how qualified he/she is for tippy tops. That comes first. We don't know much.
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 5381 replies10 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,391 Senior Member
    edited June 28
    @NorthLeftCoast , I didn't know that! It was a student with Cherokee heritage who was told he'd need that substantiation. (And he decided not to pursue it...) And I don't know if the OP would have some similar request made of him/her/them.
    edited June 28
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28299 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,355 Senior Member
    What I was told by someone who is affiliated with a tribe was that for scholarships and schools that are particularly desirable, the tribal enrollment number or verification is requested.

    I would call Admissions of the schools you are considering and ask about verification if you’d rather not tell them why you are not documented if you are questioned after the fact.
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  • screenname2727screenname2727 2 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Hello,

    Thanks for the help. I'm not going to apply for any scholarships for NA as I did not grow up on a reserve and thus am not as connected to the culture. I would not want to take an opportunity like that from another deserving student.

    I'm mostly concerned that this could affect my admission. For example, since I am not registered, I do not want to seem like this is an Elizabeth Warren type of situation. I don't believe that the NA heritage would aid me as I am a Canadian.

    Also, what is a 'tippy top'? Thanks.
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  • screenname2727screenname2727 2 replies3 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5 New Member
    I hope that these replies are working! Sorry, this is my first time on the site. This message/reply is for "wydlife" :)

    Anyways, I don't think that this would benefit me as I'm Canadian. I'm not really sure if I'd receive an advantage. I was just going to choose it as the option as that is what I identify as. However, as I began doing research, I realized that this is a very controversial and complicated topic. I don't want to game the system or take advantage of my heritage however I would appreciate any ethical advantage. For more information, I did not take a DNA test (as I know those are often false and lead to misinformation). I know my background is NA as he lived on the Moose Cree reserve in ON and there are documents of that. We have documentation that we are NA, but no tribal # or anything of the sort. In Canada, Métis do not receive Indian Status due to old and somewhat questionable policies.

    Also, while I don't have my SAT scores, do you think I have a chance? I know that these schools are a reach for anyone but a girl can dream!

    Thanks for all your help. I am very appreciative of all of these quick and informative replies. I am so glad to have created an account :smiley:
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8553 replies314 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,867 Senior Member
    You identify as Native so include it in your app. I don't know if it will help at US colleges, but it's part of who you are.

    When people say "tippy top" they mean highly selective colleges. Any college with single digit admission rates (such as the Ivies) fall into that category. There are other selective colleges with admission rates that aren't as low as the Ivies that are still difficult to get into. Make sure you have academic and financial safeties on your list.
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  • skieuropeskieurope 37890 replies6558 discussionsSuper Moderator Posts: 44,448 Super Moderator
    Also, what is a 'tippy top'?
    Every college you mentioned in your initial post, amongst others.
    I don't want to game the system or take advantage of my heritage
    You're not, IMO. You are what you are. Whether it benefits you in admissions is the great unkown.

    As @austinmshauri correctly pointed out, a girl can dream, but have some safeties on your list. Good luck.
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  • wydlifewydlife 39 replies12 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
    @screenname2727 CC was a bit confusing for me to navigate as well but you can just put the @ sign! Also, although scores are important, it is only one part of your admissions profile. Like I mentioned before, your ECs are impressive and hopefully connected to what you want to pursue (I assumed business from the start, is it?). I dont know what year youre in but if youre a rising senior you should get starting on the personal statement this summer (we can talk about college searches and the process if you want :smiley: ).
    Im a bit confused on your last reply though, have you taken the SAT and are waiting on your scores?
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28299 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,355 Senior Member
    Ask! Simple as that. If a college doesn’t require Tribal affiliation evidence, go right on ahead and indicate you are NA affiliated. You might mention it in an essay. I wouldn’t want to check the box and be asked for further info and have to explain the situation. It can be awkward.
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8553 replies314 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 8,867 Senior Member
    Why would it be awkward? If a college asks for something a student doesn't have they can just tell them they don't have it.
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