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Early Decision: Williams vs Middlesbury vs Haverford vs Amherst

theheisenberg11theheisenberg11 0 replies2 threads New Member
edited September 21 in College Search & Selection
I'm an international student who wants to apply early decision and needs financial aid (50/60 % of tuition fee). My high school grades aren't great, however, I'm a finalist in an international mathematics competition (intended major is mathematics), I speak five languages and my extracurriculars are pretty good (Head volunteer of an NGO in my district, scholarship from the Chinese Consulate to go to China).

Which early decision LAC should I apply to maximize my possibilities?
edited September 21
15 replies
Post edited by skieurope on
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Replies to: Early Decision: Williams vs Middlesbury vs Haverford vs Amherst

  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 6081 replies97 threads Senior Member
    edited September 21
    Amherst, because they are need-blind for international students. The other schools on your list are need aware for international students, so your level of need would likely be part of the admissions decision.

    All of these schools are reaches, so make sure you are also applying to schools that are less selective in the US, as well as a safety in your home country.
    edited September 21
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  • PikachuRocks15PikachuRocks15 757 replies3 threads Member
    Of the four LACs on your list, only Amherst is need-blind for international students (financial need is NOT considered during the admissions process.) However, it's probably one of, if not the most, competitive LAC to gain admission to. Run the financial aid calculators on each website, as every school calculates your need differently, and keep in mind that they are ESTIMATES, not guarantees of an award (for domestic students at need-blind schools, you are able to withdraw from the ED commitment is the offered aid is not adequate, idk if this is the case for international students so read through the website/ed information.)

    Amherst FA: https://www.amherst.edu/admission/apply/international#:~:text=Amherst College follows a need,or request for financial aid.

    Hope that helps! Good luck with admissions!
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  • MWolfMWolf 3063 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Of the four LACs on your list, only Amherst is need-blind for international students (financial need is NOT considered during the admissions process.) However, it's probably one of, if not the most, competitive LAC to gain admission to. Run the financial aid calculators on each website, as every school calculates your need differently, and keep in mind that they are ESTIMATES, not guarantees of an award (for domestic students at need-blind schools, you are able to withdraw from the ED commitment is the offered aid is not adequate, idk if this is the case for international students so read through the website/ed information.)

    Amherst FA: https://www.amherst.edu/admission/apply/international#:~:text=Amherst College follows a need,or request for financial aid.

    Hope that helps! Good luck with admissions!

    The differences in competitiveness in admissions will likely wash out when need is added to the admission decisions.

    I would also put Amherst as the best choice of this list for an international student who is likely to need substantial financial aid.
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  • MeddyMeddy 742 replies45 threads Member
    Another vote for Amherst! These schools don't vary too much on how many international students are a part of their community, but Amherst is the only one that is need blind when reviewing your application.
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  • TennisParentTennisParent 234 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Meddy wrote: »
    Another vote for Amherst! These schools don't vary too much on how many international students are a part of their community, but Amherst is the only one that is need blind when reviewing your application.

    Ok, I have to disagree and say Williams is another school with great financial aid for international students, although not need blind. The school's FA package is very competitive and includes extras like books and other costs, travel and internship stipends. Also, Williams is little larger than Amherst and has Masters Programs in International Economic, as well as Art History, that attract a lot of international students as well. If you are interested in majoring in Economics or math, would also give Williams the nod on those departments.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 85014 replies758 threads Senior Member
    Check the upper level offerings in the math departments of each of the schools to make sure that they have enough offerings that suit your interest in math.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 8289 replies87 threads Senior Member
    My high school grades aren't great, however, I'm a finalist in an international mathematics competition (intended major is mathematics)

    ime neither Amherst nor Williams is particularly keen on asymmetrical students. Being a finalist in a math competition is unlikely to outweigh 'not great' grades (though it depends a bit on what you see as 'not great', and to a lesser extent what competition.

    If the goal is the 'US or bust', widen your search for RD. If the goal is 'US only if it is worth it' then pick whichever one you think is the actual best fit for you - and, as @ucbalumnus points out has a math program that suits you. The differences in your odds are comparatively small.
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  • merc81merc81 12166 replies207 threads Senior Member
    With respect to academics, the Princeton Review includes Haverford, Amherst and Williams in its sampling, "Great Schools for Mathematics Majors."
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  • circuitridercircuitrider 4279 replies189 threads Senior Member
    edited September 22
    Wesleyan is the only US LAC with a robust doctoral program in Math. So, there is that, if you are worried about running out of upper-level courses in a small college. It's need aware for internationals, but there's no harm in applying ED2 or later on in the RD round. STEM is definitely a hook at Wesleyan.
    edited September 22
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3889 replies26 threads Senior Member
    @theheisenberg Amherst would also gain you access to U MASS within the consortium. U MASS is a Research I university and their math offering should be robust enough if by some chance you were to run out of courses at Amherst.

    "My grades aren't great" may be in the eye of the beholder. Are you being modest? Does your HS practice grade deflation? Do you know your class rank? If you are comfortable providing your GPA - weighted and unweighted - class rank and standardized test scores (if you plan to submit them), you will get better advice about your chances for admission and possible alternatives to these very selective schools. Best of luck to you!
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  • momrathmomrath 6046 replies39 threads Senior Member
    @theheisenberg11 It's very difficult for international students to predict admission chances at LACs as very few publish complete statistics. The colleges' common data sets will give you the number of internationals enrolled and the number that received aid. They will also provide the total spend on International aid. They don't list the number that applied (both with and without aid) or the number that were admitted.

    Wesleyan is an exception. https://www.wesleyan.edu/admission/informationfor/international.html

    From the data that is available (plus press releases that come out around ED/RD admission dates) you can extrapolate how international friendly each college is.

    Among those on your list, Amherst does well on the percentage enrolled and percentage receiving aid, but it is still a very small school. I don't know the actual number of internationals admitted each year ED, but it's somewhere around 10 to 12. And that's from the whole world.

    If your objective is to attend an academically rigorous LAC with substantial aid, then I think you should spend some time with the Common Data Sets or contact the colleges directly for more information.

    In addition to Wesleyan (which does have an excellent math program) I would suggest you look at the following. I'm not a math expert so you'll have to research the individual departments, but these all have a good history of enrolling and providing aid to internationals. Plus they are all academically excellent.
    Macalester, Trinity CT, St Olaf, Grinnell, Dickinson.
    If you are female, the women's LACs are also good choices.
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  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk 3123 replies5 threads Senior Member
    ime neither Amherst nor Williams is particularly keen on asymmetrical students. Being a finalist in a math competition is unlikely to outweigh 'not great' grades (though it depends a bit on what you see as 'not great', and to a lesser extent what competition.

    This is a really good point, if you want a LAC that emphasizes things like intl math competitions, Harvey Mudd is your best bet. On the initial list, it's hard to argue against Amherst for the reasons others have stated.
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  • GoldPennGoldPenn 186 replies10 threads Junior Member
    With all due respect, you don’t sound like a strong candidate for any of these schools, all of which receive thousands of applications from smart, talented, hard-working students. While winning the math competition is great, it doesn’t make up for less-than-stellar grades and an absence of a demonstrated passion. I’m sure there are many colleges that would be a great fit for you, but I think you’re aiming too high and you’re likely to be disappointed with the results. I wish you the best of luck.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30787 replies59 threads Senior Member
    I agree that OP is not a strong applicant for any of these schools. They are all very selective, and even without needing financial aid, the chances are very slim for admittance. However, because need is in the picture, Amherst is the only one that would not take that into consideration for admittance.

    If need were not an issue, Haverford, the one with the best chances would have been my choice.

    If you really want to come to US for college, start looking at less selective schools. Colleges that are looking for students with your academic profile enough that they’ll pay you to come. The schools you listed don’t need to pay anyone to get what you are offering
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  • TennisParentTennisParent 234 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Also, LACS generally value well rounded applicants that have a combination of strong scores, creative ability and athletic interest. Consider whether you also have a particular interest or passion that would be good fit for a school like Williams or Amherst.
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