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What are my chances of making it to the top American colleges? (International applicant)

polymath42polymath42 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
I just finished my junior year of high school in India. I'm looking to apply to a few American colleges. What are my chances of making it and receiving good financial aid?

9th- 9.6/10
10th- 92.4%
11th- 90.8%

I just took the SAT yesterday. I'm expecting >1540. I'm planning to take SAT Subject Tests in Math 2, Physics and Chemistry later this year. I'm taking 5 APs (Physics Mechanics, Physics E&M, Chemistry, Calculus BC, Computer Science) over the next two weeks and expecting 5s in all of them.

I took English, Maths, Science, Social Science and Hindi till 10th. Science and Maths were probably at a Honors level (based on comparing my coursework with friends in the States).
I'm taking Physics, Chemistry, Maths, Computer Science and English in 11th and 12th. These are all at the AP level or higher except English. I'm also preparing for the JEE(Advanced) and am wondering if it's possible to use this to indicate that I'm doing higher level coursework though not as official courses?

Academic achievements:
-Selected for the National Talent Search scholarship, an award given to 1000 students each year based on performance in an exam. Finished in the top ten in the regional round.
-Selected for the KVPY Fellowship with an All India Rank in the 350s.
-Represented my state at the National Anveshika Experimental Skills Test conducted by the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT).
-Finished in the 99th percentile in my state in the National Standard Exam in Junior Science (NSEJS), the first stage of the IJSO selection process in India.

ECs and Community Involvement:
-Led my school's Technology club in 9th grade, which was a completely student-driven initiative. We organised the annual IT Fair.
-I am a coder and have built an app aiming to streamline the process of reuniting lost people with their family. The app is currently in the prototype stage.
-Worked with an organisation involved in empowering children to solve environmental and civic issues for four years. Implemented solutions to waste, water and garbage issues in a government school.

Intended major: Computer Science/Physics. I also want to have the opportunity to study the humanities.

Financials: My family's annual income is roughly 43000 USD. I am the only child and both my parents have Masters degrees. Anything above 20k per year is probably not affordable for me. Hence, financial aid is critical.

Colleges I'm interested in:
Highly selective: MIT, Caltech, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, UPenn, Cornell
(Slightly) more realistic: UCLA, UCB, Purdue, Georgia Tech, Harvey Mudd, UIUC

I'm worried that my grades are not top-notch and my ECs might not be the most impressive. What are my chances like?


Replies to: What are my chances of making it to the top American colleges? (International applicant)

  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 1,708 Senior Member
    Your stats are in the ballpark for top schools, but every applicant's chances are slim. About 80% of applicants are academically qualified (will have similar or better grades and test scores as you), and your actual chances of acceptance as an international are about 1%.

    While the top schools have the money to offer the best aid, your "more realistic" list is financially very unrealistic, however. Those colleges don't give financial aid to out-of-state or international students. UCLA and UCB will cost you $70,000 per year, and UIUC, GT, and Purdue around $50,000 per year. You should expect to pay full price, as those are state schools run for the benefit of citizens and taxpayers of those states. Carnegie Mellon is not known for generous aid. Harvey Mudd does have limited scholarships and merit aid for internationals.

    There are no safety schools for international students in need of a lot of financial aid. You should read over the posts in the international boards because there are a small handful of US colleges that are need blind and offer aid to internationals. I won't list them here because you can find them in these boards. Typically those colleges are highly competitive. Attending college for $20,000 a year is possible, but chances are it will be at a school you have not yet heard about. It is worth a try, but you really need to have a backup plan in your own country too.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 41,505 Senior Member
    edited May 5
    (sorry posted in wrong thread)
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