An international student who needs help.

<p>[This is a repost from financial aid forum.]
First, I'm new here. After surfing the web, I found here a great place. And if you are convenient, I just need some advice about the college.</p>

<p>Before start, as I'm new here, I'm sorry for any mistakes such as posting at the wrong sections or do inappropriate things. If there are any, feel free to tell me or manage (move) my thread as it is your authority. Also, sorry for my English if it's distracting you.</p>

<p>I'm a grade 12 Thai student hoping to get into US college in the year of 2012. Due to my family's financial situation, I expect I will not spend more than 20000-30000 dollars each year (including personal expense), and hopefully it won't result in a huge indebtedness; which is why my biggest concern is financial aids. Second is the quality of education. Now here's a brief important information:</p>

<p>My intended major : Applied Mathematics (General Mathematics is acceptable.)
GPA: 4.00
Top 1 % in the class.
Did not get to go to IMO, the highest International Olympic one. But got other international mathematics competition awards. (IWYMIC or IMC at gold medal and APMO, Asian-Pacific region competition, at Bronze) Several national awards.
My score on SAT and ACT has not been available yet, so I can only give an estimation after looking on sample tests:
Probably able to get 800 Math SAT I and 800 on SAT II Physics and Math 1 & 2. (At least 700+ in the worst case.)
Although I do pretty well in the English class, I probably get only about 500-650 on Verbal/Writing SAT...</p>

<p>Here's the list of colleges that I think may be right for me.</p>

<p>MIT
Harding University
Columbia University
U of Chicago
U of Penn
Cornell University
Johns Hopkins
Wheaton College (I'm Christian)
St. Louis University
Clark University</p>

<p>Now, my main question is: I don't know what my exact competitive level comparing to most candidates is and whether each college is actually proper for me or not. All I can is spending time surfing the web, but many people here probably know more than that. Please suggest me colleges (includng any safety-net colleges), or comment on any of my list.</p>

<p>Thanks for any help.</p>

<p>You have places that are REALLY hard to get into (MIT, Columbia, Chicago, Penn Hopkins) and then I think you are missing the mid-range. Maybe University of Rochester or University of Pittsburgh? For something less expensive maybe a good state university----U. Minnesota is supposed to very reasonably priced.</p>

<p>As I said, I don't know my competitive level. Thanks for your suggestion.</p>

<p>Tuition for U. Minnesota seems to be low, but unfortunately, I think it is still risky for my family's finance.</p>

<p>So, could anyone suggest more mid-range places that are also generous for international students? Maybe University of Richmond?</p>

<p>You may want to check the US News applied mathematics ranking. Several schools on the linked list should be great choices for you.</p>

<p>To bruno123.</p>

<p>They're all great colleges. I have to check whether they give international financial assistance or not and how much they tend to give.</p>

<p>Thanks for your help.</p>

<p>turtle, I am American but I live in SEAsia so I often talk to high achieving kids in situations like yours. Financial aid for Internationals is difficult to predict and is really case-by-case.</p>

<p>The best approach is to apply to as many colleges that you can handle and compare offers. It's a two step process: First you have to get in and then you have to get the money. These are two separate but interrelated processes and since either is guaranteed, the wider the net the better. </p>

<p>Of course you have to make sure that you can handle multiple applications with care and attention. At many US colleges your grades and scores are just the beginning. You also have to submit recommendations, essays, explanation of your extracurriculars and interests. You need to be able to "present yourself" in your application. Colleges will want to know what your life experience will add to the campus community.</p>

<p>(Don't obsess over your SAT CR and Writing scores. Colleges will understand that you are not a native speaker.)</p>

<p>Instead of trying to compare yourself to other applicants, you should focus on your unique situation. This is what will get you in and this is what will get you financial aid.</p>

<p>The most important points to remember are
1. The most selective colleges are often the ones with the most money</p>

<ol>
<li><p>There are two kinds of financial aid -- need and merit. Schools usually offer one or the other. </p></li>
<li><p>All colleges, including the most selective, need diversity and many, especially those that are located outside of urban areas, use international students to increase their diversity percentages.</p></li>
</ol>

<p>So, in my opinion, you should research some small and medium sized colleges/universities that may have difficulty recruiting Asian, but that also have excellent math departments. Most likely these would be in rural locations or in the Midwest or South.</p>

<p>You should ask your parents to use an online financial aid calculator to determine how much need based aid you might be eligible for. This is not guaranteed, but it's a starting point. If need based aid works for you then you'll have a wider list of options. If it doesn't, you'll have to concentrate on merit aid, which would eliminate most of the schools on your list.</p>

<p>I'm not a math expert, so I can't give you a long list but I would look at Williams, Carleton, Grinnell.</p>

<p>A few questions:
What do you plan to do between graduation and the time you start college in fall of 2012?
Do you have other options? Thailand, Australia, UK?
Has your school sent other graduates to selective US schools? Do you have a counselor?
Have you been to the US?
Are you male or female?</p>

<p>Thanks for your helpful reply and also some college suggestion. :D</p>

<p>Answer to questions:
- If I am accepted to college, I will probably practice more English such as typing, reading, and writing. Other free time may be math exercise and reading favorable English books. (killing time)
- Thailand is my safest choice. I like to explore new things and find new opportunities, so I try to study abroad since undergraduate program. I have not done much research on choices in other countries. I only know that National University in Singapore also has need-blind admission policy. You have any recommendation?
- Yes, though there are very few. (Maybe 0-2 students/year) They are all genius-type students.
- Yes, there is a counselor, not significant compared to US. (Counselor in Thailand is not given much importance...) He may be busy doing work, but I plan to talk to him next week.
- No, I have not. But I often talk to people who live there. One of them is my friend I met in the math camp.
- Male. Born 1993.</p>

<p>I reply this to update some scores:
my Oct SAT : 460 790 530 (Will retake in Dec)
my Oct ACT : 29 36 25 35 ; composite 31, essay 9
So, should I send only ACT score or both?</p>

<p>I've searched more and come up with additional college lists, mostly generous liberal arts colleges:
Bates
Colby
Oberlin
Trinity C (CT)
U of Richmond
St. Lawrence U
Providence College
SUNY University at Stony Brook</p>

<p>What do you think? Do you think I'm on the right track?</p>

<p>I agree with momrath and probably apply at least 10 colleges.</p>

<p>By the way, is there a way to edit an old post in CC forum?</p>

<p>You probably want to add Brigham Young University to the list; very affordable for international students.</p>

<p>To tega</p>

<p>Thanks. From College Board: Brigham Young University gives 761 aids to international students, the total amount of 2.95 million dollars awarded.
It means that 2.95 million is given to international students each year, right? (It is not the total amount of awards for the whole 4 years, is it?)</p>

<p>Hi, I actually have the same problem as you have! I'm a student from Mongolia and also want to apply for the US colleges for Fall2012. My main problem is as yours: my parents can only spend 20000-30000$! But my SAT score is not as high as yours and I'm planning to major in Food Science but I'm not really sure about it. I've read all comments of you and the members. They are so helpful! Also, I think you have more experience on college stuffs than me. So I'm asking you and all the other members(especially momrath) to advise me too. Are there any affordable colleges with Food Science program(agriculture) to recommend??? Would appreciate any advice! Thank you! :)</p>

<p>Oh, Hello, Dana1531. Nice to meet you. :)</p>

<p>Well, for the college search stuff, I was previously really concerned about the academic quality (for example, mine is Math department), but it turned out that, in my opinion, most universities even not top-ranked also have great quality. So, I try to point my main concern to financial matter, not particularly Math department of each university.
Therefore, I think your university list may be similar to mine? I am not sure. But those generous college are like grinnell, oberlin, trinity, some that momrath suggested, etc. Then apply these places along with top-reach university like Brown, and with some safety net schools - I think they are ones that have really low tuition cost so no financial assistance request needed (if satisfied with low-tuition cost universities).
Remember that I'm not an expert of these college stuffs... but I try to help you with my best.</p>

<p>Dana1531 -</p>

<p>You can use any of the college matching search engines to look for your major. You are correct that Food Science is often in the College of Agriculture at large public universities. Most of those aren't famous for handing out a lot of scholarship money to international students. However, some of them would be in your price range. Here are the results of a couple of searches for that major. I set the maximum out-of-state tuition and fees at $15,000 to leave you some room for other expenses. You can run the searches again with different criteria.</p>

<p>College</a> Navigator - Search Results
College</a> MatchMaker: Results
College</a> Search - College Confidential</p>

<p>Each search engine will bring up a slightly different list, so you do need to check all of them. For example, only the College Confidential search engine found schools in Canada as well as the US. I've lost my link to the Canadian search engines, so you should contact the Canadian Consulate, and get some recommendations from them. Don't forget to search for majors related to Food Science because sometimes different universities use other names for that program.</p>

<p>Good luck!</p>

<p>Dana, look at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and other CSU schools which cost about $30K.</p>

<p>Two schools like Bates, Colby and Oberlin which are known for providing generous financial aid to internationals are Grinnell and Macalester. At both these midwestern schools, the international population is around 12% of the student body. And Grinnell at least has a strong math dept. Not sure about Macalester but given the reputation, it's probably fine. Take a look at St. Olaf's too. Well known for their math program, a bit less selective than the others mentioned here.</p>

<p>to Turtle
Nice to meet you too! I'm really glad that you and all the other members replied me!! And thank you all so much for advice. I didn't expect you guys will be so generous with the comments. That's a real cool site!
So, first of all, I think it's right what you suggested to me. Actually, I was also looking at the academic quality, ranking and things like that, but eventually, after I took the SAT and the TOEFL those top uni things are not the real matter. I'm not sure in receiving need based aid and kinds of scholarships from those Ivy Universities because my scores are not good. By the way, it's 410, 660, 550 but my high school GPA is 4.00. So, I'm choosing some good normal public state universities, not top ones. But, in my opinion, you should apply for high ranked universities that you picked up ( Harvard, MIT...) because your score, GPA are high, your math is excellent and either is English which means you can write a good personal statement to the college. But, it's only opinion and as you I'm not the expert on these stuffs.<br>
Again thank you for your advice!:)</p>

<p>To happymomof1
I really appreciate your help!!! Thank you so much for the links, I will carefully search for them and follow your advice. :)</p>

<p>To Waverly,
I think Cal Poly is great. Thank you for the suggestion and I will look for other CSU too. :)</p>

<p>Some of the smaller private Association</a> of Independent Technological Universities: AITU schools have very good mathematics programs and good scholarships for international students.</p>

<p>to Dana
You're welcome. :)
"I didn't expect you guys will be so generous with the comments. That's a real cool site!" << That's the same reason why I decided to post here. :D</p>

<p>Well, what's your TOEFL score? Often the university will care TOEFL rather than SAT verbal/writing, as TOEFL can better demonstrate international students' English skills.
By the way, mine is 99... So annoying to know that most top schools want 100.</p>

<p>Don't forget to take SAT subject tests too; many colleges will require or recommended it. Take three that you're best at, and (in usual case) let the colleges choose two of your best.</p>

<p>Have you won any significant awards? It will help boost your chance, especially to get into top universities.
As you choose good normal public state universities, also apply to few of your dream colleges too.
About my choice, well, I will definitely apply to top-ranked one (MIT, U of Penn, etc.).</p>