Boarding school financial aid to international students

I am Atharwa from India and am applying to US boarding schools for fall 2022 10th grade. My grades are really good, am also in a debate team, student council, created 6 robots, Working on creating a website where I’ll teach Programming to beginners, and I also play a sport. I’ll be taking the SSAT on Augest 2021.

I am gonna apply for financial aid(full). Currently have added these schools to my list-
What others school shall I add to my list who give full financial aid to international students?

It’s extremely hard to get aid as an international student. Do you have US citizenship?

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Much depends on how much FA you are asking for. The pool available for International is much smaller with more competition especially at the more well-known schools.

My advice is not to give up but, be very proactive and build up your application and attend whatever webinars/zooms you can. You need to be able to demonstrate that you are well-rounded and have something to offer the school whether academic, arts,music, atheltic etc…

However, don’t just apply to three schools, unless those are the only ones you are willing to attend. There are many great schools and some offer more aid than others.

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Check out the Davis Scholars program, which is offered at a handful of BS.

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Thank you guys for your support.
I have made a final list. Please check it-

St. Paul’s
Loomis Chaffee
Lawrenceville school
Middlesex school
Hotchkiss school
Choate rosemary Hall

I have already completed an interview with Exeter on May 17 and it was really great. I talked about my interests, passions etc.
I have an information session with an admission counselor at Hotchkiss on May 27.
I also have an interview and tour with Middlesex school on June 14.

Please tell me that shall I need to make any changes to my list.
Also, I’ll be applying for full financial aid as my parents earn only $13k a year.

You’d definately need more safety schools. I’d consider taking out maybe Choate since I’ve heard they tend to give out less aid.

Choate commits to funding 100% of demonstrated need for those they admit.

Never choose schools by the size of their endowments or rumors of how they allocate aid. The amount of financial aid dollars is irrelevant if the school doesn’t admit you. Conversely, schools with much smaller endowments can be quite generous to those they admit.

Even the schools with the largest endowments have financial aid budgets as evidenced by the fact that their FA/FP ratios remain in line with most other schools at 30/70 - 40/60.

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Thanks for correcting me.

I was trying to consider some safety schools but since I am applying for full financial aid, there are many less schools who give full FA to international students.

Most schools, if they want to accept you, would probably try to make their school more affordable. Do try out for the safety schools as well.

@solee_myw can you give me some examples?

Hi there. It is extremely difficult for anyone, no matter how experienced they are, to “chance” you for the schools on your list, much less give you an opinion on which schools you should have as your safeties.

You do realize that you have chosen some of the most selective schools in the country, with admission rates ranging from 9% to mid-teens. That said, no matter how strong your stats may seem, there is a chance that none of those schools end up accepting you, unless you have a strong hook - be it cultural, academic or extracurricular.

The good news is that you still have a good 7.5 months before January, so I would urge you to gather as much information as possible on at least 10 more schools. Once you have done that, you will be able to sift out ones that do not seem to be a great fit, and work out a reasonable list that contains 3 categories - reach, target, safety.

There are many others here who can offer better advice than mine. Just be patient and keep an open mind. Good luck!


Also, I forgot to tell you guys that I applied to Exeter, Andover, Groton, and Deerfield last year for 9th grade and my application wasn’t strong enough, I haven’t taken any standardized tests at that time, my essays were bad. I ended up getting waitlisted at Exeter and Groton and Rejected at Deerfield and Andover so I am re-applying in those schools again and I am making my application strong. One more thing, last year I applied on the deadline- on Jan 15. So, is there any advantage to re-apply if you’re application is strong enough as compared to that year? One last thing, I am having an information session tomorrow with Hotchkiss school.

Oh that changes a lot of things. Have you had any improvements to your stats? Also I don’t think standardized tests were a factor in your getting WL/rejected especially if the school was test optional. You should definitely improve on your essays but what else have you done that will make your stats look better than last year. Did you do more clubs, volunteer and more. There should be some change.

I can’t chance you, I am only a parent. The full financial aid international kids that I’ve known (I am really only close to a couple of schools though) were students that brought some skill or attribute that is really rare and really desired by the school. So, think a soccer player that is one of the best in the entire United States. Or someone that comes from an unrepresented country, and the school is seeking international diversity (so, from Afghanistan, e.g.). All this is to say, I think if admission to an elite boarding school is tough for any candidate, it is especially tough for you. This is why I would encourage you to have a good “Plan B” that you are working on as well. If Plan A – US boarding school – works out, great! But if it doesn’t – and if you read old threads here, it doesn’t work out for a lot of kids – you’ll have a plan for 10th grade that you are happy with.

Very best of luck!


I disagree that test optional meant/means that they didn’t care about scores at all. I believe that if you have near perfect scores, be it SSAT, SAT, ACT, or whatever, that if two candidates were the same in every other way and one did not submit test scores then they most certainly would give the advantage to the one who submitted the scores. Maybe even means more if it was a college admissions test since these schools advertise their average scores.


Which is never the case.

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Except that smart kids with 4.0’s and athletic/artistic/musical talent, service, EC’s, who write well and interview well are the rule in competing for a spot, not the exception. If one submitted amazing scores and one didn’t submit anything, I am positive they factored in.


Schools generally would appreciate your reapplication efforts and continued enthusiasm in them, as you are demonstrating perseverance and determination. Having said that, you need to spend extra time researching the schools, getting to know the history, culture, signature programs, and special opportunities that are unique to them.

The AOs will expect to see updates and upgrades to your profile, but do not embellish too much - they are experienced enough to see what’s real and what’s not.

An important thing to bear in mind is that most schools are still quite US-centric, no matter how much diversity and inclusion propaganda they have put up. The competition for financial aid from US students is already fierce enough, so the ONLY reason they would consider making it available to an international student is that you are exceptional in a particular field - for example, have demonstrated a potential to change the world by way of medical, scientific or environmental research, or starting a humanitarian cause that will benefit underprivileged groups around the world. Do not consider this a discrimination. The truth is that most members of the admission committees are simply not knowledgable about your country or your culture, and you have to work extra hard and present your case in a way that is easily comprehensible to them.

Again, you need to widen you net and stop being fixated on only the most selective schools. I don’t know what your main objectives are with a BS education, but the truth is that dozens of other schools could offer you an equally fulfilling experience. Good luck!

@CarnegieDad I totally agree with you! I think that I will make a lot of improvements this year. I have done a lot of volunteering work(3 years), Became the secretary of the student council(3 years)(highest post given to any student of my grade at my school), I also play Cricket which I want to continue in the form of baseball as they are both similar sports. I was the captain of the cricket club(5 years), I created 6 robots this year, I participated in a lot if debates(5 years), Math team(4 years), My dream is to become a CS professor so I have made a website where I teach various programming languages, Also, I’ll be improving my interview and essays this year. One last thing, I’ll be taking the SSAT and the CSS test this year which I haven’t took last year.

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