@zenalc Your stats are stellar academically; it’s clear you’re intelligent and driven to succeed. Your international status certainly brings a lot of things to the table that US applications simply do not (fluency in five languages, impressive!), but like you said, the financial aid package seems to be the riskiest element of your application to Brandeis. I’ve heard from my good friend (she earned her master’s at Brandeis) that they tend to prefer applicants not only able to handle academic rigor, but who have a special interest in the school itself and not just as, say, an Ivy safety. To this end, I think your persistence (applying again despite being rejected) will demonstrate your sincere interest in succeeding at Brandeis specifically, which is appealing. That said, I’m not an expert, but I would be surprised if you were not at the very least accepted, if not given workable financial aid. Schools, for whatever reason, simply cannot fund all of the applicants they would like to have attend.
My situation is a little unusual. I am nearly a decade out of high school and have been attending community college for two years. I will have earned 51 credits by May, maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout college, and filled my semesters with general education courses as well as all of the psychology, philosophy, and religion courses available at my particular CC. I have three excellent letters of recommendation. My essays are strong and specific, connecting the years between high school and the present with my passion for philosophy and its practical applications with respect to social issues (namely homelessness, uneven distribution of wealth, the treatment of the mentally ill in the US).
I was also able to schedule an interview with a current senior, which went beautifully. My interest in Brandeis is rooted in not only its general stats (excellent research university, small liberal-arts feel, community, small student-faculty ratio, etc) but in the presence of one particular class taught by one particular instructor: Simone Weil taught by Palle Yourgrau, who has written beautifully on the French philosopher-mystic and whose book I brought to my interview to underscore my interest. There is no equivalent course at any school in the Boston area that I am aware of; it makes Brandeis my first choice, which I was not shy to tell my interviewer.
As for financial aid, my EFC is exactly $0, which means I need a good chunk of aid in order to be able to afford Brandeis. Boston University gave me a solid financial aid package of 40k, which makes attendance doable since I’ll be living off campus with my family. Like you, I am also concerned that Brandeis won’t offer enough aid to make attendance feasible even if they accept my application.
I should mention my high school stats are hot garbage: less than a 3.0 GPA, good marks in AP and honors courses, lackluster extracurriculars, terrible attendance. Everything I’ve read and heard firsthand says that colleges weigh academic work completed while in college more heavily than work completed in high school, especially if you have some rigorous college courses under your belt. Generally, the more college work you’ve completed, the less your high school record counts for.
This is a long-winded reply, but I’m anxious to hear back from Brandeis too! Relatedly: soccer is the best, I played midfield and defense for ten years (albeit ten years ago-- where does the time go?). Not sure if you know, but Brandeis offers Bubble Soccer as an intramural sport. It’s exactly as hilarious as it sounds.
@sPib9Kiv9anD0aWd I also looked at transferring to the University of Michigan, but decided against it because of it’s location (too far away for my family obligations). University of Michigan is definitely an excellent school. What are you going for? Depending on the major, Brandeis and UM may offer substantially different experiences. I’ve been on the Brandeis campus several times and can vouch for its small, liberal-arts college feel and its community vibe. It’s also very close to Boston and public transit is excellent, so if being near a bustling metropolis is important, Brandeis may be more appealing. Waltham, the city Brandeis is in, also has amazing restaurants on Moody St.
Practically speaking, I’d wait to hear back from Brandeis for as long as possible in order to give yourself a chance to compare financial aid packages.