Canadian international students at Columbia? Chances for ED? Weight of ED? Financial Aid?

Hey I’m a canadian international student and REA/ED/(wtv the school decides to call it) is pretty important to have a CHANCE for admissions.

I actually think Stanford is my dream dream school so the top option for me. However, Stanford accepts like 6 canadians each year or something and of those people , there are american citizens, recruited athletes, some godly kids who competed in IMO or ISEF, etc. Soooo I don’t think I can compare to them especially if I apply for financial aid.

That being said, I’m strongly considering applying ED to Columbia college. Ive done some bs calculations and there are around 15 Canadians at Columbia each year. I know that there probably aren’t as many Canadians who are recruited athletes since Columbia doesn’t have d1 for hockey or skiing which are probably the most common/best sports in Canada. I also don’t know of any Canadians who’ve even applied there RD, so there are probably even less who did ED. There probably aren’t too many Canadians who apply, and there probably is a *decent amount who get in (compared to stanford at least).

Does anyone have a guess as to how many Canadians apply ED (or get accepted) , how many undergrads in general get in ED, or how much Columbia (need-aware) considers international students’ financial aid in their admission.

Also, in your experiences, are my “calculations” generally correct?


What is your budget?

Why do you want to attend university in the US?

What is your intended major, or likely majors?

Why are you doing so much math lol. Just apply to your top school. They don’t have strict quotas, they’ll admit you if you should be there.

If you’re applying because you don’t think a lot of kids are applying , think again. Columbia’s acceptance rate is low for a reason and there are so many people who actually really want to be there.

Do you actually like Columbia and can you see yourself there? If so, then apply there.

Yea well I do think that I probably still like Stanford more, but I can definitely see myself at Columbia and I think I would have a blast at both schools. But the real question is financial aid and the chances of me actually getting in early. Early is REALLY important for international students to set themselves apart. Financial aid for international students is entirely from the school’s resources, meaning there are lower admissions rates when international students ask for financial aid. The less money they have for financial aid, (if you ask) the less likely they can accept you because they need to meet 100% asked aid. That said, during early decision they usually will admit more international students because 1) those students are more interested, and when you have notoriously low admission rates like either, they tend to favor early applicants more (This is especially true for international students because admissions is even more comp). 2) As I mentioned already, applying regular decision typically has less financial aid for international students (compared to the amount who apply) than early because they would have used lots of the limited aid to the students who they loved in REA/ED.

I know a lot of people will flame me for playing with my chances or just tell me to apply to either school and then see what happens. But it’s honestly not the same and I’d appreciate advice that is more applicable to my situation. US admissions and international admissions are drastically different. For me, ed/rea could mean opening the best opportunities or shutting them out completely - this is one of the only ways I can improve my already extremely low admission possibilities.


My budget is as much as financial aid offers. I am generally not willing to pay full tuition.

I want to attend university in the US because it offers much more opportunities. I often get told that it’s “not much different than Canada”, but it really is. I know that even the “Canadian ivies (idk why they’re even called these)” like McGill or UofT will not offer the same learning experience or connections. In fact, both of the schools have several 1000s of students per undergrad class. There is an absurd student: faculty ratio. With so many students, they tend to kick lots of people out have have terrible grade deflation. They simply don’t offer the same connections. I am definitely someone who gets more motivated when around equally motivated and ambitious people. I want my university experience around those who have strong intellectually curiosity, someone who I can have these philosophical nighttime talks with- not someone who is only attracted to the school because of its hookup culture.
I’ve never lived in any place that is not at least 30 mins from downtown or a city that is less than 2 hours away (some small towns in between, but mostly forest). I dislike small town vibes and I crave a big city like nyc. I’m very interested in finding a job in there. My end goal is to live in NYC after graduation and I think US colleges make that much easier.

Major: STS (if at stanford), probably bio. For stanford I like the humanities aspect of STS, and I think that “humanities touch” that i’m looking for is in Columbia’s core.

“My end goal is to live in NYC after graduation”

The problem will be getting a visa after graduation. International students studying in the US are normally expected to return to their home country after graduation. It is not the same as in Canada. Admittedly my experience in this area was a long time ago.

No, they don’t. After graduation you’ll be expected to return home. A lot of people want to go to college in NYC and many apply to Columbia because they meet need. There’s going to be a lot of competition. International students who need a lot of aid are at a disadvantage when they apply to need aware colleges.

Applying early doesn’t increase your chances of admission if you’re not already a competitive applicant. It doesn’t matter how interested you are in a school or why. Students who are competitive for admission and who can be full pay might have a slightly better chance if they apply ED, but most students chances aren’t better.

How much are your parents willing/able to pay for college? Colleges meet need based on their definition of need, so what you’re willing to pay won’t affect the financial aid package.

Do you have academic and financial safeties on your list? If money matters, make sure to include at least a couple of colleges on your list that you’re sure to get into and you know you can afford.

Have you run the NPC on Columbia and Stanford? Neither give any merit based aid at all. I just checked and neither is need blind for international students. However, the few schools that are need blind but meet full need for international students are very, very competitive for admissions.

You definitely need to apply to affordable safety schools in Canada. When your parents see the price tag for Columbia or Stanford, after converting to Canadian dollars, they are very likely to give you a very quick “no”. You should not take on debt to get a bachelor’s degree in the US. You would be much better off to get a bachelor’s degree in Canada, and then get a master’s in the US. Stanford for example has some very, very good one year master’s degrees. I have one of them. Four years in Canada for a bachelor’s plus one year at Stanford (if you get in) for a master’s is going to cost a lot less than four years in the US, and you will end up with a master’s.

Just because these schools meet what they consider “need” for international students does not mean that you or your parents will like the price. They offer what they consider to be your need, not what you consider to be your need.

“I think I would have a blast at both schools”

You would be working very, very hard at either school (or at McGill or Toronto for that matter). Do not expect to party or “have a blast” very often. If you like working very, very hard without any pause, then these are all very good universities.

By the way, I have sat in the back of the room at the largest lecture hall at McGill. I have taken classes at the largest lecture hall at MIT. They are not very different in size. Leacock at McGill seats 600 students. 26-100 at MIT seats 566 students. That is not much of a difference.