Canadian Planning on Applying to the US

Grade 12 student here and I just recently decided what I want to study in uni (engineering). Apart from Canadian unis, I want to apply to one US uni and just give it my best. Bit late to the game now, regret not planning earlier on but oh well. So which uni do you recommend I aim for? Am I being realistic at all or dreaming too high? (I’d do MIT because it’s always been my dream but they only accept like 10 Canadians each year. PS the school must provide financial aid!!! - this narrows it down to Harvard/MIT/UPenn etc).

For stats, haven’t done SAT/ACT, my marks have averaged around 94 throughout highschool (higher for math/science, lower for e.g. english). AP Calc BC, Stats, Compsci A (all 5’s). I’d say my “hook” is helping others learn math (assistant teacher at a tutoring place for 3 years, founded summer tutoring company with a friend but fizzled out after 2 months without any clients, and now co-founder of a nonprofit like Khan Academy that’s received funding from the Canadian gov’t). I also started tutoring (for free) a grade 12 student at my school this year.

Apart from that everything’s broad but mediocre (I love learning new things and in the process I realize that I haven’t really dug deep into anything): DECA (internationals qualifier in finance), math contests (98th percentile in Canada’s equivalent of the AMC, didn’t advance though), treasurer of a youth homeless organization (that’s received government funding), co-prez of school’s satirical newspaper (I know… LOL), varsity cricket for 2 years, … and yeah there’s some other small stuff. At home some STEM-y hobbies of mine are learning random stuff on Khan Academy (like econ or bio - just for the fun of it) and electronic projects (I made a small desk bladeless fan a few years ago).

wouldnt narrow it down to those as there are many other colleges providing finaid to intl students

Those are not hooks. They are EC’s.

Have you run the NPC on some top US schools? You might try running the NPC for MIT and Harvard and Princeton and see what they say. If your parents are divorced or own a small farm or small business or rental property the NPCs tend to be way too optimistic, otherwise they are usually relatively accurate.

Given the strength of the top Canadian universities, I do not see the point in applying to some “ordinary very good” US universities. If MIT is your dream, you could give it a try.

At the high school that I attended many years ago in Canada, a 94 average would have made a student solidly the top student in my high school. How do your grades compare with others in your high school?

At least in my experience as a Canadian graduating from top ranked US schools getting a job can be tough. Canadian employers seem to prefer to hire from Canadian universities, and US employers prefer to hire people who have the legal right to work in the US – which will not be you. The US is very different from Canada in terms of the ability to get a work permit after graduation.

How does a bladeless fan work?