Chance a documented (H-4 visa) Asian girl from Idaho (updated)

Before I start with my details, please, please brutally chance me. Don’t just say (you can or can’t), just fully honestly give me your opinion.

and a clarification about my situation, I am on a h4 visa( i moved to the US when I was 2 years old, but I am not a permanent resident yet so I will be classified in the international pool) Here is the thing- we applied for permanent residency like a few months ago and will probably get it RIGHT AFTER college apps(like in feb/ march of senior year…) as you are looking at my profile, can you also give your opinion on the value of taking a gap year?

basic demographics- female, citizenship= Indian, Public school(one of the best in state)… I don’t have any hooks, unless being from Idaho(a rather underrepresented state) a hook?

Finances- EFC= 20k.

Intended major- for lac’s, Ivy leagues I will be applying as a “history of science” or “science, tech, society” major (or some variation of these majors)

-Oh and I wanted to mention, I got into Reed’s fly in program, and I know that generally if you get into a fly in you are guaranteed an acceptance to that school, but since I am an intl I am not so sure?
My college list-

state flagship(acceptance rate 70 plus)- my only safety school

All Ivy leagues

MIT, Caltech, Stanford

Claremont colleges

Reed, wellesley, WASP(top lac’s)

NYU, notre dame, chicago, tulane, NU, NEU

UC’s, Umich, UT’s- I know I won’t get any aid at UC’s, but my parents still want me to apply to see if I can get in

Yes, I know this is a lot of colleges but I can handle shotgunning(I shotgunned to 20 plus summer programs this junior year) and it will be the best as a I am an intl who needs (partial) aid.

This is because my Ec’s are evenly split between humanities and sciences, I will further explain in the following Ec section

Stats- test scores and GPA- I have a 4.0/ 4.0( no rank, my school does not rank or do weighted GPA) however I have a rigorous schedule(taking IB math HL, IB chem HL, IB phy HL, IB bio HL, ib history HL, ib english sl, IB german SL)…

I took the english, APUSH exams this year

My coursework from freshman and sophomore years- CALC BC(5), bio(5), chem(4), phy C(4 on both), US gov(5), human geo(5)

note- will these 4’s hurt me? I self studied both physics C because school does not offer them, but I did take the ap chem class(ngl, chem isn’t my favorite lol)

SAT, ACT = 1540, ACT=35


BWSI summer program @ MIT- I am doing the Cogworks class- one of 20 students selected nationwide to participate in the program

Virtual research program @ Columbia university this summer

Paid intern @ my state’s biggest natural history museum(a pretty big deal, kinda competitive one of 16 interns)
Enjoy writing science fiction, was featured in some national exhibit thing

-my writing is also featured on the LA times, through the HS Insider program-I write science features+ relevance to public, etc

Taken 2 math classes at my state flagship university(calc 3, number theory) and mainatined 4.0 gpa

One of 200 students worldwide participating in QSYS(quantum school for young students) program to learn about computing and quantum stuff

Kenyon young writers online workshop (on a full scholarship)- it is about science writing and the intersection of science and humanities.

I was one of 20 girls selected nationwide as an engineer girl ambassador for my initiative to teach middle schoolers bioengineering this 2022-23 year + got funding for it
-bunch of regional speech awards, a few state awards(I do oratory, talking about technology and science+ impact on society)

I am a website designer for many clubs at school- science club, stduent govt- I have been part of student govt(IB branch) for 3 years, science club officer for 2 years- have nearly double number of members+ will lead USABO sessions this fall, tutoring and stuff… I have done a bunch of fundraisers/ donation drives in my school… am part of like 3-4 clubs(with officer positions- student govt, math club, science club, speech/ debate)

AWARDS:(kinda weak here, I know)

-USABO semifinalist- 10 percent nationwide(Ok, so I was really prepping hard this year, and was expecting to make it to camp because of over 3 years of prep, but I wasn’t allowed to take the semifinals exam because I am not a citizen/ resident and they require it… it was really sad because I have never thought of myself as anything but american, and maybe plan to write my college essay about this? does that sound good?)

British biology olympiad( got top 10 percent worldwide)

-Science olympiads- 10th place @ invitational, numerous top 3 mentions at state(even one first place) and state brain bee 3 place

-National history day- one of top 2 in entire state to be selected for nationals… They only have like 100 students worldwide that qualify for nationals… I wrote a history paper about a scienctific thing + paper got a special award for best “science tech” project in the state from over 600 entries

-Research- so I have done some bioinformatics research (genomics) and got 3rd place at state in the CS/ comp bio category… I did the entire thing myself(like no mentors and help, from the idea to the actual research)- this research also won a special award from the Navy, called the naval science award

LORS/ essays:

My science teacher has a statement in his lor, “strongest student in my decade of teaching” and my german teacher’s rec is pretty strong too…

Essays= let’s say around 6/10

Congratulations on your wonderful accomplishments. The California UC’s offer little to no financial aid so expect to pay full fees as an International or OOS applicant. UC costs are around $67K/year currently. Please run the NPC’s to confirm. UC’s are test blind so you need to calculate your 3 UC GPA’s: GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub

UC’s are need blind and you are competitive however there is a rare possibility you might garner and OOS merit scholarship. I think there are several other schools where you have a better chance for merit aid than the UC’s.

Best of luck.

Has your family’s income changed since your post a few months ago? At that time you indicated $150k, which I believe would have greater than $20k EFC.

Have you run the NPC’s for a few schools and confirmed with your parents they are able to pay?

no, it hasn’t…but we have like a mortgage and other stuff+ sibling in college, so we can only contribute 20k minimum, 30k max… it was just an estimate

Have you run the NPC at some of your reach schools? What your family can contribute is not always the same as what the schools think they should contribute. The Ivies don’t give merit based aid. It’s 100% need based so if their NPCs are higher than what your family can afford, you need to change your strategy and look for schools where you are going to get merit aid.

With your stats, there are a number of southern flagships where you will get a full ride or close to it.

There is ZERO reason to waste your time applying to schools your family can’t afford.

Shotgunning is not a good approach. My D applied to 8 schools had wrote 19 essays. Your essays needs to be spot on at this level of school.

Think about what you want out of your college experience and narrow down your list. You also need to add match schools unless you would be content at your flagship.

If you know for certain that your residency will be approved during your senior year, I personally think it makes sense to let colleges know that. There could be a big impact on financial aid. If it doesn’t look like it’s going to come through, taking a gap year may make good sense so that you have more options with aid.


That’s not how it works. We have a mortgage, 3 kids in college, our EFC is over 1/3 of our income (which is why all of our kids have loans). We are not eligible for any FA. Colleges don’t calculate your debt into the equation. I think last year’s tuition was close to $100,000 for the 3 of them, which I believe is about 1/2 of our yearly income. Don’t count on any financial aid, my kids got some merit which saved about $28,000 a year total (public state schools). ETA with your stats you will be eligible for merit at many colleges, which is great, but you might need to find some less selective schools where your stats place you near the top.

  1. agree with everybody else: you need to know - with certainty- what your EFC is.

  2. I understand the challenge of being international, but your list makes me think that you really need to do some more homework on where you are applying. Getting the 'you 're in!" letter is one thing, being able to afford it (see #3) is another, and being happy while working and living there for four years is something else entirely.

  3. UCs, UMi and UT are not affordable for somebody with a $20K budget. They just aren’t. Are your parents really saying ‘do that application just for the prestige points of saying you got in, even though you can’t go’? If so, write those essays after you have written all the essays for your other 24 applications.

  4. Think hard about a gap year: what could you do if you had that year? IF you really are going to get citizenship, that will change your parameters a lot-BUT the range is 6 months to 3 years. Find out why your family thinks it will be on the faster end.


How did you obtain an EFC??? FAFSA is for US citizens and the computer spits out your Expected Family Contribution which isn’t very accurate. Confirm your numbers with your NPC. Newsflash: Everyone has bills like a “mortgage” and kids in college and car payments. The FA office does not consider what your output is.

Why would you apply to the UC’s? Why spend the applicant money on those? The UC’s would probably admit you, but getting a scholarship, as an OOS is rare.
So if you get in, then what?
Assume full fees of $67K because the UC’s see OOS students as “cash cows”. They make money on you. The majority of your school choices appear to be from laundry lists of “elite” schools. It sounds a lot like you and your parents want bragging rights. (I’m being “brutally honest”.) I don’t know how one person could possibly “FIT” all of those schools.

Why the ivies? They are an athletic conference and are so vastly different. They look for fit. I would add that I don’t see sports nor community/ environmental outreach that is outside of your school activities. Just being “brutally honest”.

I know that Caltech and Stanford looks for something “outside the box” that presents you as a person with hobbies or community partners that show balance.


I suspect the OP is unintentionally using the term “EFC” incorrectly. I believe OP means his/her family budget is around $20k.

OP, the EFC is calculated on the FAFSA student aid website after completing the application. It is available for citizens and certain noncitizens. I don’t believe your visa status will qualify but here is a link to the information.


It is true, I am applying to a lot of those schools just to see if I can get in and for the “prestige”. my state school is a t100 and it is actually pretty good- we get in state tuition, I really like the place, etc. I will only go out of state if I get into a better “more prestigious” school.

Yeah, I don’t mean EFC, I mean family budget

1 Like

Can your parents afford $80,000 a year?

1 Like

Thank you for clarifying.

So to meet your budget of $20k you essentially need tuition covered at an OOS or private school. With a family income of $150k you most likely will not receive need-based aid except at the most highly rejective schools mentioned upthread. So you need to target schools that offer merit for your stats.

Your instate flagship has a cost of attendance of $22k (assuming you qualify for instate tuition with your visa status… I didn’t look that up). Is your family okay with that?

I don’t understand applying to schools you can’t afford but agree that if you are determined to do that, make those your last applications. Kids get burned out from the many application and merit essays. It’s a lot of work to do it well!!

1 Like

yes, I am not from idaho, I am from a neighboring state… I am easily identifiable by my profile which is why I put in idaho to prevent doxxing( my state is verry similar to idaho). We get in state tuition (around 9k) at my state flagship(better than u idaho)… I think you definitely know which school/ state I am talking about… there are a few people in my school who might recognize me, so I changed a few details

1 Like

Umm no


Have you checked the full cost of attendance at your state school (tuition, fees, room, board, incidentals) and confirmed you qualify for instate tuition status?

Next I’d recommend running the NPCs for a few colleges on your list. Use the NPC from each college’s website not a general NPC on a college advice website. The NPCs may not be accurate because of your international status but should give a general idea of what that school expects your family to pay. If it’s not in budget, please look into other schools that will work financially.

1 Like

Rather than listing untruths, you are better off being vague. Users will try to assist as best they can, but inaccuracies such as this may lead users to wonder (or outright ask) how much of the rest is inaccurate.


Waste of time to apply to the UC’s since even with any rare merit, the costs will not get down to $20K. I agree with @DramaMama2021 you will need to target schools that meet your budget with merit aid. If you are in one of the Western states, then look into the WUE schools.


yes, I will be living at home if I go instate(so no room board costs), and have contacted the admissions office to make sure I qualify for instate.

Thank you everyone for all of your help so far, but I want to know how how my chances are. As an Indian international, I know that top schools like MIT only take around 5 students a year from India, and I simply don’t know if I am that good… I know chancing isn’t super accurate with top schools, but I just wanted to know