Chance me at some LACs? (Midd, Bard, Kenyon, Wellesley, Grinnell)

<p>Hello :) I will be a senior in the fall, and am desperately searching for my ideal colleges. I'm looking at small liberal arts colleges with strong English/Writing programs, and this is my list right now, in a sort-of arrangement from reach-iest to safeties:</p>

<p>Amherst
Middlebury
Vassar
Bard
Oberlin
Wellesley
Kenyon
Grinnell
Smith
Bryn Mawr</p>

<p>I'm afraid these are a bit ambitious for me :(, so I'd like to get an opinion as to what my chances are for these, especially Middlebury, Bard, Wellesley, Kenyon & Grinnell.
I'm a 16 year old girl from Brazil but raised in Chile, and I've gone to an American school in Chile most of my life. My stats:
SAT: (1st time, expect I will do better) 2050
((No SAT II's yet, but I believe I will do well in Lit & Bio, maybe Math))</p>

<p>ACT: (also 1st time & will retake) 30</p>

<p>GPA:
9th: 3.39
10th: 3.45
11th: 3.58
Okay, I know. There is an explanation for this, and I hope it will be taken into account. I went to an American school up until 8th grade, so I was very used to the American school system: Aug-Jun school year, speaking ENGLISH, etc. But in 8th grade due to some financial troubles I moved to a regular Chile school, where the school year was Feb-Nov, we spoke Spanish, etc. Although I am of course fluent, it was still a big change. I had to skip half a year because of the different school year system. Well, all in all it was actually really difficult for me. I know it can sound a bit whiny, but it really was. Anyway, I moved back to my American school in the beginning of junior year, and I hope colleges can appreciate the upward trend. I hope to get at least a 3.7 this year. Also, I am probably in the top 10% for both that school and my current one, so that goes to show that both schools are very difficult and I did try harder than many other students.</p>

<p>APs:
Even my American school only offers 7 APs and you can only start junior year. I got a 5 in AP Eng Lit, I will be taking AP Bio next year & self-studying for AP Eng Lang. I expect another 5 for Lang, Bio is a toss-up...but I think a 3 at least.</p>

<p>ECs:
Community service for school (does this count? It's mandatory), 2 years
Editor/writer for school newspaper, 2 years
Senior Vice President
English tutoring for younger students, 2 years
Horseback riding, 2 years
Piano, 1 year
(maybe, this year) Model UN, 1 year
The Chile school I went to for 9th&10th didn't have any non-sport ECs & they didn't give out award, but I have won Writing & English awards at my school (not prestigious, though. Just end-of-the-year awards)</p>

<p>I expect my essay and recc letters will be pretty stellar :P
Well :| Looking back on this, it seems I'm in worse shape than I thought. My GPA especially, but my ECs are also less than great and I don't have many APs. My college counselor tells me that (shallow as it is) my "minority status" will help. <em>sigh</em> Well. What do you guys think about those colleges for me?</p>

<p>Not sure on some of them but I think currently you have better chances at Bard, Smith and Bryn Mawr. Also check into Skidmore (NY), Denison (OH) and Dickinson (PA). Best of luck!</p>

<p>Also take a look at Sewanee:The University of the South. They have a wonderful english/writing program.</p>

<p>Have you considered Reed? Sounds right up your alley.</p>

<p>Thanks for all your suggestions :D ! I am def looking into those colleges. I have heard good things about Reed before, yes.
I am probably going to give up Amherst - I haven't had time to get too attached to it, so it's no point researching it more since it's so selective. Out of those top 3 - Amherst, Vassar and Midd - I just really adore Middlebury. I know it is a pretty high reach for me, but do you guys think it's worth it to apply there? And not just worth it in the "Of course, why not take your chances because the whole process is unpredictable anyway", but in a really honest way. Because to a certain point, it IS predictable.
I do love Bard as well, but the tuition there scares me :| and my parents. I will be applying for FA for all of these, btw.
What do you guys think of those middle schools, from around Bard - Kenyon? Which of those would you all consider high/low reaches/matches? I figure Grinnell, Smith and Bryn Mawr at least are all matches for me, but I was sort of hoping they would be more in the safety range (though I know that it's hard to point out safeties for an international student applying for FA). If they aren't, which schools would you guys suggest as safeties for me?
Again, thank you for the replies :)</p>

<p>These schools are all reaches for you, especially given your international status. You have no safeties on this list. What is more, you will not be able to find a single safety school in the US as an international applying for financial aid. Raise your ACT/SAT to 33+/2200+, get straight As next semester, and hope for the best.</p>

<p>Is it bad that I'm international just when coupled with the fact that I need financial aid or is it bad that I'm international, period? I was actually told that being international would help...
But anyway, even if there are no safety schools for me, would you all suggest that I stick with something similar to this list, or aim way lower? I guess I'm looking for the least unlikely XD
Also, and I don't know if it matters, but my school is pretty well-known for being very challenging and for molding very good students...it's a small school (around 600-700 students), yet we always have 1/2 Ivy acceptances every year, and a good amount of students going to smaller but selective colleges/unis like Vassar, Grinnell, Vanderbilt. And I definitely wouldn't consider myself a bad student, in fact I'm probably one of the best here and my teachers will say so in my reccs even if my GPA doesn't convey it that well. So although applying for FA hurts me, I think there's something to be said for the fact that I'm international. Or am I delusional?</p>

<p>Um, not delusional exactly. More like overoptimistic and ignorant.</p>

<p>Internationals applying for aid are held to completely different admission standards at all but a handful of schools. Comparing yourself to American applicants to Vassar and Vanderbilt is pointless.</p>

<p>To illustrate my point, while Vassar's overall acceptance rate is ~24%, its acceptance rate for aid-seeking internationals is below 7%. Of the students you know who go there, one in three would have been lucky to get in as an international.</p>

<p>In case you're still wondering, being an international is usually bad enough, but applying for aid puts you at an enormous disadvantage. Yes, the colleges on your list want to maintain a sizeable international presence on campus. Unfortunately for you, come spring they will have scores of international students to choose from, and many of them will not be asking for aid. Even more will have better grades than you. (I don't want to sound harsh as I myself applied to college as an aid-seeking international with a 3.3 GPA and know what it's like, but it doesn't matter that you changed schools or that your teachers like you; your GPA is still gonna look bad. Sorry.)</p>

<p>Believe me, I'm not trying to be mean right now; it's better for you to be aware of these things from the start.</p>

<p>To give you some constructive feedback, of the schools you've listed, Grinnell, Wellesley, Middlebury and Bryn Mawr are the most welcoming to internationals, though Middlebury is probably an unrealistic reach for you (I'm assuming you won't be applying to Amherst). Consider Mount Holyoke as well.</p>

<p>crap stats, SATs/ACTs to low ;retake please</p>

<p>No one needs to say you have crap stats.
Your SAT is good. It is pretty much the equivlant of your ACT. Anything in the 30 range is really pretty good. However, due to the fact that it was your first try, take them again!!!! you could end up doing really really well.</p>

<p>None of the schools are EXTREMELY out of your reach. However, they are all high matches-low reaches (amhert and middlebury being mid to high reaches). </p>

<p>Your situation will be taken into account if you tell the admissions counselors in an interview.</p>

<p>You will probably get into some of the schools you listed. However, you really should look into some safety liberal arts schools too.
Have you looked at Drew? ITs super cute, super pretty, has great liberal arts. ITs just not super difficult to get into.</p>

<p>^^Wow, ok. Thanks.</p>

<p>Ghostt, thanks for your diplomatic answer, I do appreciate the honesty. (even though I think that starting with "ignorant" is not the nicest choice when you're 'not trying to be mean', if you can appreciate some constructive criticism yourself...while the word has no real negative meaning, it does have some bad connotations). I will try to raise my grades & test scores. Do you think that as an intl applicant who needs financial aid, it would be better for me to also look into some bigger universities? And do my chances decrease the more FA I ask for? Like, how much out of tuition would colleges definitely consider to be "not worth it"? Half? One fourth? I have relatives who may be able to help with tuition, so although there is no chance that I will be completely free of needing FA there's a possibility that my need could decrease.
Also, I was hoping to get some questions cleared up..for 9th & 10th grade I did a very straight conversion from the grades at my school (which were 0-10) to a GPA scale. I understand that a lot of colleges do not just convert like this, does anybody know if there is a chance that with their conversion methods my GPA would be a bit higher? I just really want them to see it with some perspective -- maybe it doesn't sound like it, but an 8.5 average (around 3.4) is actually pretty amazing in Chile & Brazil (I did 10th grade in Brazil). It is what top students graduate the top universities with. I dunno, maybe I am reaching...I just hope I get a chance to put it into some context, even aside from the whole transition from American to Latino school. Also, all of these GPAs are uw. </p>

<p>And are my SAT/ACT scores really too low? I've already said I will retake and I expect they will increase some, but I thought they were the only stats I could really breathe about. What should I be aiming for?</p>

<p>Oh, that first "^^Wow ok thanks" was sarcastic & meant for azndarkvader. S/he was being an a-hole. Thanks soontobesenior, I truly do appreciate your response :) It definitely makes me feel better! I will look into Drew</p>

<p>Hi, Gjab - Honestly, all of the schools on your list are serious reaches for you, and they would be for anyone with your stats, even without being international. And, while anything is possible, I would have to say that Amherst, Middlebury, Vassar and Oberlin are extremely long shots for you. I think you need to do some more research, on this site and elsewhere, talk to your college advisor, and develop a list with some realistic likely and safety schools on it. There are many very good LACs to which you could realistically hope to be admitted. Off the top of my head, you might want to look at Sarah Lawrence, Connecticut College, Ithaca, Case Western Reserve, Kalamazoo and Drew (as mentioned above). There are a whole bunch more out there, just don't have them at my fingertips right now.</p>

<p>Best of luck.</p>

<p>I urge you to learn more about Grinnell College, a very welcoming school to students from all over the U.S. and around the world. I honestly don't know how your credentials would stack up with current Grinnell students, but I believe you'd have a good chance there. Grinnell is certainly an unusual place in many regards. It's in a very small town (9,000 pop.) in central Iowa, so not ideal for everyone. But the great majority of students who come to Grinnell absolutely love it and don't feel isolated. The faculty is wonderful, the campus is beautiful and facilities are outstanding, and the new president is an amazing person. Grinnell has lots of money and has been working hard to strengthen its diversity, already quite impressive. Please continue thinking about Grinnell!</p>

<p>Take a look at the Common Data Set for each school you are considering (google it). As an international applicant, you want to be in the top 25% for test scores and the top 10% of your graduating class if you are looking for significant financial aid.</p>

<p>At Grinnell, be aware that they will not look consider the writing score, just V and M, on your SAT. Don't know if that helps you or not. The upward trend is good for your GPA - an the absolute number is less important than whether you are in the top 10% of your class or not. Since you say you are, then you have a reasonable chance. Students applying from China and India would probably not be considered with your grades and test scores, but Latin American applicants are much more unusual and your background will certainly make you stand out. </p>

<p>So, I like your list, but would suggest including a few less selective places. Look at Rhodes, Hendrix, Whitman, Evergreen, Eckard and some of those mentioned above to find a good fit. Consider adding Macalester too - 12% of the student body is international and they give generous financial aid. (And I'd probably remove Amherst - too much of a reach).</p>