Chance Me: Intl debate and MUN nerd for Harvard, Stanford, Georgia tech, UC Berkley and more

Demographics: South Asian (Indian), male, International, private school (CBSE Board)

Intended Major: Electrical Engineering

SAT: 2nd attempt score: 1570 (790 Math, 780 EBRW)

1st attempt score: 1430 (740 Math, 690 EBRW)

UWGPA: 95%

Rank: School doesn’t do rankings

Coursework: School doesn’t offer AP courses, but I’ve enrolled in Calculus BC, Physics C: mechanics and Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism

Currently studying Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, English and Computer Science in school.


*Writing Competition 2019 : Grand Prize for Creative Writing

  • World Heritage Quiz 2019: Top 4 Teams
  • 2019: Hidden Gem Explorar and Best Team
  • 2022: Best School
  • Memorial Interschool Competitions 2022: Best School

MUN Awards:

  • International MUN 2019: Special Mention
  • International Youth Summit 2019: Special Mention
  • Indian International MUN 2019: Best Delegate )
  • MUN 2019: Special Mention
  • International MUN 2019 and 2020: Special Mention
  • IMUN 2020 and 2021: Special Mention
  • MUN 2022: Best Delegate
  • MUN 2022: Best Delegate

Debate Awards:

  • West Zone Debates2019: top 6 team
  • Interschool Debates 2022: Best Speaker
  • memorial debates 2022: Best Speaker and Best Team


TED Ed Speaker: As part of the TED-Ed Club at my school I gave a ted talk in 2019 which was published on the TED-Ed Youtube channel. I continued to participate in the club as a senior mentor for the next 3 years.

TEDxYouth Organizer: Served as the Head and as a Core organizing committee member for the TedxYouth event in my city. I designed and executed the event’s marketing campaign for the event along with my team. Also handled the invitations for different schools in the state.

Robotics (9th-11th): Led team to World Robotics Olympiad Regional Championships

Model UN and Debates (9th-12th): Organized the International Peace MUN 2020 and 2021 which got 300 participants from around the globe. committee in the MUN. Served the school delegation forInternational MUN 2020 and AVV MUN 2022. (school won overall best school at both events). Led school team memorial interschool Competitions 2022 and at Debates 2022.

Student Government (12th): I lead the media and communications team of our school and am responsible for developing and implementing strategies for promoting our school and its activities to the wider community. I also manage the school’s website, social media channels and publications.

Volunteering (2021 and 2022): volunteered as a student helper at Community care (old age home) for two years.

Was a Student Leader/Core team member in 2020 which focused on alleviating the troubles of the elderly during the pandemic by helping them get through daily life by volunteering at old age homes, delivering medicines, groceries and other vital resources to the elderly that were unable to leave their homes during this time. We created youtube videos and generated a lot of social media engagement for the same and got more than 250 student volunteers for the organization.


  • Summer 2022) (On-Site Internship): learned from skilled engineers about the designing, operation, and construction of heavy machinery and also learned about the Construction process in detail.
  • summer 2022)(On-Site Internship)**: Learned about HVAC systems and the processes that go into their design, selection, and construction directly from the engineers. I also learned about the ins and outs of the HVAC industry
  • *(Summer 2022)(Online internship): Learned about data manipulation, data collection, data management, and Artificial Intelligence from Microsoft Engineers.

Schools I applied to: UIUC (EA), GT (EA), UCLA (RD), UC Berkley (RD), UC San Diego (RD), UC Santa Barbara (RD), CMU (RD), Stanford (RD), Harvard (RD), University of Toronto (RD), University of British Columbia (RD)

MODERATOR NOTE: I edited out very specific identifying information , which have made some of the OP’s descriptions a little unclear.

UIUC and GT will announce decisions soon, so you’ll know.

The Canadian universities are more stats focused in their admissions so you’ll probably have a better chance. Tagging @DadTwoGirls to get his input.

The others are all single digit acceptance schools, so a high reach, especially as an international student.

What’s your budget? How much aid (if any) are you seeking?

It’s possible you may get admitted to UCSB for example, but they won’t give you any financial aid.

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You have a competitive profile for UCLA/UCB/UCSD and UCSB. The UC’s are test blind so your excellent SAT score will not be considered for admissions or scholarships. College budget will be important since the UC’s offer no financial aid to International Students so expect to pay full fees at around $67K+/year to attend.

As an International applicant, none of the UC’s will be easy admits and I would put them in the Reach and Low Reach categories.

2022 International applicant admit rate:
UCB: 5.5%
UCLA: 5.8%
UCSB: 19.7%
UCSD: 15.5%

Best of luck.

What are your alternatives, if you’re not accepted to any of these?

You’re a strong applicant, but there are many strong applicants from your region, and acceptance rates for international students are pretty low. So while I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re accepted to one or more, I also wouldn’t be surprised if you were not accepted to any.

Like others, I’ll also ask - do you need financial support?

Finally (just out of curiosity, since you’ve already applied, so what’s done is done), why Harvard for ME?

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So I got into UIUC and got deferred from GT. My budget is around 200k for all four years of college and I’m not sure I would get financial aid since my family is pretty well off. I applied to high reaches since going abroad for college is a pretty big deal and my family believes it’s only worth it if I get into an exceptionally amazing school.


Thank you so much for replying! Do the UCs offer scholarships to international students or have they completely stopped considering international students for all types of financial aid?

If I wasn’t accepted into any of these unis I would probably go to an Indian Engineering university by giving the JEE. But I did get accepted into UIUC today, so I dont have to worry about alternatives.

I dont need significant financial aid but it would be beneficial to me and my family if I got some.

Simply put, I chose to apply to Harvard because it’s been my dream university for a long time. I visited the campus back in 2018 and I was enthralled by its beauty and overall vibe. Moreover, Harvard has one of the best electrical engineering courses around and offers a lot of opportunities to its undergrad students which I would not get elsewhere. Finally, Harvard is also home to several students who will go on to change the world in the future and I’d like to walk amongst them, call some of them my friends and eventually change the world myself.
(I’m sorry if this answer got too cheesy but it’s honestly what i feel about the uni)

For an electrical engg major, uiuc is a great choice. Harvard less so. Congratulations!!


I get the whole Harvard cache thing because “Hey, it’s Harvard”. But UIUC is a GREAT school for EE. And you have a shot at some merit scholarships there. Harvard gives no merit aid and it sounds like you wouldn’t qualify for financial aid. So UIUC would be much cheaper, too.

Good luck with the rest of your applications!

The UC’s offer no need based financial aid and merit aid is highly competitive and very few scholarships are available. Do not count on any FA as an International applicant.

If you’ve been accepted to UIUC for EE, Harvard is not even close. GTech and Berkeley are equivalent to UIUC, and only CMU and Stanford are better. I’m not sure about Toronto. Harvard is maybe the equivalent of UCSD, but probably not even that.

Harvard’s big advantage is that it is a full-need-met school, and the only other such school on your list is Stanford. However, if your parents can afford to pay for the UCs as an international student, you’re unlikely to get any financial aid from them.

As for opportunities, the most important opportunities for undergraduates are internships, and UIUCs reputation in engineering is such that the top engineering companies are all coming to UIUC to recruit summer interns. There are few, if any engineering companies which would prefer a Harvard engineering student over a UIUC engineering student. Stanford and Berkeley have the additional advantages of its proximity to Silicon Valley, which is a plus for these two schools.

Not in engineering it isn’t. The engineers who changed the world are UIUC alumni than there are Harvard engineering alumni. I won’t even get into the Stanford, CMU, GTech, and Berkeley engineering alumni.

PS. People like Bill Gates or Zuckerberg are not primarily engineers, they’re business people. Neither actually invented or developed the software which made them billions. They see the potential behind existing ideas and market them.


Thank you!

I understand, thank you for replying. I should have looked into my choices a bit more lol.

Another reason i had for applying to Harvard was that I’m not really sure EE is my calling in life. I thought that if i got in and wanted to change to a wholly separate field of study like pol sci or econ Harvard would be the best place to do that.

Don’t worry - most high school students, especially international ones, are not all that familiar with USA colleges, except for the ones which are really good at advertising themselves, and no college is better at advertising itself than Harvard.

In any case, as I wrote, you already have one amazing acceptance, and hopefully you’ll have a couple more to choose from. I hope to see you soon, asking for help on choosing between colleges where you have been accepted.

So both congratulations and good luck!!

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Congrats on UIUC. It’s a phenomenal school and far better than Harvard for EE.


2 posts were split to a new thread: International Student question on CCS

Actually…it doesn’t matter how wealthy the parents are…the UCs don’t really give aid to international students.

Then again…if they can spend the over $65,000 a year…they don’t need aid. But this student says that amount is over budget.

I meant that, if the OP’s parents can afford the UCs, then Stanford would not provide any financial aid. That “them” was referring to Stanford from the previous sentence, not to the UCs. I really should stop overusing pronouns…

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