Chance me on Dartmouth, Princeton, UCB, NYU and Carnegie Mellon


  • US domestic (US citizen or permanent resident) or international student
    ==> international

  • State/Location of residency: (state is important if you apply to any state universities)

  • Type of high school (current college for transfers): Private

  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity (optional): Female, Asian

  • Other special factors (first generation to college, legacy, athlete, etc.): N/A

Intended Major(s)
(in order of priority)

Computer Science/Computer Science with Mathematics (most prioritised)

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted HS GPA:

  • Weighted HS GPA (incl. weighting system):
    ==> my school doesn’t give out GPAs but we do have percentages.
    9th grade: 92%
    10th grade: 96%
    11th grade: 91%
    12th grade: yet to give

  • College GPA (for transfers):

  • Class Rank: my school doesn’t assign ranks but if I had to guess, I’d be in top 10 out of 352 kids.

  • ACT/SAT Scores: I’m applying test-optional because of financial and societal hardships.

(AP/IB/Dual Enrollment classes, AP/IB scores for high school; also include level of math and foreign language reached and any unusual academic electives; for transfers, describe your college courses and preparation for your intended major(s))
==> doesn’t offer AP classes and we don’t have a system that you can get classes from community colleges. you have to be enrolled in a college for the full duration to take their classes.


  1. School Laureate for excellence in every core subject.
  2. Cash Prize (worth 10k) and Certificate for third in place after representing my city in a state-level essay competition.

some medals and certificate from my debate club days but they’re from 9th and 10th grade because our school (physically) has been closed since March 2020.

(Include leadership, summer activities, competitions, volunteering, and work experience)

  1. Dy. Literary Secretary (Student Council)
  2. Member of the debate club
  3. SOF Olympiads:
    •International English Olympiad: 3 gold medals as a school topper
    •International Maths Olympiad: 1 gold medal as a school topper
    •National Science Olympiad: 2 silver, 1 bronze as school topper
  4. qualified to State Level Spell Bee (represented my school along with 3 others)
  5. Attended/Organised (as an intern) an online AI Code Camp (online so it was national) we had to develop a facial recognition software, successfully completed that and it got acclaim from Guiness World Records.

(Optionally, guess how strong these are and include any other relevant information or circumstances.)
==> I’ve talked to my teachers about this and in addition to counsellor recommendation, I’m also getting one from my history teacher who is part of state level research in archaeology and one from my english teacher who is the head of the english department.
==> I think my essays would be great because I have written a lot in my life and won prizes too and I’ve already started working on college essays and supplements.

Cost Constraints / Budget
(High school students: please get a budget from your parents and use the Net Price Calculators on the web sites of colleges of interest.)
==> my parents can probably contribute 15k USD yearly and that’s why I need an aid preferably or scholarship.

(List of colleges by your initial chance estimate; designate if applying ED/EA/RD; if a scholarship is necessary for affordability, indicate that you are aiming for a scholarship and use the scholarship chance to estimate it into the appropriate group below)

  • Safety (certain admission and affordability)
  1. Rutgers-Newark
  2. Washington State University
  3. Adelphi University
  • Likely (would be possible, but very unlikely or surprising, for it not to admit or be affordable)
  1. Colgate University
  2. NYU
  • Match
  1. PSU
  2. Boston University
  3. UT Austin
  • Reach
  1. Princeton
  2. Yale
  3. Dartmouth
  4. Cornell

most of the Match universities don’t give out aid but do recommend some colleges which give you generous aid/scholarship/bursaries.

Have you run the net price calculator on each school? (Note: if it does not ask whether you are a US citizen, permanent resident, or international student, it may not necessarily take into account being an international student, so check directly with the school if it is still usable for you. Many schools give no or much less need-based financial aid to international students.)

If the school is not affordable on need-based financial aid, move it into the reach category if you need a large competitive merit scholarship to afford it.

almost every NPC I checked asked if I’m an international student so I couldn’t get my pure estimate but princeton gave me a good estimate and according to it, my own contribution and parental contribution should in total amount to 9.7k annually which is pretty good and Princeton anyway has a rep for being generous. the hard part in getting INTO princeton.

For those schools, move them into the reach category, since you need to find a large enough merit scholarship that international students are eligible for, not just admission.


Are you looking for merit aid (scholarships based on your stats) or financial aid?

Take NYU out of your list, it’s very hard to get lots of financial aid from them and NYU is a very expensive place to be. Also you said UCB in your title, you should take that out because they mainly give aid to California in-state students. I think you have a good shot at CMU.

CMU is a great school but as far as I remember, they don’t give financial aid to international students, I’ll have to check for scholarships though.

Does Rutgers-Newark give scholarships to international students? Btw, NJIT, which is right next to it, has a stronger CS program. That may also be a possibility. I think they give international students some scholarships. I also suggest you add UT-Dallas .

Not sure if that is particularly advantageous at your reach schools when applying as a financial aid needing International Asian STEM focused applicant.

At the few need blind/meets need for International student schools the competition from Asian applicants is extremely intense and they each only accept a literal handful a year from countries like India and China, (and correspondingly fewer from smaller countries) so anything that adds to your application and positions you as the “best-of-the-best” from your country is a positive.


I checked many websites and most of them said that even if I don’t submit SAT/ACT scores, it won’t be disadvantageous to my application. that’s why I’m more concerned about my extra-curriculars.

Rutgers’ website says that it gives scholarships to international students amounting upto $10000 per year. So I guess it does.
I’ll check out NJIT too, thanks for the rec :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

For international students, cost of attendance is roughly $45000 at Rutgers - Nwk. Even with a $10k scholarship, you will still need 35K , and that doesn’t include insurance and travel. If your family maximum is 15K, where will the extra 20K or so come from?

Also, as already mentioned, going test optional in a demographic that has high test scores may not help you with a scholarship. Yes, I know they say it won’t be disadvantageous, but keep in mind that many applicants from your country will submit test scores, especially for a STEM field.

In general, most US universities view international students as “cash cows” - full paying students who need almost no financial aid. Of course, they don’t say that in their websites, but that’s what it ends up being , except for the very highly selective and wealthy institutions like Princeton or Harvard. It may be possible for you to get some merit awards , but it will be difficult to get your out of pocket costs to be around 15K, even with scholarships. This has been mentioned by others already.

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It seems you have yet to do full research with respect to your categorizations. Colgate, for example, accepted 1 of 12 international applicants in a recent year (First-Year Class Profile | Colgate University), which represents reach territory for most who apply. I’m not discouraging your interest, however, just you characterization.

As a general suggestion, consider expanding your list with some smaller colleges with top programs in your areas of interest. Williams, Haverford and Hamilton, for example, would be great schools to consider for your interests. These examples offer especially well-funded financial assistance. As with Colgate, they represent reaches, however.

Take a look at Drexel University. You’d have to major in Physics with an Astro minor but that’s okay for undergrad as long as you are doing Astro research. It’s in a city with a diverse population. Academically probably a match or likely. They do consider merit for International students but probably a reach there but that’s your case most places. You’ll have to do the CSS to be considered for Financial Aid.

NYU reach over 100000 applications this year. Colgate changed their financial aid awards more apps double the amount from 2020 making it a reach as well. UT Austin guarantees admission for top 6% of Texas HS grades making it harder to be accepted for OOS than similar ranked schools.

As @momprof9904 indicated, your estimates of affordability look way off.

*WSU: yes, you will probably qualify for the $4K tuition waiver, and maybe some other scholarships- but the COA (Cost of Attendance) is $44K for a non-resident (ie, somebody who is not a resident of Washington State), so you need to find the other

*Adelphi has exactly 2 50% scholarships for international students- and tuition only (no housing or living expenses) is $40K year. If you got the biggest scholarship, you would still have to find $20K for tuition + another $20K for living expenses.

*Rutgers-Newark: COA is $45K; max scholarship is $10K, so you need $35K/pa - IF you get the max scholarship

  • NYU would be particularly shocking if it was affordable- they are famously stingy with aid…

*Colgate will meet need- IF you are accepted, and they consider how much aid you need in deciding whether to accept you. It is a reach, not a match and definitely not a likely.

*PSU is stingy with it’s own in-state students, and they state explicitly that there is “little to no” financial aid for international undergraduate students. It’s not affordable for you.

*BU: IF you got one of the 20 Trustee scholarships (shared between domestic and international students) it would be affordable. The only other scholarship you would qualify is the Presidential- $20K off the $80K COA. So, yes, apply -but it is a serious reach

*UT-A: IF you get the IEF scholarship, UT-A would be just about affordable (it covers tuition, but not housing/living costs). So, yes, apply -but it is a serious reach

*UC-B: COA of ~$70K, and $0 for OOS students. Not affordable

*Cornell, Dartmouth, Princeton & Yale - all affordable, but as you already know super-high reaches.

tl;dr- Colgate, BU, UT-A, Cornell, Dartmouth, Princeton & Yale are the only possibly “affordable” unis on your list, and all of them are serious reaches. This is a hard,hard,hard thing you are trying to do: college in the US for $15K/pa is hard to do for domestic students, much less internationals.


Hey, Dartmouth student here. You seem super academically qualified for all the schools in your list. However, I would keep in mind around half of applicants to elite schools are academically qualified to get in. What separates the admits from the highly accomplished horde of applicants is extracurriculars and interesting backgrounds. I see in your original post you highlighted your academic achievements in school and olympiads a lot more. But that likely won’t impress the admissions team. What they want to see is where you took initiative and did interesting things different from anyone else they might see. The Ai code camp could be one, but you will need to highlight others. Maybe your experience as literary secretary can be part of it, or your experience with debate. It is these extracurricular accomplishments and unique things you did that is what the admissions comittee wants to see, and should be highlighted in your essays and interview.

For your reach schools, all of which have liberal arts curricula, demonstrated interest and experience in computer science is good, but they also want to see interest in other fields so that they can tell if you are a good fit for the liberal arts experience.

In addition, you reach schools will want to see why you want them specifically. I know you’ve already seen their why essay questions, but I hope you understand generic things won’t work here. You may already know this, but it’s important enough that I’ll still mention it. You need to look over specific aspects of each of these colleges in terms of their academic programs and extracurricular options that attract you. These should be opportunities which most, if not all other schools, even similarly ranked schools, don’t have. That also helps an admissions committees determine if you are a good fit for their school.

For the record, I am a part time college counselor so this comes from experience working with applicants to Dartmouth and other top schools. Hope I helped, let me know if you have any other questions.