Chance Me - Top Schools

Beyond all of these schools being reaches, that is just too many essays/applications to do a good job on. So I encourage you to cull the list.

Also, note Georgetown is not test optional. If you have taken a SAT/ACT test or tests, you must report all of your scores.

I agree with thumper you need a safety school that is affordable…what school is that for you?

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This is the kind of thing you need to check:

From Georgetown!

Financial aid for international students is extremely limited . To be considered for one of these awards, you must indicate your interest on your application for undergraduate admission and complete the CSS PROFILE.

And from Tufts:

In light of Tufts’ commitment to maintain an international community, the University makes available a small amount of funding for talented international students. Because of the limited financial aid funding available, Tufts can offer admission to only a very small number of International applicants each year.


Agree with the others - all are reaches and hopefully you have affordable safeties.

I also hate when I see someone who applies to all of the Ivies. My first thought is “what sport do you play?” because they are simply an athletic conference. My second thought is they are different. The student who thrives in the open curriculum at Brown will not be happy with the Core at Columbia. The student happy in Manhattan may feel isolated in Hanover, NH. I encourage you to research schools and look for those that would be a good fit for you, not just make a list of highly selective ones.


Dito Barnard:

Financial Aid for International Students

Students who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents are considered international students. Barnard College is able to award a small number of need-based scholarships for international students in each first-year entering class.
Applicants who wish to be considered for aid must complete the College Scholarship Service (CSS) Profile Form.

In addition, the college won’t be “need blind” for international applicants - in other words, they may make financial need part of their decision criteria!


Yes…this student needs to check each of these colleges for policies on awarding need based aid to international students. And a number of these schools don’t offer a dime of merit aid at all to anyone.

I hope they have a sure thing that is affordable in Canada, perhaps.


After you read what I’ve included below, then think about what it is you want out of your college experience. What’s important to you? What experience(s) from American universities do you want that aren’t typically offered at Canadian ones? (Those experiences may not happen at all U.S. universities.) What type of activities would you like to do when you’re not in class? Is there a certain distance you want to be from home, or hours away by plane? Are you hoping to be allowed to work FT in the U.S. after graduation? If so, in what part of the U.S.?

Also, you may want to read this post that @CMA22 wrote earlier today. These are excellent questions for high schoolers to think about as they develop their college lists.

I’m going to copy part of one of my posts from a different thread:

Admissions for international students who need at least full tuition if not a full ride is extraordinarily difficult to get in the U.S., but not impossible. Many (most?) universities do not give financial aid to international students. And most universities do not meet 100% of someone’s need (whether domestic or international). And then schools are often need-aware, meaning that how much money a student needs can impact their chance for admission. And there are schools that are need-blind for domestic applicants, but not international ones. But, not all hope is lost!

First, make sure you apply to schools (in your home country or in a different one) that you are extremely likely to be admitted to and will be able to afford. That way, if nothing else works out the way you want it to, you will still have college options available.

For some extremely likely/guaranteed options, I would look at this post that was written for a student from India who essentially needed at least tuition as well: Match me - Intl student from India in need of advice (lib arts interests) - #69 by AustenNut

Then, I would take a good luck at these six universities as they are exactly what you need financially. They are need-blind (how much someone’s need is does not impact whether or not they are admitted) and meet 100% of the need, including for international students. They are all extremely difficult to get into for any student, but they’re going to be reading every application and you do have a compelling story, in my opinion. You only need one to say yes, and they would cover your full need without loans.

Have you gone through your list to see what kind of aid (if any) they offer to international students? Once you verify they all give aid, please let us know. One source is to use the College Board’s site and under the financial section toggle “on” the option for aid for international students. That will clear out more than half of the universities right there. (Here’s a link with that already done.) Make sure to pay attention to whether they include loans or no loans, especially for students from low income families (this would usually be found on each school’s website).

UNC meets full-need for in-state and out-of-state students…double check if they do it for international students as well. U. of Virginia will meet full need for domestic students, but double-check that it’s true for international students.

I would suggest you double check this info…but….

From University of North Carolina:

“While we’ll automatically consider you for scholarships when you apply as a first-year student, and as an international student, you won’t be eligible to receive need-based financial aid and so you’ll want to be prepared to pay the full cost of attendance for non-resident students.”

And from University of Virginia:

“ Student Financial Services does not award financial aid to international or foreign students. Students may apply for alternative loan programs that are available from private financial institutions.”


Thanks, @thumper1! I think I was tired the other night and didn’t research those. So, forget about UVA and UNC, at least with respect to getting need-based aid from them.

I’d double check…I’ve been wrong sometimes🤷🏻‍♀️

We’ll leave something for OP to do. :grinning:


I’m aware of the finances of each school, and do not need that much. Further, I’ve had my ‘list’ cultivated for much time now and have selected each school for specific reasons—and have looked into how their aid would fit for me.

I was more so interested in hearing some opinions on the rest of my profile, and perhaps some new school suggestions, rather than just the finances haha.

On your EC list, you list yourself as President, founder, executive of a number of organizations. I’m wondering just how in depth your work actually was able to be with so many “leadership” positions. If I’m wondering that, I wonder if an adcom might similarly wonder.

Your credentials are fine…your list of schools is mostly reach schools for an international student.

Suggestion…look at some of the wonderful colleges in Canada which would be likely less costly, and are terrific. McGill pops onto my head first but there are many others.

Would you be open to attending a women’s college? Perhaps check those out.

Not sure I think going test optional is going to help you…is there some reason why you can’t take the tests or don’t wish to submit your scores?

Also, you say you are applying for financial aid…but some of your colleges have very limited aid for international students.


All of the orgs I’m an exec in have been running for quite some time and are of great depth, I just feel uncomfortable stating the specifics.

Also, I do plan on applying to a couple of HWC’s.

I am possibly not taking the SAT as much of my time is consumed by taking care of a parent, rather than studying.

“Further, I’ve had my ‘list’ cultivated for much time now and have selected each school for specific reasons” (words of OP)

Given the significant diversity in your school list, it would be hard to help come up with additional schools as match and safety counterparts without knowing these “specific reasons”. For example, when people select a less selective counterpart to Colby, it often has nothing common with Northwestern. Others have pointed out that even within the 8 Ivy schools there is so much NOT in common that it’s a super weird list for a single person to have. But we can help with suggesting less reachy schools if we understand what it is that draws you to particular reach schools…other than prestige. It’s fine to say you are easygoing about geography, urban v. rural, or vibe, but in your list there are serious differences in academic approach. That’s fine too – my kid has a list that bridges across some of the traditional divides (open v. structured curriculum, etc.)— but it was for very specific reasons drilling down to the department level in some cases.

I want to keep my options open, hence the number of schools. The main thing in common is their location—keeping it up north mostly. Otherwise, they’re all strong in my intended majors.

If you could share what those reasons are, that would be helpful because it is also going to give us an idea as to a reason why some of these schools would be particularly interested in you. There are so many very qualified students out there who are interested in the colleges on your list, and the colleges don’t have enough space. This past year I think most of the schools on your list had an acceptance rate of under 10%, and most of those receiving rejections were very strong applicants. Unless you make clear distinctions about yourself and why you are a great fit for THAT particular university, your chances are no better than anyone else’s, which means that your chances are slim.

Your extracurriculars section is truly extraordinary. You will want to make sure your letters of recommendation can speak to the specifics of those extracurriculars and that you provide as much verifiable information as possible on your application and in supplements so that the colleges have no reason to doubt any of your accomplishments.

Wishing you the best of luck.

This was exactly what I was thinking also, although Canada would use the word “universities”.

With an ED to Dartmouth, plus multiple other small schools on OP’s list, I was wondering about a smaller university such as Lethbridge, Mount Allison, and/or Acadia.

I am concerned whenever I read “all ivies” since they are quite different (I have a spouse with a degree from a specific ivy, but who did not apply to the other 7).


I’m already set on my Canadian schools, but the whole point is that I’m not planning on staying here.

Also, yes, we don’t say colleges here.

Do not expect to be able to immigrate to the US after getting a degree down here. In the US international students are normally expected to return to their home country after graduation.


You didn’t ask for additional suggestions of colleges, but I wanted to give you some other universities to research that might help you create a balanced list of schools to apply to. A balanced list means that there are schools that you are extremely likely to be admitted to and that you will be able to afford. You haven’t shared your financial needs with us, so I don’t know how these will work for you in that respect. But the most important thing is that every school on the list should be one that you would be happy to attend. College admissions have gotten exponentially harder the last couple of years, and I would focus on creating a strong base of applications to schools where you are likelier to be admitted (and get merit aid) and then select a chosen few institutions that are much more selective and less likely to result in an admittance.

This list is categorized based on my very fallible sense of what might be your chances of acceptance. These institutions all give international students financial aid (though for how much you’d need to look at each university’s website). They all have majors in political science/public policy, international relations, economics, and women’s/gender studies. They’re all small to medium universities in the northern U.S., which seems to be your preference.

Schools that are part of the Colleges That Change Lives are marked with a CTCL.


Extremely Likely (90+%)

  • Hope (MI) – CTCL
  • College of St. Benedict (MN)

Likely (60-90%)

  • Fairfield (CT)
  • Simmons (MA) – all women
  • Duquesne (PA )
  • SUNY College at Geneseo (NY)
  • Hobart & William Smith (NY)
  • Beloit (WI) – CTCL

Toss-Up (40-60%)

  • Providence (RI)
  • College of New Jersey
  • Dickinson (PA )
  • Clark (MA) – CTCL
  • Sarah Lawrence (NY)

Possible (15-40%)

  • Macalester (MN)
  • Brandeis (MA)
  • Connecticut College
  • Trinity (CT)
  • Villanova (PA )
  • Wake Forest (NC)
  • U. of Miami (FL)

Less Likely (15% or less)

  • Your current list except for Villanova, Wake Forest, and U. of Miami