Chance Me - Top Schools

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

I think you have a good shot of being admitted to one of your choices. However, you need to be realistic about your financial situation.

I honestly do not know how you found time to do all those ECs. But if you did, congrats.

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OP, I have seen other international students who are being told to re-do their list (as you are being told by pretty much every poster here) counter-argue that they have good, affordable safeties and reaches in their home country. and it is only worth going to the US for something great / materially better than what they can get at home. IMO that is a very valid argument for an international to apply only to reaches (in either the admissions or the financial sense) in the US. Is that the case for you? If so, great. If not, put me in the camp of ‘go back and re-build your list’. (btw, in that scenario @AustenNut’s last post is a real gift)


Excellent point!! And this is why applying random with seemly perfect grades mostly likely will result in rejections from all of them!


I hear this a lot and I just don’t agree. Sure, there are lots of kids spraying the entire Ivy field with little regard to it other than prestige. That’s not a good approach. But, just because you like certain elements from one school does not mean you can’t appreciate different elements in another. DS1 is at one Ivy that was his first choice, but he liked many things about some other schools that were quite different in size, setting, and curriculum (Ivy and non-Ivy). I think he’s at exactly the right place, but I think he could have been happy at 3 or 4 other places, too.

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I am a tad late to this particular party, but I figured I could try to help a little.

I know you mentioned that there are things about each school that attract you to them, but with a little digging we can help you figure out which are the best, oh, ten schools according to what you want out of your college experience.

So, what would you prefer in terms of:

  • Location/Environment: Geographic location, weather, urban/rural/suburban setting, size of campus, housing/food, etc.
  • Academics: Major, style of curriculum (core, open, or traditional with gen-ed requirements), class sizes, academic calendar (semesters, trimesters, quarters), etc.
  • Sports vibe: do you need a big rah-rah sports scene?
  • Social vibe: Do Greek life and a big party scene entice or horrify you?

Opinions on these topics can help us to help you whittle down your list to the schools that best fit your preferences.

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That’s true but it generally doesn’t run the gamut from small, rural, LAC located an hour or more from the nearest airport (Colby) all the way to a very large university in the middle of a major metropolitan city (Gtown). The number of enrolled students at Cornell is almost three times the entire population in Hanover, NH. Finding appealing characteristics is one thing but it is important to really understand that a “list of good colleges” is not the same thing as a “good list of colleges”.

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If you can devote time with your multiple founding, executive, president, etc positions for extracurriculars - I highly recommend taking that time and spending it on test prep. Not only is it required in a few schools now, but it’s a good way to demonstrate your capability beyond ECs and positions and whatnot.