Do I qualify for admission?

<p>Hello everyone,</p>

<p>My name is Vessy and I am an international senior student from Bulgaria. I have been considering Brandeis for some time, but I could not assess my chances of being admitted. Having in mind that first-hand information on college issues is impossible to receive here in Bulgaria, I decided to turn to you for help.
My stats:
SAT I - 1450 (750 Verbal, 700 Math)
TOEFL CBT - 290 (6.00 on the essay)
High school record - 5.92 out of 6.00</p>

<p>Some of my most meaningful ECs:
Student government - Vice president during 9th and 11th grade, and student body president during 10th grade.
Volunteer at the school's informational office - 8th grade; position held: coordinator of media resources and PR; hours spent: 30
Animator in UNESCO projects during 9th and 10th grade - animator of Media workshops.
YMCA volunteer - hours spent: 30
Internship at National DARIK Radio - 10th and 11th grade
Reporter at National DARIK Radio - 11th and 12th grade
Work experience as a reporter and interviewer in the creation of a documentary movie about the American University in Bulgaria.
Volunteer service at English Language Club - 10th and 11th grade. hours per week: 20, weeks per year: 28, total: 1120
Peer tutoring in English
School's athletics team: 12th grade</p>

<p>Academic achievements:
1st place in an English language national writing contest on women's issues. - 9th grade
1st place in an essay writing competition. - 10th grade
Essay on European Citizenship ranked among top 10, given special prize and published.</p>

<p>Vessy: You look like a prime candidate for Brandeis. Your SAT and grades look similar to those of my son, who has just started there. The only thing I don't know is whether you have taken or will take all the course that Brandeis wants to see in a high school graduate. Check their website at brandeis.edu or contact the admissions office for more information.</p>

<p>Thank you for the encouraging reply. Now, about the course issue. In my home country, Bulgaria, education does not follow the more liberal pattern it does in the us. Here, we are not supposed to choose our own courses, but are rather required to take them. On my high school transcript I have 5 years of English, 5 math, 3 second foreign language, 4 science, and 4 history, which I think will meet Brandeis's criteria.</p>

<p>One more thing, today I read that Brandeis is among the most selective school in the nation. Forgive my ignorance, but is it <em>really</em>that hard to get into it? I was not aware that Brandeis would be a reach for me...</p>

<p>Brandeis is a fairly selective school, but as far as I can tell from your statistics, it is what we call a "match" school for you. However, you'll still have to write good essays.</p>

<p>I am also applying to Macalester, Grinnell, Vanderbilt, Mount Holyoke and Bates. Do you think Brandeis will be the toughest to get into? It's so hard for me to assess my chances having in the mind the fact I live overseas..Thinking realistically, I must admit that the possibility of getting in Brandeis with full fin aid is quite slim, since the competition will be cut-throat.
About the essay - I believe it is an important factor in any college. Perhaps I will apply to Brandeis ED, it seems like a school I would love to attend.</p>

<p>Vessy: I don't have full information, but my guess is that your chances of getting into any of those are about equally good, providing you can write a good essay. ECs may have some bearing, depending on the school. Your being an international student may be an advantage at some schools; I'm not sure.</p>

<p>Unless Brandeis restricts the financial aid to international students (some schools do), you could qualify for some merit aid based on your grades and SAT scores. However, even in that case, you'll need more than a 1450 to get a lot of merit aid. I doubt you would qualify for full aid on that basis. Competition for Brandeis isn't what I would call "cutthroat" but it is a selective school, as are the others on your list. Still, you should be admitted to some or all of them, providing the essay is good.</p>

<p>In my opinion, a student should not apply ED to any school unless (a) the student is pretty certain that this is the best school for him/her and (b) finances are not a concern. Applying ED removes any chances of being able to compare financial aid packages or to negotiate a better one. Vanderbilt, I believe, might also offer merit aid but I'm not in a position to have any information on that. However, this past year a student posting as evilrobot was given a full scholarship at Vanderbilt, and went there in preference to Yale.</p>

<p>I believe that international students normally are not eligible for need-based financial aid, but I don't know about merit aid. You should check the financial aid offices of the schools you plan to apply to. You can also get advice from other parents by posting this sort of question on the College Search and Selection board.</p>

<p>If full or nearly-full financial aid is important, then you need to apply to a different selection of colleges. Again, you should post on other boards here for recommendations; some of us parents are very good at that. Include your academic objectives.</p>

<p>Vessy,</p>

<p>The Brandeis University has an impressive list of merit scholarship, but unfortunately they are available only to local students - citizens and permenant residents. The internationals have to compete for the more limited Wien scholarships.</p>

<p>Kayoshin,
I am aware of the keen competition for that scholarship and I try to assess my chances realistically. I realize that there are lots of qualified applicants with stellar scores and fantastic resumes, but I will nevertheless at least do my best to gain admission. Unfortunately, I cannot retake SAT I and raise my score.</p>

<p>To dadofsam:</p>

<p>Thank you for the comprehensive and informative reply. I will soon post a message in the other forum and seek help from other people like you. Right now, however, I am too tired ( I just come home after a 3 hour trip and an exam). By the way, I really admire parents like you who are seriously concerned about their children's education, and about education in general. It is wonderful that children have your support and cooperation in the so stressful and arduous process of college preparation.</p>