International Student Aiming for Ivies (Yale, Harvard, etc.)


  • International Student
  • Attending a private school in Japan
  • Female / East Asian
  • Have an older brother currently at Harvard

Intended Major: Biomedical Engineering or International Relations or PPE

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • Unweighted GPA: 3.99
  • School doesn’t do weighted GPA or ranks
  • SAT: 800M / 770R&W

*12 AP Exams by the end of senior year
*Currently have 7 5’s and 2 4’s
*Taking Multivariable Calculus next year
*One dual enrollment course next year


  • AP Scholar with Distinction
  • AP International Diploma


  • Editor of school publication
  • Leader of school animal rights club
  • Founder and President of first consulting club at my school
  • Wrote and published with a recognized publisher a 250 page book
  • Wrote a review paper about cancer
  • Wrote two social science research papers (part of a group, I was the leader for one)
  • Internship at a biomedical engineering company that develops cancer medication
  • Part of school biomedical engineering team/club (competitive application to get into the team)
  • Part of school National Honor Society
  • School Safeguarding Committee
  • 1 varsity sport for 3 years

*Teacher Rec 1: pretty strong– one teacher has known me for all 4 years of high school– taught me for 2 years and coached me for 4, helped me with individual research project about cancer
*Teacher Rec 2: not as strong but pretty good– I showed a lot of academic growth in his class and we became closer after having a heated debate about gender equality

Cost Constraints / Budget
*No cost constraints

*REA: Yale
*RD: Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, UPenn, Stanford, Georgetown, Claremont McKenna, Johns Hopkins, Northwestern, Northeastern, NYU

  • Safety: UToronto
  • Likely: Northeastern
  • Match: Georgetown, NYU
  • Reach: Everything Else

You should have a good frame of reference based on your brother. Did he attend the same school as you? What is the placement record of your school with the reachie schools?

Of course you have a shot at all of your reaches. Being international makes it harder.

Have you considered any of the top East Coast LACs? An international POC maybe demographically at less of a disadvantage for them.

It is impossible to chance for the elite colleges many of which have admission rates under 5% (lower for international students). You will be competitive but there are more worthy applicants than there are spots available. Good luck.

FWIW I would reclassify Georgetown to a reach and and Northeastern to a match and I might add one or two less competitive colleges to your application list. Work closely with your counselors at your HS.

Congrats on your accomplishments.

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If you go to a private school that routinely sends students to American colleges your counselor at school would be a better judge of this than random strangers on this forum. We don’t know your high school and how well students from there do in getting acceptances.


Based on your stats you’re likely to be waitlisted by Northeastern.

You should add a few more safeties and likelies. The admissions landscape has changed a lot in the past couple of years.

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Why would Claremont be a reach while Georgetown is a match? Both NYU and Claremont are easier to get into. I would flip them and view Georgetown as a reach (though not Ivy level reach) and Claremont and NYU as matches.

What was your book about?

What was your review paper on cancer about?

I cannot really assess these without more info.

In general, make sure you have a balanced list and choose carefully.

Generally there is some skepticism when someone is “aiming for Ivies” because they are all different. I also would echo the idea of looking into some LAC’s as well.

Northeastern would be a match but it is not a “likely”.