international student chances

Hi everyone!

I grew up in the states and have moved around a lot in the last 17 years. I am currently in London, England and want to go back home for university. I have traveled extensively and hope that it will help my application. I have applied ED to northwestern and should be hearing back soon, but want advice on regular decision application.


SAT- 2060 total (700 maths 690 writing 670 reading) - only took once
SAT2- 670 maths2 and 700 biology e - could resit and be more prepared
GPA- school doesn’t use
Rank-school doesn’t use
AP- none available
IB- HL Maths (6) Econ (7) Psych (6) SL Eng (6) Chinese (6) Bio (7) core points (2) total prediction (40)


Field Hockey Varsity for 5 years
School Varsity ski team 3 years
Ski racing club 3 years
Junior Rotc 4 years
Dofe 4 years
Assistant hockey coach 1 year
work experience in London and Dubai with well known firms; each for a two week period
Volunteering- community service in Costa Rica and in school program over the summer
french exchange 1 week
Many other EC but this is whats on my common application.
Essays- Common application essay focuses on my travels and what I learned- probably an 8.5/10 school essays-still working on the first drafts
References- expect them to be really good
Interviews-had two already with NU and Georgetown, both went well. I am good in person.

Country: UK
School type: small, very competitive, exceptionally ranked
Ethnicity: White
Gender: Male
Income: enough not to apply for scholarship

My schools are:

Boston College
Notre Dame
University of Michigan

What are my chances with these schools, and what are some similar schools that I could apply to?


Most of these schools are reaches (some - UPenn, Dartmouth, UMich, Cornell - are high reaches) due to test scores. I don’t know enough about Colgate, but every other school on your list save Notre Dame and Boston College seems like at least a low reach (those two, I’d call high matches).

You need fewer reaches, more matches, and a couple of safeties.

The only schools you have a reasonable chance as an international are Colgate and BC. Reasonable means about a 25% probability of acceptance. Since Colgate does not get many international applicants, that may be the one that looks best. Your overall strategy should have been along those lines.

@NotVerySmart Notre Dame AVG SAT is about 2200 not adjusted for athletes.

@TurnerT While I place more stock in midranges (1400-1530) than in averages, fair enough.

Low reach.

@NotVerySmart ND, AVG ACT is a 33, 75% of students in the top 5% of their class. I’m thinking the average ACT score and middle 50% of 32 - 34 would place it in the top ten nationally.

It would be harder to get in ND than Tufts, Cornell, Michigan and Georgetown. About the same as Penn and Dartmouth.

This student with a 2060 has zero realistic chance without being legacy, a superstar parishioner or an athlete.

The thing with ND is that they look for a fairly specific profile, so it’s tough to rule a student out immediately. OP’s CR+M score (the only one ND considers, apparently, because they report midranges out of 1600) is 30 points below the 25th percentile. It’s not a great score, but it’s not going to send his application to the trash.

Being a US national living abroad could be a plus, as it brings one kind of diversity to the class of 2020, while the IB is considered a very rigorous curriculum, especially with HL math. At my school, the experience has been that 40+ points without the 0-3 core points is enough to be academically qualified for any school on the planet. So I’m inclined to be bullish on OP’s chances, rather than going just by stats.

With regards to the schools you’re ranking below ND: I’d be wary of going by stats alone in some cases. UMich’s average includes a lot of Michigan kids who need to meet lower standards, while Cornell tends to get a lot of kids with hooks who lower their stats - with all due respect to Notre Dame, I don’t think Malia Obama or Malala is likely to apply there…

I think, among the reaches, ND is close enough to Tufts and Georgetown that they can all be called low reaches for OP.

The schools I listed were in no particular order, just what came to my head first. I only want to apply to top notch schools in the US because I am also applying to schools here in the UK as backups.

Its interesting to hear your views on notre dame. The head of international admissions recently visited my school and I got the sense that it was a reach school but not completely out.

I am also curious of my chances with John Hopkins, Northeastern, UNC chapel hill, middlebury, Emory, and UVA?? I still have a few weeks left to complete essays.

Considering the amount of schools I will apply to (probably between 10-15), even with the low probabilities of acceptance, do I have a chance of being accepted to atleast one? They are all amazing schools and would be more than happy to attend any of them.

bump @NotVerySmart @TurnerT

ND is very numbers driven. I would apply because if you got in thats where I would go in a heartbeat. Perhaps an international applicant would get a better look, I don’t know. I have seen kids from elite Catholic prep schools not get in with better scores.

A recruiter is motivated to get applications submitted, so understand that.

NDs acceptance rate of about 20% is highly misleading for several reasons including very very high legacy admissions, the fact it is a Catholic school and has a self selecting pool and the athletic programs.

I really hope you get in, but like some others it is very hard. It would be a school you could safely never visit in making your decision because the campus is so impressive.

Also, residence is very much like the British House system, you might not be aware of that.

JHU/UVA/UNC-CH are similar to Georgetown or Cornell in their selectivity (UVA and UNC-CH have lower stats, but that’s due to in-state students). Accepted students to Northeastern, at least from my school, have had stats well below yours: with an average of 33 IB points without core and 1750 on the SAT, 35 of 40 applicants have been accepted. I think you’ll likely get in.

Don’t know enough about the other two schools to comment.

I heard an interesting story from my friend about ND. It seemed that the school wouldn’t allow her to go early due to her parents’ income not reaching the school’s requirement for the income per being at least more than 30% of the school’s tuition when applied for no financial aid. Would you guys think that ND bases tuition heavily during the application process for international school students?

@POSH16 I don’t think they would consider income as a true factor for applying. Why didn’t that girl apply for financial aid then early??

@TurnerT I visited the campus two years ago and fell in love. Almost all of the American universities I’m applying to are so beautiful lol. I also like the way they’ve organised the housing system and how there are inter house competitions etc. Definitely one of my top schools.

@BigFooy Best of luck to you. Why not add another school a tiny bit less selective than BC. Villanova might be worth a look. It’s close to the Philadelphia airport in a very, very nice area. Awesome school.

Colgate is stunning as well.

Yes the ND residential rivalries are classic

@TurnerT does Villanova have a good reputation?

@bigfooy Yes it does. It would be a good option to have because you have a very aggressive list of schools for your stats. I’m not exaggerating about the location. It is in the same town as Bryn Mawr and Haverford and the town is extremely nice and close to the airport. It has tremendous school spirit, exceptional facilities and a top ten basketball team

@BigFooy Nova’s AVG SAT is about 2000, so you fit in pretty well.

@TurnerT @NotVerySmart i got in ed to northwestern!!!