Let a curious international student know if she's aiming high!

Asian (Indian)
International student
Private High School operating under CBSE Curriculum with a graduating class of 120 students
No legacy (Actually, I’m the first in my family to intend to travel abroad)

Intended Majors
Biological sciences, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry

My school doesn’t report GPA, but here are my final exam scores:
Grade 9: 95%
Grade 10: 98%
Grade 11: 93% (Due to Covid)
Top 5% of my graduating class
No honors classes or AP Classes are offered by my school

  • ACT/SAT Scores: Only took the SAT once
    Composite: 1500
    EBRW: 730
    Math: 770

Took online courses from Duke and Harvard
Attended classes from the nearby college on Biotechnology

International Foundation Reasoning and Aptitude Olympiad - International Rank 1
National Winner in Aarohan, conducted by BITS Pilani University
Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Writing Competition- Bronze Award
Immerse Education Essay Competition- 90% Scholarship Winner
National Level Speed Arithmetic Competition- Champion of Champion
National level Science Talent Search Examination (NSTSE) TOP 25
World Record in playing keyboard
State-Level Drawing Competition Winner

Keyboard Tutor(Volunteering) for 3 years
Discipline Captain of the School
Research member of the New York Academy of Sciences
Independent Researcher (Has a home lab)
Content Writer in School Magazine
Volleyball Captain in school

My essays were very personalized
In the Common App essay, I chose prompt 3 (Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?), where I talked about my disapproval of a certain Indian tradition
Another essay was based on my fat shaming and how I overcame it by winning 3 medals in the sports competitions
LORs by my English and Biology teacher, are pretty decent and elaborate

**Cost Constraints **
Family income is less than $30,000
Require need-based financial aid

*I’m applying to colleges in the US and the UK.


  • Amherst College
    Brown University
    Columbia University
    Cornell University
    Dartmouth College
    Duke University
    Harvard University
    Johns Hopkins University
    Michigan State University
    New York University
    Northwestern University
    Princeton University
    Purdue University
    Rice University
    Stanford University
    The University of Alabama
    University of Chicago
    University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
    University of Pennsylvania
    Yale University

Imperial College London
UCL (University College London)
The University of Edinburgh
University of Manchester

I was accepted into Purdue in Early action (with Honors College) and Waitlisted at Yale (SCEA)
In the UK, I was accepted into the University of Manchester with honors
All the other schools are Regular Decision

Is my profile strong enough for these schools?
What are my chances of acceptance into these schools?

Comments about my overall profile, please.

1 Like

Congratulations on your achievements, and acceptances.

What can your family pay per year of college? Did you apply to any schools in your home country?

Is U Manchester affordable? I assume Purdue won’t be affordable for you, as it costs in the low $40Ks?

Are you sure you were waitlisted and not deferred to RD at Yale? I didn’t know that was a possible decision coming out of SCEA? This link says the only three possibilites are acceptance, denial, or deferral to RD: Single Choice Early Action for First-Year Applicants | Yale College Undergraduate Admissions


You require full need based aid, so there are some colleges on your list that seem to be nonstarters, such as any public universities you’ve applied to. UIUC and Purdue, for example.

You might be aware that there is a very small list of colleges that guarantee to meet full financial need for international students.
U.S. institutions that are need-blind and meet full demonstrated need for both U.S. and international students

  • Amherst College.
  • Bowdoin College.
  • Dartmouth College.
  • Harvard University.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Princeton University.
  • Yale University.

There are also some colleges that typically do award big FA packages to international students: https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/the-short-list-college/articles/universities-that-offer-international-students-the-most-financial-aid

These colleges also give aid to international students, though it may not be as much as you need. United States Colleges & Universities that Give Financial Aid to International Students | Yale Young African Scholars

You’re a strong student, but as one who needs 100% of your financial need met, you realize that it’s incredibly competitive. The odds are not in your favor. Be sure you apply to a college in your own country that you can afford.


Agree with previous posters. Because you require full funding and are an over-represented international, and you selected uber-competitive schools, your chances are extremely limited. Unless you can pay full price, it’s going to be difficult.

What do you hope to do with this major? Most colleges have these majors.


I agree with the previous posters. Publics will be difficult, especially when it comes to meeting need for an international student. The privates that meet need (regardless of if need aware or not) are difficult admits for anyone.

On a positive note, I believe OP will qualify for auto merit at Alabama (did you notice that hiding in the long list?). The question is will that be enough to make it affordable.

Best of luck to you! Do you currently have an affordable acceptance? I know that would relieve a lot of anxiety. :smiley:

Yes, I was deferred. Sorry for the mistake.

Other than financial circumstances, what are the other drawbacks in my profile?

1 Like

You are a strong applicant, and as you are a senior, the profile you applied with is set.

The financial constraints are not insignificant, and I do hope a meet-full-need school comes through for you (and calculates need so that the school is affordable for your parents)…but all of those schools are reaches for all, with international acceptance rates in the low single digits.

Beyond the college costs, you will have travel costs, books, incidentals, and mandatory health insurance at any US college (although some schools will pick up that cost for very limited income students).

You haven’t answered some really important questions though…Are Manchester or Purdue affordable? Do you have any affordable college options in your home country?


@tsbna44 doesnt University of Alabama have rolling admissions. Also, what would the probable net costs be for this student if accepted there.

@IndianHSSenior_9605 when did you apply to Alabama? And could you pay the remaining costs. @tsbna44 will know if there are full rides there. I’m not sure.

I also hope an affordable option comes through for you. If not, I also hope you have an affordable option in your home country.


@tsbna44 is the Johnson scholarship at W&L available to internationals?

If so, that might be worth a shot.

As a clarifying point, it seems colleges at which the deadline for applications has passed, such as W&L, would no longer be open to the OP.

1 Like

Not to speak for @tsbna44 … but yes, it is.
As @merc81 mentioned, the deadline to apply for the Johnson was December 1. The RD deadline has past as well.
If the OP had applied and was accepted, she almost assuredly would have a full need-based ride with <30k income. W&L is very generous with need-based aid.


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