My odds of getting in

so basically i want to get some opinions on my odds of getting into a good college.

i graduated high school in spring of 2018. i was homeschooled under a private school, but almost all of my courses were dual enrollment or AP. i had over 500 hours of community service, won state speaking competitions, played competitive sports, started my own business, interned etc. i had a 3.9 gpa & 1250 on the SAT which i know is on the lower end. i also come from rural tennessee where education is poor and opportunities are scarce.

i was admitted to american university in the fall of 2018, finished my freshman year in spring of 2019. in the fall of 18 my dad had gotten sick, lost his business, and couldn’t pay for my tuition. i was left 65k in debt. i couldn’t get my transcripts or enroll in class but i stayed in dc, worked 3 jobs, interned, was sending money home, and was basically homeless for a month (i couch surfed or slept in my car). i’m pretty sure i left with a 3.5 gpa which is lower than i would’ve liked, but as a first gen student of two caribbean immigrants, it was difficult to juggle a job, internship w a senator, dealing with sexual assault, my fathers health, and have a full course load.

my parents and i worked so hard over the last year and i can finally get my transcripts. i’ll most likely be applying for next fall now. i really want to go to another reputable university. it’s honestly the only option for me. they don’t have to be ivy league, but that’d be amazing obviously. i honestly feel like some colleges will factor in my circumstances when assessing how i look on paper (i hope).

i’d like some opinions on what you think my odds of getting into a top 50 school for political science or international relations is. thank you for reading!

Transfer students typically get much less financial aid. What is your budget? I would build your list around affordability.

I agree with MomofSenior1. I would worry less about “top 50” and focus on colleges that will give you the best financial aid. Your background story is very compelling, but after going through that once, you must realize the value of having your education largely subsidized. Political science is not a particularly high paying field on the whole, so not having the debt you had before would start you off on much better footing.

i’m filing independently on my taxes now, and most of the schools i’m looking at are need based financial aid. my parents could afford to help me out some but definitely not 65k worth.

Very few colleges are both “need blind” for admissions purposes and will “meet full need” for financial aid. You very well might get rejected because you can’t afford to pay OR get accepted but not be able to afford to attend. We suggest using each college’s net price calculator to avoid the latter scenario. Either would be a shame because you do seem to have grit. Hopefully you are too smart to let too much debt keep you out of a career you’d enjoy.

Filing taxes independently for taxes does not necessarily mean that colleges will see you as financially independent for tuition purposes.

I also agree completely with @Groundwork2022 that avoiding debt is hugely important for Political Science. The field is so overpopulated that there is an expectation of no/low paid internships and entry level jobs are typically very poorly paid.!

The biggest thing you can do for yourself is to find schools that your family an afford without debt and then work super-hard to get internships- any kind, anywhere. The one tiny upside for students of Covid-19 is that pretty much all internships are virtual right now, so you can apply for placements all over the world.* . Internship experience will get you into good jobs faster than having a T-50 > T-100 name on your college diploma.

If you give us an idea of your stats, budget & location we might be able to come up with some options for you.

*for example, our polisci student just got an internship “in” Egypt, with USAID, while in school in the US

Was American not understanding of your circumstances, will they not offer enough aid, or do you not want to return there for other reasons?