Please help me find true matches


I’m a rising senior intending to major in biology/nursing (could change in the future). I will apply as an international student needing financial aid (budget 15-20k)

Stats: 3.83 UW, 33 ACT superscored, AP Biology (4), Lang (5), Cal AB (5)
Decent ECs with 200+ volunteer hours, two jobs, and some leadership.

I will apply to both research universities and LACs. Here’s my list so far:
Reaches: JHU, Tufts, Georgetown, Swarthmore
Matches: Northeastern, Emory, Wellesley
Safeties: UMD (state flagship)

Preferences: I want a small to medium school in a suburban area near a big city, preferably in the Northeast but does not have a harsh winter. I’m not into schools with a heavy Greek culture. An intellectual, quirky vibe (like Swarth or Tufts) would be a plus.

I’m on the lookout for true matches and safeties, but any recommendation regarding my list will be appreciated!

University of Rochester would be a match except for the harsh winters thing. Though it’s probably not THAT much worse than the MA schools


You are an international student needing aid? I don’t believe UMD provides aid for international students but I may be mistaken. Also, UMD is a big school. Hopefully someone else will chime in. It’s hard to ID safety schools for international students requiring aid.

I will apply as an international but I’m currently in the US on visa. That’s why I qualify for in-state tuition. Would I be evaluated differently from other international students if I am living in the US?

Not being negative. But with your thread title. The currrnt matches are reaches for most and your stats are excellent but would not be what I would call true match level.

Agree with above post by @privatebanker and most schools aren’t going to superscore your ACT.

Also, state universities aren’t in the business of providing financial aid to international students. If you are a permanent resident, then you probably would qualify.

If you’re looking at Swat, why not Bryn Mawr and Haverford?

Wellesley seems more like a reach than a match.

Goucher might work as a safety.

I will make sure to look into Bryn Mawr and Haverford. What would be a less selective version of Northeastern or Emory?

The only US schools that are need-blind for internationals are HYPM+Amherst. (And as a result, they attract huge numbers of international applicants and are ridiculously competitive for the relatively small percentage of spots they allocate for non-US students.)

The reach schools you mention are need-blind only for US applicants, so your need for aid will disadvantage you. This combined with stats that are good but not way-above-median for these schools makes them a long shot.

Northeastern does not give need-based aid to international students at all. (Quote from NU website: “Northeastern provides need-based financial aid to U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents, and eligible non-citizens as determined by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. International students are not eligible for need-based financial aid, and therefore, must submit the Declaration and Certification of Finances (DCF) and supporting documents which indicate whether their family or sponsor will have sufficient funds to cover the full cost of attendance.” There is merit aid at Northeastern, but the maximum merit award available to international students is $25K per year, so the best-case cost of Northeastern is more than $45K/year. There are less-selective alternatives, but none of them will offer need-based aid either. Simmons seems as if it should be a less-selective alternative in Boston with merit potential, but even there, the maximum merit for internationals is $21K which is nowhere near enough.

If you do indeed qualify for in-state tuition in Maryland, then you should probably target the honors program at UMD and also look at a wider range of in-state options, including St. Mary’s College, the public honors LAC, and perhaps the nursing program at Towson U. Direct-entry BSN programs are almost always significantly more selective than the baseline at that university overall. (And UMD’s nursing program is at UMB, not College Park.) Your budget is still about $10K less per year than the full in-state COA for these public U’s, so it’s important to determine whether you’d be eligible for need-based aid at the state and/or institutional level to bridge that gap (as you won’t qualify for federal aid), or whether you need to focus on obtaining merit aid. If it’s the latter, you might have better luck getting as big a scholarship as you need at St. Mary’s or Towson than at UMD - but of course apply to all and evaluate when you learn the real bottom line.

You can also seek merit aid at out-of state public and private schools. Alabama is often cited as the benchmark for “big merit” - you would be eligible for the Honors College there and for the Presidential Scholarship, which would put your out-of-pocket at around $24K/year. Other excellent public U’s with generous merit include Miami of OH, U of Cincinnati (which is a co-op school that counts as a less-selective alternative to Northeastern), Michigan State and many more in the midwest and southwest. (But if you eliminate those that don’t raise the bar compared to your in-state options, the list will get much much shorter.) In terms of private schools, women’s colleges can be good places to find generous merit offers. Look into Mount Holyoke, and check out Agnes Scott in Atlanta , which has cross-registration with Emory as well as a Public Health major in cooperation with Emory’s grad school of public health, and a dual-degree nursing program with Emory as well.

Sorry not to be more encouraging, but forewarned is forearmed. It’s fortunate that you qualify for in-state rates; that ensures that you will have good options.

I think you should look at Mt Holyoke. Academics historically at the Wellesley and Smith level. All women but part of the five college exchange with smith Amherst university of Massachusetts and hampshire. They have theee levels of scholarships. First level is full tuition of 47k per year. Next is 25 k and the chin award is given to those few with exceptional community service.

It’s a beautiful school and a great group of students.

And guess what - 13 percent of these merit scholarships went to international students.

Might be worth a look. Who knows. And I think you would be a very likely admit. The scholarships are competitive so I have no way to handicap that for you.