Please help me make a Safety college list!

I’m a rising senior from India, and I already have a few reaches/targets in mind, so I’m looking for safety schools. My school counselor is not well aware of the US College system so I’m posting this here.

Basic stats -

  • predicted A*AAA for finals (had low grades in freshman year which improved in soph)
  • going test-optional
  • part of volunteer orgs with leadership roles, did a summer school program w/ aid, MH Activist, the usuals
  • NEED FIN AID (fam income is <30k USD per year)
  • Psych major w/ Business/Econ minor

What I’m looking for -

  • urban setting
  • school size doesn’t matter
  • study abroad programs available

Please help me find safety schools with >70% acceptance rate!

You need to translate your grades to the 4.0 American system (there are online tools for each of the different international grading systems). Because you are looking for scholarships, no college will likely have a realistic >70% admission rate for you. Most colleges with those acceptance rates will have a lower percent of admitted students who receive aid.

So calculate your USA GPA, and then we can provide better help.

Also - tests scores? while many colleges ate test optional, many merit-based scholarships are not, and some colleges may only be test optional for USA citizens and residents.


Because you need financial aid, there aren’t any US colleges that can be considered a safety (which by definition must be affordable). Do you have a safety in India? Or perhaps the EU/UK?


Acc to The Student Room, A* and A are equal to A in USA, so an A*AAA is 4.0 on a 4.0 scale.

All the tests got cancelled in India due to the first and second waves, so I’m going test optional.

Yes, I have safeties in India! I’ll also apply to EU/UK and my grades are higher than the entry req in the unis.
However, I want to minor or double major in another subject, and opportunities like that aren’t really available in India and in most UK unis, so I’m applying to USA as well.

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A safety is a school where
-you would be easily admitted,
-that you would attend,
-and would be affordable.

The US would not have any safety schools for you.

Most of the schools would be charging you, minimum, what your family makes in a year. There are only a handful of schools that would consider funding you as an applicant, but the competition from your countrymen is fierce. You would have to be one of the best students in your country to even have a chance at a funded education.

Most of the US schools are need aware. This means that if you need funding, it will impact whether or not you are admitted.
You could apply, but your safeties would be in your country and that would probably be be your best bet.

The schools in the US are very different in everything:
-location (rural farmland, urban cities, suburban communities)
-size ( small-less than 1000 students, medium sized-with 5k to 10k students, large over 20k students)
-weather (4-season, hot and dry, rainy/cloudy, humid/wet)
-activities (large sports, Greek system, known party schools/college towns)
-public versus private (Some privates have religious affiliations. Many of the public universities are funded by their states and do not provide any financial aid to non-residents.)

Google is your friend.

Schools with >70% acceptance rates might not provide you with sufficient financial aid to attend. With a $30,000 a year or less income, really you need a full ride. Those are not very plentiful at all for all applicants.

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@thumper1 @aunt_bea My parents can afford to pay around $20-$25k per year for 4 years bc of college savings. Keeping that in mind, could you suggest some target unis I can look into? There’s not much info about this on Google.

This is what I put into Google:
“US universities that are less than $25K per year for international students”

This is what I got:

You need to do the legwork.
Most of these don’t include Room and Board. Many of these are public schools whose rates are for in-state applicants only.
Many are in locations that are extremely rural, and can be hard to get to and definitely not urban. If they are urban, the weather may be extreme. Location and weather do impact your studies.

Plus, what do you hope to do in the future with that major?

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Thank you, I just finished making a draft list of potential targets/safeties, so that was rly helpful!

I’m not sure about what I wanna do yet. I can either do HRM/I-O Psych or Marketing.

As long as you can be employed in your country for that discipline, you should be in good shape.
Remember, the US universities will educate you. After graduation, you are expected to return to your home country. Employment, in the US, should not be expected.

Add to your list
Suny Albany (Honors program)
Suny Buffalo (Honord college)
U Southern Maine
Hamline university
DePaul university
SIU Edwardsville
Unm (honors college)
UMass Lowell (Honors program)
Truman State
University of Minnesota Morris

Apply to all of them since getting sufficient merit is going to be a challenge.

Thank you!!