Reverse Chance Me, New Immigrant to US

Dear College Confidential Community,

I hope this post finds you well. I am currently in the process of immigrating to the US, and would love any helpful advice when it comes to transferring internationally. I currently am a Finance major at the American University of Beirut, with a 3.92 GPA, and looking to major in either Econ/Finance (prefer schools for a UG-business school). I have already taken 60 credits, but do not mind repeating some of them. One question I have right off the bat is if its possible to switch to a CC for one semester, take a class or two, and transfer, as I’ve heard CCs to UC/USC have a much higher acceptance rate. Nonetheless, I would appreciate any help.

Moving to the United States from Lebanon, am of Armenian decent.

  • State/Location of residency: California
  • Transferring from the American University of Beirut, one of the best schools in the MENA region.
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity: Male, Middle Eastern
  • Other special factors*: First generation college student.

Intended Major(s)
Finance or Economics.

GPA, Rank, and Test Scores

  • HS GPA: 78/100
  • College GPA: 3.92/4
  • Class Rank: N/A, but I believe I am top 5 in my major.
  • ACT/SAT Scores: 1420 SAT, 660 RW, 760 Math.

Introduction to Microeconomics, Introduction to Macroeconomics, Calculus 3, Corporate Finance, Valuation, Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Applied Asset Management (Master’s Level), Economics Statistics, Intermediate Microeconomics, in addition to various other courses such as Academic English, Comparative Politics, Intro to CS, Operations Management, Intro to Management and other electives.

Winner of Internal Business Case Competition, Volunteering multiple times, Part of executive cabinet of two of the largest clubs on campus. Internship at a VC firm, internship at a boutique investment bank in M&A, in addition to being a portfolio manager of the Student Investment Fund, where I manage part of the university’s endowment. Model UN in high school.

Honestly, no clue, think they’re decent. I had them read and edited by an English professor.

Cost Constraints / Budget
Due to the terrible situation in Lebanon, all our life savings have been locked, and our currency has lost 95% of its value. I am looking for loans/scholarships/grants/FAFSA/aid.

Looking at the ones in state, USC and Berkeley seem like the best 2 choices, with undergrad business schools and strong alumni bases. UCLA/UCSB are the next two ones. As for out of state schools, Notre Dame - Mendoza, Cornell, UMich/UNC/UVA (not sure about the financial aid status since I’ll be a resident of California), as well as any others I should be targeting.

I think you could register at CC (orange coast college in California is a superb choice if you’re going to be in SoCal, or DeAnza in NoCal), and try to see what credits transfer. You’ll most likely lose a few so you could attend CC I suppose. I also remember reading that IGETC doesn’t transfer from foreign universities, so you might have to repeat 38 credits if you’re looking at UC schools.

Be aware that moving to CA will not give you residency status for tuition purposes. If budget is a consideration, be aware that getting aid is difficult as a transfer, even for domestic students.

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Yeah agreed. Your parents need to move with you to qualify for residency in California. If your parents do move with you it’s doable. But you need to stay there for a year. You can attend college in the meantime, but you can’t leave California. He says he’s an immigrant so i believe he is considered a domestic student.

They are moving with me. That isn’t an issue.

Wait so does this mean its better to aim for a private school such as USC for financial aid purposes? I am moving from Lebanon to CA with my family, not alone. I would still qualify as a dependent, right?

If you’re financially dependent (which is the case unless you earn your living yourself WITHOUT accepting any gifts), and you’re under the age of 24 then your parents must be residents of California for you to qualify for in state tuition.
I suggest going through the points that apply to you on this document.

Now, if you are not able to qualify for residency, then USC might be a better decision. It depends on how much financial aid you qualify for. However, I wouldn’t bet on this because transfer students usually don’t qualify for as much financial aid as freshmen do.

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Are you a U.S. citizen or green card holder?

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Your secondary school profile will have to put that 78 in context since it’s excellent in Lebanon but mediocre in the US.

Will your parents be able to afford rents in CA?
Can they afford to live near the listed CCs? If you have to commute to a UC or CSU will there be one you can get to -keeping in mind it’d probably mean driving?
Admission from CC to UCB’s business school is extremely competitive. You must keep in mind that you probably won’t (just because of the odds) so what’s your plan B?
Run the NPC on Claremonts (Pomona, CMC?) since they meet need.


What will your immigration status be? Will you be eligible for student loans, Pell grants or other federal aid? If not, you will have a hard time even affording community college.

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Not currently, but the EB3 immigration gives you a green card within 90 days of moving at most.

We will be staying over at relatives who have been living there for over 30 years, they’ll help us out. And yeah, Haas is extremely competitive, which means that I’ll aim for other schools too. As for the Claremonts, sounds interesting, I think I know someone at Pomona I’ll talk to. Do you have any advice on USC?

Sounds like you’re confirming that a CC to UC transfer is easier than just applying as an international one. Which might just be the route I’ll try to take.

Thanks a lot though!

You can’t transfer to a UC without a minimum of two full years of classes and, yes, it’s easier to transfer from a California CC since they have priority over other transfers. You’ll need to look at the general education requirements and need to complete what you’re missing, getting as many As as you can.

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Alright, so I already have 60 credits under my belt, and completed all the requirements for ECON at UCLA/UCB. Assuming some credits won’t transfer, I can enroll at a CC and take them, then transfer. As for the aid/scholarship situation, I would need to be in CA for a minimum of one year. Correct?

Do you have all the gen eds (especially Us History, the diversity component…)?
You may also take this opportunity to take more than the basic pre reqs for econ, especially if you can handle the math and they offer further courses than the ones you took.

Without this…you will be applying as an international student, and will get no federally funded need based aid.

@Gumbymom would this student be eligible for need based aid in CA right now?

As far as these “ UMich/UNC/UVA”…getting accepted will be your challenge.

How much financial aid do you need? Most of the schools you are considering are need aware for international students which you are until you have that green card in your hands. And some of these schools give no aid to international transfer students at all…which you will be until you have that green card in your hand.

You will need to be in California for one year so you’d need to be moving within 2-3weeks.
You also need to check whether registering at a CC WITHOUT the Green Card would impact your further classification - I think you cannot switch but am not sure.

Go over this carefully

Based on the information I could find about EB3 visas, it states they take 12-18 months to get the visa. The student if attending a CC or any other school without the green card would be considered International. Once the green card is received and the family has lived in California for 366 days, then the residency status can be changed if they meet the criteria listed for permanent residency.

I would of course confirm with the CC and any target CA public schools.

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And right now that could be twice as long. Passports and visas and any other document that has to be processed by the federal government is taking forever because there is a huge backup.

Absolutely agree. Transfers get very limited funding. R&B fees are expensive, as are the rents and transportation to those areas.

What’s your plan B?

You’re assuming that your transfer will be immediate, automatic and that you will get into those schools. You’re also assuming that most of your credits will transfer. You may have to retake any number of classes. It’s not a walk in the park. It’s not easy. It is easier than coming from another UC or CSU or private California university, but not by much.

Please read through the threads for UCLA and UCB and students on the waitlists. Then you’ll get the gist of how difficult and competitive these schools are.

Based on your visa, you may not qualify for any funding from either Federal or State resources. Green cards are really behind.