Should my S bother applying to a top 10 school

My S is in The middle of the college application process. He selected his safe abs stretch schools, but was wondering if he should invest time applying to any of the top 10 schools.

He is applying as a business major and His CV looks like this.

International student fro Saudi Arabia.
GPA 4.0 unweighted. Ranked 1-2 in his class through high school.
English AP (5)
Unfortunately, No SAT or ACT (tests were cancelled in the country due to COVID)
UCLA college credit (post 10th grade): Molecular Biology ©, Psychology (A)
One of 40+ kids (nationally) selected to the Saudi Research Science Institute (SRSI) at KAUST university.
Selected to the Saudi gifted student fellowship program
School student council president, Captain of the soccer team.
School tutor (offers free tutoring and academic support in his school); especially during school COVID remote operation

Goes to a private school that repeatedly sends 2-3 kids to top 20 schools in the US, including the big ones.

I feel that without the SAT and AP scores (plans disrupted due to COVID), it would be unrealistic to target top 10 schools.

He does come from an underrepresented country, but very few students get picked anyway, and not everyone is applying without SAT scores. So, it may come down to essays? and his ability to present himself without some essential indicators.

Your thoughts and wisdom will be greatly appreciated.

If his school normally sends 2-3 each year to top US schools, I don’t think it is unreasonable to apply if are in the top 10-15 students.

Yes, he should apply to top 10 schools–especially if he is a full pay student as the current pandemic has adversely affected all colleges and universities financially.

T10 schools or T10 business schools? There is a difference.

A good start is below.

I agree it makes sense to apply, but take a close look at which schools offer business majors in the top group, as many don’t. Further, the undergrad business schools like Cornell’s Dyson and Penn’s Wharton are typically more selective than the overall acceptance rate.

All of these schools have an economics major though, if that would be an acceptable major for him.

Ultimately, he is interested in business law. He thought that doing business first is the right way to go. Economics is also an option, but riskier, unless he is fully committed to pursuing a law degree.

no, top 10 schools not business schools. As an international student with plans to go back home after getting his degree, he will get more mileage from brand name schools, even though others may offer equal or better programs.

I would speak with his school’s counselor and see if he is within the range of past accepted students. A good way to set expectations one way or the other for when he applies.

Since you didn’t mention financial need, being a full pay international applicant could also help for qualified international applicants.

I did, but I thought he was not critical enough. My S is ranked in the top three kids in his class.

My concern is that, his plans over the past 6 months have been significantly disrupted. No SAT or subject testing has been possible, to date, and the prestigious college research program he qualified for during the summer got cancelled due to COvID.

He sounds like a competitive applicant. It is worth taking a shot at a couple of them. The Saudi government offers a good scholarship to certain schools too, no?

He has a lot of company with kids this year without testing. He certainly should give the top schools a try if he’s interested in any of them.

I agree with others that your son is a competitive applicant and that it is worth an application to top 10 schools. Quite clearly you know that these are reaches. However, IMHO they are reasonable reaches.

The lack of SAT scores should not be a problem. Top schools know that many very strong students have been unable to take the SAT this year because of the pandemic. They do not want to limit their choices in finding top students (including full pay international students) because of a pandemic that is completely outside of the student’s control.

If he’s interested in them, I would go ahead and apply.

Not having a standardized test score shouldn’t be a reason to not apply - schools understand the unique situation this year and most, if not all, are test optional.

I think he should. He is a strong applicant from a known school. What is the downside? Why not apply?

It seems worth applying to a couple of top 10 caliber schools. First, your S appears to be a competitive candidate and secondly this way he will never have to wonder “what if.”

That said, your S should develop an application list that includes not just reach but also match and safety schools that appear affordable and that he would be excited to attend.