Which US city's the best for a foreign undergrad?Do I have a chance?

<p>Hi!</p>

<p>I am planning to attend college in the USA; an mechanical/computer science engineering undergrad course. I'd like some advice on the following:</p>

<p>1.Which cities are the most undergrad friendly? i.e. with a good balance between low cost, high education standard/good colleges, friendly people, etc.</p>

<p>2.Which colleges are known for giving foreign-students perks/scholarships more often?</p>

<p>3.Any other random stuff I would need to know before I decide.</p>

<p>Also, this is sort of a hybrid question, since I would also like to know what my chances are of getting into Princeton or UT,Arlington ( I know the latter is more of a safe college in comparison ).
Also, are there any other colleges, I should be considering? I've heard that if you attend a college whose averages are below your stats, then there are better options for financial aid and acceptance. I'm not bent on Ivy league colleges - so if there are any other good colleges you know that fit my criteria or are known for my courses, please help.</p>

<p>About Me: </p>

<p>I'm from India and am presently finishing my junior year. I will be writing the SAT on May 5, 2012. Presently I have a ~3.8/4 GPA.</p>

<p>ECs and Stuff:</p>

<p>I play basketball and handball, for the college team, though, nothing state-level yet. I have been going to karate since 2nd Grade in the USA, and I continued that over here. So now I'm a Black Belt in Okinawa Karate.
I've won tons of school and inter-school Debate, Topical Speaking and Essay Writing competitions. I qualified for the international round of the MARRS spelling bee twice. I was the president of my 'House' at School.
I actively participate on forums like techsupportguy.com and love helping people out - I'm the guy whose number everyone in the class has, for help in studies and tech/computer issues. :)</p>

<p>Another thing:</p>

<p>I lived in San Jose, California for 7 years, and attended Castlemont Elementary and Rolling Hills Middle, till 6th grade, before moving to India. I was part of the student council and Peace-keepers, then. I was also in GATE. Does this help my admission chances in any way?
What if I attend a college in California? - Though I haven't considered this due to the higher living costs in Cali.</p>

<p>
[quote]
Which colleges are known for giving foreign-students perks/scholarships more often?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>[url=<a href="http://www.desperateguide.com/us/top-6-need-blind-colleges-in-us-for-international-students%5DTop"&gt;http://www.desperateguide.com/us/top-6-need-blind-colleges-in-us-for-international-students]Top&lt;/a> 6 Need-blind Colleges in US for International Students - Desperate Guide: Undergraduate College Financial Aid, Scholarship<a href="these%206%20are%20all%20super%20selective">/url</a></p>

<p>[url=<a href="http://www.desperateguide.com/us/top-25-financial-aid-colleges-in-us-for-international-students-need-aware%5DTop"&gt;http://www.desperateguide.com/us/top-25-financial-aid-colleges-in-us-for-international-students-need-aware]Top&lt;/a> 25 Financial Aid Colleges in US for International Students (Need-aware) - Desperate Guide: Undergraduate College Financial Aid, Scholarship<a href="many%20of%20these%20are%20small%20liberal%20arts%20colleges%20you%20might%20not%20have%20heard%20of;%20this%20actually%20can%20be%20an%20advantage%20in%20your%20competition%20for%20admission%20and%20aid;%20on%20the%20other%20hand,%20many%20of%20them%20don't%20have%20engineering%20programs">/url</a></p>

<p>Recommended: UPenn (big school) or the Claremont colleges (small schools, LA area). The Claremont Colleges comprise a 5-school consortium that allows you to enroll in many courses at the other member schools. Pomona is one of them, and it's on the second list above. Harvey Mudd (sort of a mini MIT) is another. It's not on the list above, but apparently does offer good aid to the international students it admits. All these schools (UPenn, Pomona, Harvey Mudd) are very selective (not all that much less so than Princeton) so you'll need "match" schools too.</p>

<p>Hi!</p>

<p>If these colleges(2nd list) do have engineering courses, do they have a value, i.e in comparison to better known colleges?</p>

<p>Also, in the 1st list, out of the 6 colleges is applying to Dartmouth worth it, in comparison to Princeton? Also, do you know of any good Match and Safe schools? Would Princeton be a reach for me or even harder?</p>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>The colleges on the second list are all respected.</p>

<p>Princeton is a reach for EVERYONE. </p>

<p>Dartmouth is highly respected and yes, it's "worth it" to apply</p>

<p>It's hard to say what is a match or a safety for you without your SATs, which are critical. (Also, many of these schools will require SAT II scores as well.) You might want to take some practice tests online and compare the results with those of accepted students'. The range of scores for each school can be found on their websites.</p>

<p>Since you are familiar with CA and want a good engineering school, consider Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Even if you pay full tuition for international students it is a bargain. Additionally, it is one of the best engineering programs in the United States. My kid loves it and your stats are appropriate for the school although the average GPA is slightly higher than yours. If you do well on the ACT or SAT (ACT is preferred) you gotta a very good chance.</p>

<p>San Luis Obispo is a great little town -- one of the best. There are not a whole lot of international students there so conversely this is very good for you as competition is less. Oh yeah, Cal Poly has the highest starting salaries for engineers of all California public schools including UCLA, and UC Berkeley. It also beats most of the privates too.</p>

<p>Check out these links and get excited:
Cal</a> Poly: National Honors, Ranking and Recognition - A Constantly Growing List
Prospective</a> Students - Admissions - Cal Poly</p>

<p>Hi!</p>

<p>OsakaDad - Thanks! I'd never heard of Cal Poly; Now, I'm happy that I do. That's an awesome college! I read the Wiki, and they rank #1 in Computer Science and Mechanical - exactly what I need. The Out-of-State cost according to their website is ~25k$ - that is a good bargain! Princeton is ~50k+.</p>

<p>katliamom - I've only taken 1 practice SAT, by the Princeton Review, and I got 2250-ish. I'm kind of busy with my Final examinations coming up, so I haven't studied for the SAT so much, yet. I'll probably study in the months of March-April, since I'll be taking it on May 5.</p>

<p>What else should I, a foreign student know - stuff I should do pre and post admission, aid other than through FAFSA and college, etc...</p>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>Cal Poly does not award aid to international students.
The average aid package to internationals at Harvey Mudd is about $37K; it's similar at Pomona. It is higher at some other small private LACs (and at Princeton). So, your net costs at Cal Poly may or may not turn out to be lower.</p>

<p>Cal Poly is an excellent school and we love it! My kid declined several top schools for this unique hands on / learn by doing program. Here is another cool link:</p>

<p>The</a> SLO Experiment - YouTube</p>

<p>Hi!</p>

<p>tk21769 -
[quote]
Cal Poly does not award aid to international students.
The average aid package to internationals at Harvey Mudd is about $37K; it's similar at Pomona. It is higher at some other small private LACs (and at Princeton). So, your net costs at Cal Poly may or may not turn out to be lower.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>But, even then, I would only pay the OOS fees, right?</p>

<p>OsakaDad - Yeah, neat video! :) Thanks for the tip on CalPoly,SLO; I'm most probably going to apply there. But, what is the living cost there? You said your kid's attending; so, is he/she living on/off-campus, doing any jobs/part-time employment, and stuff? How much would you - college fees+living cost+extras ( basically, everything you're paying to have your kid go to college there) would come out to per year?</p>

<p>Thanks!</p>

<p>
[quote]
But, even then, I would only pay the OOS fees, right?

[/quote]
</p>

<p>No, you are misreading the website. The Cost of Attendance is estimated at $24k for an instater. Out of state and internationals pay that amount PLUS, $248.00 per unit of non-resident tuition. Cal Poly is on the quarter system, which means a full load of courses is approximately 45 units per year. 45 units times $248 = $11,000. Add that to the $24k and your costs to attend exceed $35k. Add in overseas travel, visas, fess, etc., and you are likely looking at a whole lot more than that. (Of course, those last items will be incurrred at any US college that you decide to attend.)</p>

<p>The other downside to Cal Poly is the very high possibility of not graduating in four years. Cal Poly SLO has a 4 year graduation rate of only 25%. Thus, 75% of students take 5+ years to graduate. If you are wealthy, that may not be a problem....</p>

<p>I'm a big fan of Cal Poly, but its not a realistic option for an international who needs money to attend.</p>

<p>What can you pay?</p>

<p>International applicants do not file the FAFSA. You need to find out what financial aid forms the places on your list will require.</p>

<p>Cal Poly has only 0.8% internationals. This means the school of engineering for instance with 5,000 students total would admit around 10 internationals per year, with one or two from India. I wouldn't hold my breath!</p>

<p>Total cost of attendance for California residents at Cal Poly SLO is around $23,500 to which you need to add $7,500 per year for OOS tuition for a total of around $31,000.</p>

<p>The frank reality is that many colleges are looking for full pay international students to cover the budget shortfalls. Merit scholarships for internationals are few and far between and need based aid is very limited. </p>

<p>Your best strategy may be to look at state schools with reasonable OOS tuition. You may find good options in the $30K-$35K COA range such as the University of Minnesota for instance which has excellent engineering programs.</p>

<p>Listen to what many of these folks are saying as a lot of it is good advice. However, Cal Poly is still an outstanding hands on program that has a truly unique mission and value prospect. Even if total costs are $31K (that includes room & board and a bit of pocket money) for an international student, a UC will cost you $55K. To get merit money with your current stats, you will most likely need to apply to mid tier private institutions or public ones that offer international students financial incentives. I know that with the current economic environment few state schools will offer OOS and international students lots of cash as they struggle to provide for their own residents. You will just have to look very hard for money and probably compromise for a lesser known school.</p>

<p>$31K for an international student is pretty darn reasonable when you look at the alternatives. What you get at Cal Poly and why we chose it over all other offers that included incentives like merit scholarships and automatic Honors College status is:</p>

<p>(1) A hands on learn by doing teaching methodology very different from other schools. You will graduate as an experienced engineer. It is rare that Cal Poly grads need much on the job training. This is why employers love Cal Poly. Cal Poly grads are generally "work ready" at graduation.
(2) All professors -- no TA's at all.
(3) Smaller classes.
(4) Tons and tons of real lab time for almost every subject. Even my kid's English class had him out in the filed interviewing people. All led by real professors (again no TA's).
(5) Incredible club opportunities. My kid is now working on a supermileage prototype vehicle for national competition this year and he is a freshman.
(6) Engineering classes (or classes in your major) in the first week of your first quarter of your freshman year. No crazy two-year wait getting GE's out of the way. They hit you with classes in your major from the get go.
(7) Graduation in 4 years if you are exceptional - but engineering at most schools takes longer than that. Up to 6 years at a UC or another Cal State. Anyway, Cal Poly also offers a 4+1 (more like a 5+1) program where you can graduate with a Bachelor's and a Master's degree simultaneously. My kid will most likely do that.
(8) Great environment, cool college town, beautiful campus and surrounded by pristine natural beauty.
(9) Oh yeah! The school is a major agriculture institution. They have tractor pull competitions and intercollegiate championship rodeos! What other school has that? Bull and bronco riding, everything. Also they have a great sports program and tons of other things going on. By the way, I am not joking about the rodeo -- I love them and love the animals on campus. Cal Poly swept the competition.</p>

<p>I could continue, but I am getting tired. Look at the school anyway. You owe it to yourself to have one of the most unique and wonderful academic experiences available. Is it perfect? Absolutely not -- you can be miserable in Heaven if you choose to. But, I've rarely met folks that were disappointed in SLO. I've met kids who failed out before and even they like the school. They just couldn't cut it. One persistent comment that we hear is that Cal Poly lacks diversity. I disagree and that is coming from a us -- a mixed race, multilingual family with dual national status. Our kid is very comfortable at SLO and his room mates are of many ethnic backgrounds.</p>

<p>Hi!</p>

<p>bluebayou - Ohhh. OK. Yeah, I did misread that. :( thanks for pointing that out.
BTW why is graduating in 4 years so hard?</p>

<p>happymomof1 - I think the max I can pay is 20,000$. Do you know any private colleges that fit my price range?</p>

<p>cellard - Thanks. I'll look into that. I think I know someone who goes to UoM. Can you recommend any private colleges in the sub-20k$ range?</p>

<p>osakadad - Reading your views, you've practically sold it to me. However, since there's no financial aid and the fees are out of my range, I'll have to see.</p>

<p>Thanks for replying everyone! :)</p>

<p>The problem with Cal Poly is that it takes hardly any internationals. </p>

<p>I think you will have a VERY hard time finding a college in the US , private or public, that will cost you less than $30k, all included, without substantial financial aid. And that is on the LOW side!</p>

<p>Financial aid for internationals is extremely limited and virtually non-existent at public colleges and universities. Private colleges may offer merit or need-based aid, but those that are generous are typically very selective. </p>

<p>You may also want to look into some of the Canadian universities such as McGill or U. Toronto, which are really excellent, especially in engineering. McGill typically charges very little tuition and fees for Quebec residents (around $4K) but a lot more for internationals ($15K-$30K). They do have a limited number of merit scholarships for students from India that allow you to pay in-province rates as opposed to the much higher international rates. You should check into it.</p>

<p>cellardweller - Thanks for the information! Is a Canadian college worth it, like both degree-value-wise and job-wise, for the investment?</p>

<p>"I think the max I can pay is 20,000$. Do you know any private colleges that fit my price range?"</p>

<p>No. </p>

<p>Even community colleges often have a Cost of Attendance of USD 20,000 for international students. </p>

<p>Your best chance of finding something in your range is to run a search with College</a> MatchMaker - Type of School On the first page, select 4-year for Type of School. Then, click on the button for "Cost & Financial Aid", and select out-of-state tuition and fees of $10,000 or less. Next, click on the button for "Majors" and select the major(s) you are interested in. Once that is done, click on "See Results". Today, this finds 12 colleges and universities that might work for a Mechanical Engineering degree: College</a> MatchMaker: Results</p>

<p>For each one on that list, if you click on "See Profile" you will get another set of tabs. The one that you want is "Cost and Financial Aid". Click there to see what the numbers are for Out-of-state tuition and fees, Room and board,, books, etc. Add these numbers up to get a sense of whether or not any of these places will fall within your budget, then check the website to see if that college/university program is ABET accredited for the engineering major.</p>

<p>Wishing you all the best.</p>

<p>Canadian universities are less expensive for international students than their peer institutions in the US are. Canada is more generous with work permission for students, and significantly more generous than the US with work visas after graduation. So yes, you should take a long hard look at your options there.</p>

<p>I do not know enough about Australian universities to say whether they are more expensive than Canadian ones, but Australia is, if anything, even more immigrant-friendly than Canada. If your goal is to get out of India for a long time, take a look at the Australian universities as well.</p>

<p>McGill and U. Toronto have excellent reputations in the US and internationally. As of 2011, McGill ranked 1st in Canada and 17th in the world in the QS World University Rankings second to only U. Michigan among public US universities.</p>

<p>Hi!</p>

<p>happymomof1 - Thanks; I'm looking through that right now. :) Do you know anyone personally, who attended/is attending a Canadian college? How do they describe their experience in comparison to American colleges?</p>

<p>cellardweller - Thanks :). Also, is there a general test like the SAT, that I'd have to write to apply for Canadian colleges? Or more generally, what will I have to prepare (LORs,Exams,etc..) for admission in Canada?</p>