US College Applications

About group

We have created this group after seeing a number of questions from both US and foreign students about US college application process. Our goal is to help college bound students navigate relatively complex college admission process by directing them to the right resources and having related discussions here on RoundPier. RoundPier community is about sharing ideas and learning from one another - we hope that those who have successfully navigated this process can share their insight and help others.


Recently, I was thinking about applying to New York Abu Dhabi University. Does anyone have any information about it? Is it good in engineering majors? Their financial aid policies? Etc
3 days ago
NYUAD is relatively generous. We have seen a few students here confirming this. It is a solid college overall but in terms of engineering, there are better schools out there.
Can someone suggest colleges with good financial aid to me?
I have 1550 super scored SAT, 800 math 2, and 760 physics.
My ECs are:
I attended YYGS 2018
I am an intern at a company
I took a lot of programming courses
I was a manager at a facebook group for 2 years
I tutor students in my school math
3 days ago
Right now, I'm thinking about MIT, Yale, and Stanford as reach schools. I'm still deciding the other ones. Are these colleges good according to my stats.
3 days ago
2 days ago
Abdullah - noone can tell if these are good colleges based on your stats...these are highly selective schools which receive 10x more qualified applicants that they can accept but you should definitely apply if these are your dream schools. Make sure you have a number of other schools on the list including locally as there are no safeties for international students.
Someone told me that you don't need to take the TOEFL if you got 750 in the SAT EBRW section. Is this true? Does it harm my application if I don't take the TOEFL.
The language of instruction at my school is English btw.
4 days ago
That is true for most of the top schools. I personally didn't take TOEFL and my SAT English was about 650. No I don't think it does affect your admission decision negatively. TOEFL is only to see whether you know English or not. Once you have 750 on English, there is no need to prove that you know English :). So no need to take it.
3 days ago
Yeah, it'd be better to save the money.
College Admissions reminders:

US college admission is tricky for a lot of international students as there is a strict deadlines for every component of application, especially if you're applying early. How about if all of us write the colleges we want to apply either for early decision or regular decision? That way, I believe we could find students who want to apply the same colleges and maybe open up some exclusive groups for them here in RoundPier to exchange their insights

Could everyone in the group write down their college choices in the comments? Thanks in advance :)
1 week ago
And Tufts University
6 days ago
Interested in mechanical engineering programs. Any point applying ED for international students since financial aid is they key?
4 days ago
Right now I only thought about my reach ones which are MIT, Yale, and Stanford. I'm still deciding the other ones.

I'm about to go into senior year as an international student and I'm really worried about which universities to apply to and which ones would I be able to get into. My SAT score is 1370 and my ECs aren't great either. My GPA is a 3.85 (4.0 being the highest in my \school). I'm currently doing IB and my predicted, not final, is somewhere between 37-40. I'm taking Business management HL, Economics HL, and LangLit HL. I'm probably going to choose a Business related major. Which universities should I apply to as reach and safeties?
1 week ago
Devanshi - we had a few posts below for international students. There are no US safeties if you require any kind of financial aid; your safeties will be your local universities. If you do require financial aid we have published a list with schools that tend to provide most support. If financial aid isn't an issue here are some schools we suggest looking into to start with:

- Boston University
- U of Rochester
- Northeastern
- UC San Diego
- Purdue
- Drexel
- some LACs

This list could be expanded if we know more about you and your preferences.

RP Team

I have always had an inner drive to advocate for people, some things I've been part of

- Student Trustee one of three in my school board, we attend all board meetings and collectively are elected by students in our towns to represent 70 000 students at school board to shape policy

- Chair my school Board's Student senate - every high school in our board sends student representatives and we plan activities that they are to take back to their schools to address mental health, Equity and diversity, and to formulate a plan for student representation at the board level

- Founded a growing Girl's Empowerment club in my community reaching out to elementary aged - females empowering them with workshops and initiatives to boost confidence and instill in them the knowledge that they are leaders and visionaries

- Run summer camps at my church in the summer

- Communications Director representing all public school boards and approximately a little under a million students as part of the Ontario Student Trustees Association

- Currently in the process of being confirmed as a volunteer for the Federal Liberal Party in my country

- Play basketball and soccer (top eight provincial champs)

- Written in International Literary Blog for a few years now

- helping expand tech start - up

- Founded a Students United club at my school

- Financial Manager of my student council


Dream Schools: Yale, Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, Notre Dame

Top 1% of class,
haven't taken ACT yet

What can I do to improve myself? I currently just finished grade ten, and am going into grade eleven

1 week ago
ok Thanks a lot I appreciate it, and that's what I think too, like I really want to make sure that I don't become complacent, would you advise more national / International involvement then in terms of pushing the limits? Because like I know it's a good list, but I also know that there are kids out there who are winning international Olympiads, while curing cancer, buddying up to the president all the while still managing to get eight hours of sleep at night ;) haha you know what I mean?
1 week ago
Hey Sally - we also have started Columbia Group recently...perhaps there may be some relevant discussions on extracurriculars for you.

RP Team
1 week ago
Hey Sally,
This is great you're asking this. Yes, I def. advise trying out international competitions, if you have a chance to involve one. But don't get discouraged by those kids who do international olympiads and stuff. But in a positive way let these thoughts push you more to involve in national and int'l competitions and projects. One way you could do something important in international scale is to think of an organization (anything that crosses your mind) and post it here on RoundPier by asking help of those int'l bright kids. Why don't you have a team of students across the globe do some projects together? Could you mention that in your application? Definetely yes! You could talk a lot about not just your projects but indepently reaching out to the people whose language and culture you don't know much and trying to do something on an international level.
I hope this could motivate you to think about such projects because I believe this would be way great both for your application and your personality. :)
Let me know if you have any other questions. Btw these are really good questions and I really enjoy answering them. Keep it going! :)

Hey, I am an international student; I want to pursue my career in pharmaceutical industry in the US especially as a drug designer or researcher. I am still a senior undergraduate what should I major in in College and after a 4 years course should I enroll in a pharmacy school?
1 week ago
Hi Joseph - you should start with Bachelors degree, ideally in chemistry. For more serious research positions you may need Masters or PhD degree but there are a number of roles that you can apply to with a 4-year college degree.
Hi, can nyone plz tell which universities in USA offer msc+PhD physics after btech /be in ece
1 month ago
Hi Sarvesh - in most universities as you get your Phd you will get be getting your MS or MA degree after the first year or two. Now, depending on university some physics programs may prefer that your undergraduate degree is in physics too but it is not unusual to pursue Phd in pure physics after engineering degree.

RP Team
Hi there - what are you guys doing this summer? Any ideas for a junior?
1 month ago
Hi! I'm a junior too and wondering the same thing.... I've reached out to a few local firms for internship opportunities and other organisations for more volunteer work, but what else?
1 month ago
I think the things you could would differ depending on your specific circumstances (country, financial means etc.) In the US, summer camps in universities would be an optimal thing to spend the summer. Since most of them are already filled out for this year, I don't think you can join them now. Other than that, doing internships or volunteering in the fields that you authentically love and care would be a perfect thing to do as it'd be great to talk about them in "What did you do in summer", "Why are you thinking of doing this/that major" etc. Joining research or the projects in your school or in community colleges would also be something you could try. If you have means going abroad for volunteering would also be something to think of.

Hope this would be helpful! )
4 weeks ago
We published this article some time ago - it may be helpful. Also check Eduniverse for summer/after school programs, internships and other opportunities. And we are working on bringing more...
I am currently a college student in the Cayman Islands looking to apply to schools as an international transfer student. I have a 3.64 GPA with 2 semesters remaining. My GPA is this low because I got a C in one of my courses in my first semester. My transcript contains mostly A's and B's and I am still trying to improve my GPA with the remaining time I have. I am currently researching schools I could apply to for Fall 2019. I want a school with affordable tuition without having to sacrifice quality education. I am kind of lost as to what I should be looking for and so on. I would really appreciate any suggestions or advice anyone could offer. I would greatly appreciate it. I need all the help I can get. I want to apply as to Engineering or Architecture department, which would I have a better chance of getting into?

I attached my transcript as well, I am not really involved in my college because I’m so focused on ensuring I have sufficient grades so my social and extracurricular life struggles a bit.
1 month ago
Thank you so much. At my school they don’t offer architecture so I’m actually in the civil engineering track of my degree plan. I have been considering to continue with it and get my masters in architecture but I’m not sure which colleges I should be applying to, so I would really love to hear your ideas
1 month ago
Some of the schools you should definitely look at assuming you will require financial aid

- Case Western
- Olin College of Engineering
- Lehigh
- St Olaf College
- Vanderbilt

Note, these are relatively competitive colleges (there are more depending on the price you are prepared to pay) especially for transfer applicants - as per your comment above you are looking for quality schools and we agree that there is no point to transfer to low tier university in the US where your cost will still be very high (you are probably better off staying home or looking for alternatives elsewhere).
1 month ago
Thank you very much
Interesting article: amp.busine... ers-2018-4
What's your advice when making a college list?
3 months ago
Depends on your profile and financials. Generally, the more the better given that it is a numbers game. But realistically it is hard to apply to more than 15-20 schools with quality materials.

If you have the money and time to spend on applications you should look at as many colleges as possible. Hopefully a lot of stuff you write can be used for other schools but you do need to have a decent idea of why you want to attend a particular university. If you have some experience or interest that you think you can further develop at certain colleges focus on these and explain why would be a good candidate there. Essays are very important and seem to be a deciding factor in the last few years.

Finally, if you are an international students (especially requiring significant financial aid) check out our list of schools that can provide that. And make sure you have safeties in your own country or elsewhere.
So I keep reading that it is almost impossible for an international student to get into top US colleges? I am top of my class but don't participate in many activities outside of school as it is not very common here. I am one of the top athletes in my school too but that's about it.
4 months ago
Depending on whether you are applying for financial aid or not (and various other factors), it is definitely not impossible.

My UPenn alumni interviewer was an athlete recruit from my home country, so would suggest it is possible for internationals to be admitted into top US colleges.

Hope that helps.
1 month ago
I attend an international school in China, the class of 2018 here, about 80 people, had about 20-25 people get into T20 schools, including Yale, Harvard, Brown, UChicago, and more. I would say about 25~ more people got into T30, T40 schools, so it's absolutely possible for an international student to get into top US colleges, especially if you stand out within your class.
How many schools should I apply to? I am looking at 2-3 top schools and a few matches/safeties. I don't want to apply to 10-15 schools
4 months ago
Statistically the more the better but the quality of your applications may suffer if you do too many. You can get away with 6-7 schools assuming you have a safety you like and happy to attend. Our suggestion would be to apply to one school you really want to get into ED/EA. Then have 2 reaches, 2 mathches and 2 safeties. You can also add a few more after ED comes out. Don’t apply to schools you don’t want to go to just to increase your chances. Make sure those safeties are true safeties!
4 months ago
If you are an international student requiring financial aid no US school is a safety. Your safety would most likely be your local university. For US based students there are a number of schools that guarantee admissions based on student's SAT/ACT or GPA or where admission is almost certain based on your stats.
4 months ago
Hello guys,

So I have been freaking out lately about my universities, because I think I will not get in.
I have applied to 13 universities in the US, and I am an international student doing the IB. I have biology, chemistry and psychology HL as well as math, english lang and lit and french ab initio SL. I have kept a 4.0 unweighted gpa since the start of IB and my predicted grades are 41 out of 45. However my SATs aren't that good! I took the SATs 2 times and my super score is 1320. I had a hard time studying for the SAT as I had to juggle a lot of things while pursuing the IB, and plus I couldn't retake the test anymore because of economic issues as well.

I applied to universities such as Bucknell University, Lafayette College, Vanderbilt University, Smith College, Wellesley College, University of Rochester, Case Western Reserve, Skidmore College and some others.

Do you think that my sat score will ruin my chances of getting in in any of those universities?

Thank you very much for your response and honesty! I appreciate it a lot!
4 months ago
You can also post in our Studying in Europe Group to seek any advice on EU unis
4 months ago
Thank you very much! I appreciate your help a lot ! I will post in that group for sure
4 months ago
Hi Kristi! I think we are pretty much in the same boat; I am waiting for my results as well and I also applied to CWR and Skidmore! I was kind of bummed I received a rejection from a school I considered safety (I assume based on their average ACT range of 22-27 and I had a 32). Kind of worried now that I may be rejected by other schools too :(

I applied to Princeton, Brown, UPenn, Duke, Stanford and Cornell + safeties with these stats:

ACT: 28 (30 superscore)
SAT 2: Math 1 - 800, Math 2 - 800, Physics - 720
GPA: 4.0

I'm gonna just make a synopsis of the rest of my application:

Two international, two regional and one national award in tech, music, physics and math

Extra Curricular:
1. Cofounder and CEO of two tech start-ups (2 Years)
2. Gave back to the community and country by building an app that will be used throughout all, of not most, high schools (Community Service/ Volunteer).
3. Guitarist and Drummer for a band at my school and a band outside of school. I'm now the VP (4 years)
4. President of my school's coding club (3 Years)
5. Director of local company (1 Year)
6. I've also been a member of the engineering and math club for 3 years

Personal Essay: 10/10. Most people loved, made my counselor cry
Supplements: 9/10. My friends and counsellor were kind of amazed when they read it; said they were really good.

STEM: 9/10
Humanities Teacher: 10/10 - said I was the first student that she's written so well about
Guidance Counselor: 9/10 - she knew me really well, was in her office quite often getting to know each other.

Hooks: First Generation Student and URM.

Major: Computer Science

I tried to stand out from the other students at my school for my ECs. I don't think any other student at my school really portrays a passion for their intended major like I do.

Do you guys think I have a chance of getting into any of my top schools? If you need any more information then ask and I'll answer.
5 months ago
Hi Gaurnett - since you already applied there isn't much we can do but a couple of things to consider

- you have an excellent profile and definitely a shot at any top institution; as we mentioned in a number of other posts we don't speculate on chances of getting into any college here

- your ACT is definitely on the low side but we assume that your math and science are much higher; did you take SAT? it's too late now but for some people it works much better - your SAT II scores are great

- being international may help explain lower ACT score but it will still drag your application down; perhaps there are reasons to justify lower ACT score and if that's the case you can always add a note on that

- some international students choose to take a gap year to better prepare for US standardized test or start college in their country and then transfer (although transfer rates are very low for top schools)

- there are a number of other US schools where your entrepreneurial background will be of value (and likely overshadow lower ACT) - Babson and Bates come to mind first but there are others

- if you are an international student and applying for financial aid we would suggest a different college list given that there are a number of schools that tend to offer better packages to international students

Give us a shout if you have more questions and good luck!
Hi guys, I’m a high shool junior from Bangladesh. Last December, one of my seniors got accepted into Cornell. I myself will apply at the end of this year. I’ve heard a lot of people say that since a student from my school, from my country got into Cornell, it’s highly unlikely that Cornell will accept another student from the same school of the same country, the very next year. Is is true that I might have a lower chance of getting accepted into Cornell, because I’m an international student, and one student already got accepted into Cornell the year before, from the same school? Thanks in advance!
5 months ago
Not necessarily. In fact, it might work the other way. Once again, don't focus on rumors, chances etc - you have a great profile so if you are really interested in the school you should apply!
5 months ago
Hi guys, I’m a high school Junior from Bangladesh, and my school follows the Cambridge Assessment of International Examinations.
My grades: All A*’s in O level, with a Top in the World in Economics, and Best across 8 subjects in Bangladesh. I am yet to give my AS exams, but hoping for all A’s at least.

SAT: 1520 in SAT I. Going to give the subject tests coming October(expect a good score, hopefully)

Extra Curriculars: 1. Founder and CEO of an organization that promotes entrepreneurship in technology in Bangladesh. We’re hosting a workshop, and we will launch a website that provides unique networking opportunities to potential tech entrepreneurs. We will also sponsor an university engineering event(we will be the first youth organization to sponsor any event).

2.Co-Founder and President of Community Service Club in school, that takes regular classes in an underprivileged school.

3. Co-Founder of Debate Club in school.

4. Novice Semi-Finalists in Asian Schools Debating Championship, 2015, in Malaysia.
5. Silver medal in IYMC(International Mathematics Competition in India, with 20 participating countries)
6. Participated as team leader in World Unity and Peace Conference in India( a program hosted in association with a sector of the UN)
7. Participation in International Debate Tournament in IIT, India, which is normally meant for University students. No awards.
8. High school Valedictorian.
9. Selected as the class prefect for two years in a row, with a leadership award for being the best prefect.
10. COO of an organization that assists underprivileged students with colleges applications in Bangladesh.
11. Third Prize in Inter School Entrepreneurship Competition.
12. A few other small achievements, such as participation in STEM fair, few best speakers in debate tournaments, runners up in National Debate Tournament.

I wish to apply restricted early action to Harvard or Princeton, in Economics or Electrical Engineering. Realistically, what is my chance of getting accepted?
5 months ago
Thank you so much! This was immensely helpful.
5 months ago
You can look at UPenn's dual degree programs - I believe it is possible to do BA in Econ from Wharton and BSE from Engineering school - probably a good option for you (M&T program there is also great)
5 months ago
Thanks, Greg! I’ll surely look into it.
Hello to all of you!

I’m a Sophomore who just received her final grades for the first semester and I'm very worried about how this will affect my chances of getting into Columbia’s Dual BA Degree program. Although I tried very hard this semester, I felt that it just wasn't hard enough (I received a B's and A's). For the majority of my classes, I received A's. I also received A's in Honors English and Social Studies. However, I got B's in P.E. and Ceramics (maybe even Chemistry-- which my teacher has yet to publish the grades). 

My grades are something I am really worried about. Other than that, I only have a few extracurriculars, but they are something that I am extremely passionate about. I have been a part of Peer Court for two years now, it is a program where students, such as myself, are given a real case of student misdemeanor and we are to act like attorneys and meet at the courtroom. In addition, I am in my first year of being a Safe School Ambassador, a program that promotes student safety and where we, as ambassadors, make sure that all mistreatment at school is appropriately dealt with. Lastly, as unconventional as it sounds, I run a blog entitled "Ladylike" where I like to express my feministic views and discuss issues that happen to girls and women all over the world. 

For the next year, I am planning on joining Link Crew, a program where upperclassmen help freshmen get adjusted throughout their first year. In addition, I am also planning to start a Model United Nations club at my school since I believe that students at my school should be more aware of certain worldwide issues. I’m also fluent in English and Tagalog and I’m currently learning Mandarin and French.

Despite all this, I still feel that I am not reaching my full potential and to get into Columbia, I know that I have to stand out. Right now, I do not think I stand out. My grades are making me anxious and it's making me doubt if I should ever apply to the program or not. I know that it is too early to be worried since I have two more years to go, but every grade counts, right?

So here are just a few questions and maybe, if you could give me any advice as to what I should do regarding my grades. 

How will my grades affect my chances?

Are my extracurriculars enough? 

Should I be doing more?

Any other tips for me?

I know that this is a little long but I'm just really worried right now.
7 months ago
Hi Nicole - you do need to have a good GPA for any top school but B's in PE and Ceramics aren't going to make much difference. And grades alone are not enough to get into a college like Columbia. Some comments on your post and your profile

- keep working on your extracurriculars as this is a great way to stand out
- if you are running the blog, promote it and keep improving the content to make sure it's getting outside of your community
- MUN is a great initiative and if you manage to get the club up and running it would be fantastic; MUN also has summer program including one on Columbia's campus (would be a great opportunity to visit the school and meet people); JSA is another good program similar to MUN (also various summer courses are offered)
- There are some great groups and programs for girls like HERLead and UN's Girl Up which align with your interests

Don't worry about the grades and college applications yet - just focus on things you are interested in and have fun!
7 months ago
Thank you so much
7 months ago
NOW club is another idea for women's empowerment
I am student currently in my A levels
My result in my O levels was 3A* 9A
My co curricular is just participation in 3 MUNS
So i was wondering if u could notify me of what i should do,which co curriculars to participate in cauze i am really interested in enrolling in MIT.
7 months ago
Hi Abdullah - it depends on what is available at your school/region and your interests. Admission officers are aware of the fact that US students have more options for extracurricular activities. Having said that a school like MIT would be particularly interested in students participating in national or international olympiads and competitions especially in the subject that you want to pursue in college. Research projects and summer programs, for example, we have one of the MIT summer programs here on RoundPier www.roundp... d/launchx. Finally, don't worry about the things you need to do to get into MIT but focus on something you have have passion for and are really good at and show top results!