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.


Hello, I am an international student planning to apply to the US, however, I am not very familiar with the admission chances, SO PLEASE FEEL FREE TO RECOMMEND SCHOOLS, this is what I got:

- 99,98% GPA from a public Saudi school, 2nd on +100 students.

- 1430 SAT ( Math: 800, R&W: 630), will my 800 make my score more competitive?

- 99 TOEFL

- SAT Math 2 (730), No other Subject Tests

We have fewer than 5 activities in my school but here are mine,

- Deputy head of the Organising Club, it's like students who help to organize other students(11-12).

- Help the counselor in organizing events, like anti-smoking event

- Head of the library club (5th and 6th grade), I really don't know if I should include this


- Won a Mathematics contest on the level of Central Region (Riyadh and cities around it), First place. although, they didn't send me any Model or Trophy.

- Excellence Medal from the General Directorate of Education in Riyadh

Other important notes:

- I am Syrian living in Saudi Arabia, from a very disprivileged background.
- By September 2019, I will have completed two years of gap years, because of visa rejections or my mere nationality here in Saudi Arabia
- I know no one who took SAT, I had no mentor, and I scored the given score after one attempt
- I learned English on my own, no one helped in this journey
- I need financial aid or Merit scholarships, if none I won't be able to attend.
some points above I don't know if they matter at all, but I am writing everything just in case.

universities I am aiming for are:
Amherst College
University of Michigan
Boston college & university
NYU Abu Dhabi

and the list is open for any universities or colleges with Financial aid or scholarships
4 hours ago
To answer your question 99 is close enough but technically most elite schools have 100 as minimum requirement. Most admission officers will still review your application but you may want to email the schools you are interested in to ask them. Your SAT is good enough - we appreciate the cost of taking this so would recommend sticking with current SAT and TOEFL scores - in the end there will be other things that can make a difference including your essay which has become a very important part of the application. In fact, if we recommend to retake something it would be TOEFL. If US university is the ultimate goal and you aren’t looking at any other options you may want to broaden your list.
3 hours ago
Well, that settles it! since TOEFL is so expensive, I am not even considering to retake it.
However, I know that you don't chance here, but I was told that with these stats I have no real chance of getting accepted, what do you think?
Also, I want to note that I will do my best to make sure that my personal essay reflects the challenges I want through and how I worked hard despite the lack of opportunities.
8 minutes ago
Who told you that? This is one of the reasons we dont chance students here. We have seen a number of international students with stats similar to yours getting into great US colleges. Having said that, it is difficult to predict your chances and you should create a good list (use fee waivers where possible) and have alternative options.
We receive a number of questions about MIT admissions directly and there are a few below in this Group. If you are just starting out and thinking about applying start with their blog!
Hi, I'm a sophomore in high school, and I'm looking for internship opportunities, preferably something related to science or engineering, but I am open to options. I know that volunteer and internships are very valuable resources that colleges look at. I am also limited to virtual internships or volunteer work.
1 week ago
Hi there - we have answered your question in Eduniverse. Give us a shout if you have more questions.

RP Team
1 week ago
Focus on things you really care about, dont worry about what colleges look at. Most colleges understand that in certain places there aren't that many opportunities but you can also work on your own projects
For Indian students interested in US colleges, Tata Scholarship at Cornell is an excellent opportunity to finance your studies

admissions... cholarship
3 weeks ago
7 hours ago
Thanks for the information!
Would you suggest opting for double major in undergraduate?
4 weeks ago
It depends on your interests... Doing double major has certain drawbacks as you'd have to stick with strict schedule with virtually no room to take a random class and explore your interest. You can decide it once you start your college. Until then try to discover your interests.
4 weeks ago
I did it. It really depends on the majors. If requirements for graduation are similar then you still have some room for electives. If not it is better to do a minor or simply one or two classes that you have interest in.
3 weeks ago
I am planning to double major but in related subjects
What's the ideal number of schools to apply to for someone who doesn't have great extracurriculars but decent SAT and near perfect GPA?
4 weeks ago
It's kind of personal matter. Just keep in mind that if you want to increase your odds of getting in, apply as many as you can, but also keep the quality of every application as high as possible. Also it's hard to define "great extracurricular" concept. You don't have to go to MIT summer camp or do fancy international volunteering to be considered as someone who's done "great extracurricular". Just starting a school reading club or going to cotton fields over the summer to earn money for your family could be as much worthwhile as those extracurriculars I've counted. So never underestimate what you've done by merely looking at others. Just try to find your own, unique story.
4 weeks ago
Thanks! I just see lots of people with amazing extracurriculars. I dont have a unique story but definitely did well in school and have a number of interests.
3 weeks ago
I think it is different for international and US students
Hey guys,
Could you please suggest any universities where I have a good chance of acceptance. I am from Ghana but I am Indian. Most of my ECs have been updated on my profile. Please help me look for suitable universities that offer financial aid. I plan on studying computer science and electronic engineering.
My reach choices include Princeton and Yale but I'm having trouble picking my target universities.
2 weeks ago
A comment above is fair - we have seen a number of very qualified international students either rejected by a number of schools or simply not given enough financial aid to attend. Definitely, try to make sure you have options outside of the US.
2 weeks ago
can you give me any options outside of the US that have good financial aid packages
2 weeks ago
Universities in Europe, for example, France, Germany and a number of other countries are free (or almost free) but you would need to speak the language to attend those state schools. We have published something on this here www.roundp... ing-abroad

We have seen students from Africa here attending universities in Turkey and Canada among other places.

Finally, what about your local university? US colleges are definitely a great option for an international student but depending on the amount of financial aid you need the competition is very tough...
Hi, I am a high school sophomore. I am planning to apply to MIT for my undergrad. I have plenty of time to prepare for college. Can you please suggest some activities I should be spending time on? I have stellar academics but I am an international student, so it would be tough, right?
1 month ago
Hi Fatima

Somewhere below there was a question about MIT but one thing I want to say - don't just focus on MIT there are plenty of great schools in the US accepting (and if needed providing financial aid) international students. Secondly, don't waste time trying to cater your activities to a particular college. It certainly helps if you are participating in National or International Olympiads but just focus on things you love doing, get very good at and make sure you know how to present this to the universities you wish to apply for. Here on RoundPier we have one MIT-affiliated organization called LaunchX www.roundp... hd/launchx - you can see their summer and after school program. Generally, most of the successful international students we see here are the ones who have deep passion for knowledge and can demonstrate how they can add value to a certain college. In terms of other things we have come across, IYPT, (I personally was involved in this and was part of the team that represented my country) or this program www.roundp... hysicists.

1 month ago
I agree with the above - I don't think any college has a specific list of activities that they want their applicants to be involved in
1 month ago
Thank you very much...
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
1 week ago
Because I am really interested in NYUAD's financial aid policies
1 week ago
It would likely be towards the end or outside top 50 if you look at engineering but still a solid school
1 week ago
Thank you
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
2 months 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.
2 months ago
2 months 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.
2 months 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.
2 months 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 :)
2 months ago
And Tufts University
2 months ago
Interested in mechanical engineering programs. Any point applying ED for international students since financial aid is they key?
2 months 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?
2 months 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

2 months 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?
2 months ago
Hey Sally - we also have started Columbia Group recently...perhaps there may be some relevant discussions on extracurriculars for you.

RP Team
2 months 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?
2 months 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
3 months 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?
3 months 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?
3 months 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! )
2 months 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.
3 months 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
3 months 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).
3 months ago
Thank you very much
Interesting article: amp.busine... ers-2018-4
What's your advice when making a college list?
5 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.
7 hours ago
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