I’m an International Student Who Needs Financial Aid, What Should I Do?

I’m an International Student Who Needs Financial Aid, What Should I Do?

What Major Best Fits Your Personality? Find out here. You are an international student who needs money to help pay for college in the US. You are in a tough spot. There are limited resources available to international students, but don’t lose hope. There are options. When I work with students, I help them figure out what strategy makes the most sense for them based on their academic background, financial situation, and aspirations. Here are some of the most common solutions for making college work for international students who need financial aid. Need-Based Aid Need-based aid is aid offered to you based on your family’s ability to pay. The aid comes in many different forms. Some schools that offer need-based aid offer it to only a small percentage of international students whereas others offer it to the majority. Some schools offer an average aid package of $50,000-$60,000 per year while others have an average package of just $2,000-$5,000. Some schools are committed to paying 100% of demonstrated need, but others are working with much more limited resources and may give you much less than you would realistically need to attend. Just because a college offers need-based aid doesn’t tell you much. You need to look at the numbers. My article, 65 Colleges that Give Generous Aid to International Students, gives an overview of some of the most generous schools out there, but anytime you add a new school to your list, make sure you look up the specific figures. There is little point in applying to schools that you know don’t have the financial resources to support you. Keep in...
How Many Transfer Students Get In?  2015 Transfer Rates at America’s Top Colleges

How Many Transfer Students Get In? 2015 Transfer Rates at America’s Top Colleges

    Want to know your chances of getting into your top choice college? Find out here. It is hard enough to get into top colleges as it is, but when you are looking to transfer, it is unfortunately even harder. Some schools only accept a small handful of students each year with acceptance rates under 1%, more competitive than any freshmen pool. And while I encourage applying to the school of your dreams even when it is a long shot, it is good to round out your list with schools that have plenty of open spots. Luckily there are some great schools that have hundreds or even thousands of spots available each year. Here is a list of many of the top colleges in the United States and the number of spots they opened up to transfer students entering in the fall of 2015. While these numbers change from year to year, this list will provide you a good starting point for determining which schools offer you the best shot of transfer admission.   Alabama   University of Alabama Transfer students applying: 4,926 Students accepted: 2,770 Transfer Acceptance Rate: 56%   Alaska   University of Alaska – Fairbanks Transfer students applying: 841 Students accepted: 711 Transfer Acceptance Rate: 84.5%   Arizona   Arizona State University – Tempe Transfer students applying: 7,428 Students accepted: 5,887 Transfer Acceptance Rate: 79%   University of Arizona Transfer students applying: 5,109 Students accepted: 3,628 Transfer Acceptance Rate: 71%   Arkansas   Hendrix College Transfer students applying: 61 Students accepted: 25 Transfer Acceptance Rate: 41%   University of Arkansas Transfer students applying: 3,755 Students...
The Secret Ingredient For Improving Your SAT and ACT Scores

The Secret Ingredient For Improving Your SAT and ACT Scores

Want to know your chances? Find out here. This post may include affiliate links which help support this blog. Please note that I only endorse programs I like. I have a secret. The SAT and ACT is not a test of natural born intelligence. It is just a test, like any other test, that anyone can ace with enough practice. And yes, that includes you. It doesn’t matter if English isn’t your first language. It doesn’t matter if you only have a few weeks before you have to take the test. It doesn’t matter if you scored hundreds of points below your target score. You can do it. How, you ask? Practice. I know that sounds too good to be true, but it is. Think about it. When you have a math test at school, what do you do? You study. You go through all the practice problems you can get your hands on. And then you do it again and again and again until it becomes second nature. The SAT and ACT are long tests, but the same principles apply. Like a math test in school, they are testing for specific types of knowledge and thinking, and they rely on the same types of questions and techniques over and over and over again. What You Need to Do If you want to ace one of these tests, the secret is to know them inside and out. And the best way to do that is to take as many practice tests as you can. There are hundreds of them out there. Sit down at home with a timer and...
High School Juniors: Don’t Take the Old SAT

High School Juniors: Don’t Take the Old SAT

The SAT is changing. Lots of high school juniors are nervous. Should I take the old SAT now and get it out of the way? How will I be able to study for a test that hasn’t yet been administered? Is this new test going to hurt my chance of admission? I’ve been getting a lot of these questions from high school juniors. And I get it. It is scary to be the transition class. But here is my advice: don’t worry about it. Take the new SAT or the ACT, but don’t feel as if you have to cram in the old SAT and get your dream score before the test switches over. Putting that pressure on yourself is unnecessary and counterproductive. I graduated from high school in 2006. I too was in the transition class when during the second half of my junior year in 2005, the College Board first introduced the test they are now getting rid of. It was a scary time then, I remember. We didn’t know what to expect. People were afraid that college wouldn’t know how to interpret the new scores or that we would all test poorly because it would be difficult to study for an unknown test. But honestly, things worked out fine, and in retrospect, the panic was overblown. Here’s what happened to my friends who tried to take the “old SAT” before the test switched over: 1.     They were very stressed out studying during the middle of junior year. 2.     They were almost all dissatisfied with their scores. 3.     They decided to take the test again when the...
316 Colleges with Non-Binding Early Action Plans

316 Colleges with Non-Binding Early Action Plans

What Major Best Fits Your Personality? Find out here. Want to know where you are going to college by December? So do a lot of students, which is why Early Decision (ED) programs are so popular. Watch out though. ED plans have their pitfalls. What if you realize you’d actually prefer to attend another school? What if you change your mind? Too bad. What if the financial aid package isn’t so great? Sorry. You’re stuck. You have very limited negotiating power when you can’t show a college any competing offers. Early Decision is limiting, and while for some students that admissions advantage makes it a worthwhile choice, in general, I’d recommend Early Action (EA) plans instead. EA plans will give you your decision just as early as ED plans but without the downsides. You are not required to attend a school you are admitted to through an EA program, and you can apply to more schools in the regular round so that you can compare aid offers. In many cases, you can even apply to multiple schools through EA so that you can have multiple offers by December. Sure, the admissions advantage of EA may be smaller than for ED, but for many schools, early applicant pools still have slightly higher admissions rates than in the regular pool. Below, you’ll find of list of colleges that offer EA programs (data thanks to College Lists). With the exception of the few schools on this list marked as “single choice,” apply to as many of these colleges as you want early and get your decision before regular applications at most colleges...
Stuck on a Wait List? Find out How to Get Off.

Stuck on a Wait List? Find out How to Get Off.

          What Major Best Fits Your Personality? Find out here.     Waitlisted. It is an awful feeling being stuck in limbo all summer not knowing exactly where you’ll end up in the fall. But if you’ve been waitlisted at your dream school, the wait might be worth it. Don’t get your hopes up too high. Most schools today waitlist hundreds or thousands of students only to end up accepting a few dozen and in some cases, none at all. But every year, there are many students around the country who get into colleges off the wait list, and you could be one of them. Here’s what you need to do: 1)      Don’t just wait It is not really a “wait” list. It is an action list. Don’t sit around and wait to see if a college will take you. If you accept your spot on the wait list and sit back and relax, you aren’t going to get in. Unlike wait lists for soccer camp that usually take people off on a first come, first served basis, college wait lists are typically pretty disorganized. Colleges don’t have some preset order that tells them who to take off the wait list should space become available. The students who are the forefront of the admissions officers’ minds are the ones who get accepted. Be memorable. Staying active in the process is the best way to do that. 2)      Write a letter of interest Is attending the school where you were waitlisted your dream? Have you done tons of research about the clubs you would join and...