College List Best US Colleges for International Students Who Need Financial Aid May 30th, 2020
Picking a college list is a daunting task for international students, because there is an entirely new set of hurdles with the concept of Need-Blind vs. Need-Aware schools, and the fact that schools that would normally qualify as safeties for you numbers wise turn into a lottery simply because of your international status. First off, what is the difference between need blind and need aware? For need blind schools, it does not count against you in the admissions process if you need financial aid. On the other hand, a need aware school is inclined to admit a full-pay applicant rather than one who needs aid. What top ranking US universities are need blind for internationals? Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT and Amherst College. Can you tell me some notable US universities that give full tuition or merit scholarships to internationals? Yes, there are plenty of schools that award merit aid to international students, if they qualify. Here are a few:
University of Miami (FL) - this is a pretty good school with quality programs known to accept international students and give quality aid; Issac Bashevis Singer Scholarship Value- Full-tuition Minimum Requirements- Must apply Early Action (nonbinding) and interview
Babson - meets 97% of financial need for international students (!!!), and named #1 school for international students by Forbes Vanderbilt - offers up to full ride scholarships for international students through their vast merit scholarship program such as the Cornelius Vanderbilt scholarship. Keep in mind, you need to apply before a certain deadline, and fill out an additional application to qualify for these scholarships!
Loyola Marymount University - offers up to full ride scholarships for international students and all internationals are automatically considered for academic scholarships!
Providence College - they offer a full tuition scholarship for internationals https://admission.providence.edu/international-applicants/cost-financial-aid/
University of Alabama - Presidential Scholarship Value: Full tuition ($25,000 per year) Minimum Requirements- Anyone with at least 1490 SAT or at least 33 ACT and 3.5 GPA will automatically receive this scholarship.
Hendrix College - Hays Memorial Scholarship Value- Full tuition, room, board, and mandatory fees Minimum requirements- 3.6 GPA and 32 ACT or 1410 SAT
George Washington University - Presidential International Scholarship (Scholarships for International Students only) Value- Up to full tuition Minimum Requirements- Must be an international student
Emory University - Emory University Scholar Program Value- Up to full tuition Minimum Requirement- Submit the application by November 15 Official Scholarship Page- http://apply.emory.edu/apply/international.php
University of Georgia - offer several up to full tuition merit scholarships for international students
Majors The Top Competitive College Majors in 2020 May 29th, 2020
One of the most crucial parts of your college application is deciding what major you will indicate as your first choice. Of course, you will need to consider several factors, such as your personal interests, projected job growth, curriculum rigor, and starting salary. But what you may not know is that even for colleges that claim not to cap their majors, it can still be exponentially more difficult to get into a school for some majors more than others. Here is a list of our predicted most competitive majors for the 2020 - 2021 application cycle, based on comprehensive research.
1. Psychology - I guess there's something fascinating about human cognition that makes this major so popular! At most colleges, especially liberal arts schools, Psychology is singlehandedly the most popular major indicated by students, which by the transitive property makes it one of the most competitive, simply because of the applicant pool. To stand out from the crowd make sure to conduct some social science research with a professor to guide you, take AP Psychology, and binge-watch every serial killer documentary on Netflix which I myself totally haven't done either.
2. Economics / Business - It's many peoples dream to work on Wall Street, and they're definitely right to aspire for it. Investment bankers and financial careers are among the highest starting salaries, not only straight out of college, but for years to come. However, the promise of big bucks comes with a great rigor and competitiveness for the college admissions pool. It takes a certain type of risk taking personality and ambition to work on Wall Street, so show your leadership initiative by starting clubs, taking officer positions in your school, and participating in FBLA or DECA.
3. Computer Science - Computer Science is one of the fastest growing industries in the 21st century. Every day, new jobs are being created, as technological breakthroughs continue to exponentially reveal themselves. Of course, Computer Science is now extremely competitive for admissions. I have seen many applicants make the mistake of listing CS as their first choice major because "technology is cool" when they in reality have zero coding related extracurriculars or experience. This makes it very unlikely for you to be accepted as a candidate. Don't make this mistake! Sign up for coding clubs and hackathons, teach yourself a programming language, take AP CS Principles, just to name a few ways to set yourself apart.
4. Pre-Med Track - "You need to be a doctor when you grow up!" How many of you can relate to your parents telling this to you? I know I sure can! Parental pressure and traditions are just a microcosm of the reasons why Pre-med is such a popular track for applicants. If you want to stand a better chance at admission, especially to prestigious BS/MD programs, you should try to shadow a physician, participate in science fairs, and try doing research in a medical lab.
5. Biomedical Engineering - This major may surprise you, but don't hold your breath. It is the amalgam of Technology, Medicine, and Engineering, the three big league players in the Competitive Major Game. Every day you hear of these crazy programs like JHU and MIT where Biomedical Engineering is rapidly becoming more and more popular. I mean, look at that name, it sounds so awe-inspiring to the common applicant. Because this major is the intersection of three adjoining fields, you need to do triple the work to ensure your activities cover enough experience to qualify you as an applicant.
College List What Are Safety, Match, and Reach Schools? May 21st, 2020
I get asked this question a lot as a consultant "What are Safety, Match, and Reach schools?" The terms are, of course vague and I'll be honest, I myself once found myself in the same position of confusion as to what they could mean, but trust me, once I explain it, it will all make perfect sense!
Safety schools are schools which you are essentially guaranteed to get in, based on your test scores, GPA, and the level of selectivity of that school. A common misconception is that students with 1600 SATs and 4.0 GPAs put a school like Tufts or UC Berkeley down as a safety based on the numbers alone. However, this is flawed, because what the applicant is failing to do, is look at the acceptance rate! For a school to be considered a Safety, the acceptance rate should be above 50%, regardless of what your test score is. For all applicants, even high achievers, it's crucial to have at least one safety school on your college list, and preferably one that awards lots of Merit Scholarship Aid. It is, after all, your "safety plan" just in case none of your reaches turn out.
Match schools, also known as Targets, are schools where you are within the middle 25th to 75th percentile of admitted students for SAT and GPA, as well as the school having a 25% - 50% acceptance rate. Essentially a match school is one that is just right for your academic level, and is moderately selective. You should have 1 - 2 match schools on your college list.
Reach schools are the most elite caliber of schools, like Ivy Leagues, MIT, Stanford, and other schools both private and public with an acceptance rate below 25%. Reach schools tend to use a process called Holistic Review, which means that they weight the components of your application based on extracurriculars, essays, letters of recommendation, as well as test scores and GPA, because they value a diverse clas. Thus, even applicants with perfect grades have a chance of being rejected from these schools. Now for the honest truth: a lot of these admissions processes have elements of luck to them, so if you are serious about wanting to attend a top school, you should go into it ready to face any scenario of how it could turn out. You should really try to apply to at least five reaches, to maximize the probability you fit the class profile and get into at least one top school of your dreams.
Extracurriculars Underrated Virtual Oppportunities for High School Students May 12th, 2020
Updated May 30th, 2020 due to popular demand on Reddit :) Keep checking back on this document while I add even more resources!
Are you feeling the Quarantine Blues? The good news is, despite COVID, there are hundreds of Fully Remote Learning Opportunities for high school students that will boost your college application, and you will barely have to lift a finger! I'll list my Top opportunities, and I will explain them in depth along the way!
Volunteermatch.org virtual community service
COVID has certainly taught us not to take our health for granted, and to be grateful for what we have. So, what better time is there than now to channel those feelings of gratitude to helping others through volunteerism?! Volunteermatch.org has hundreds of volunteer opportunities ranging across a wide breadth of skills, from beginner level to advanced. There's video editing, translating, website design, graphic design, blogging, and social media outrach to name a few!
Chegg remote internships
Internships are a great way to build your college application spike by gaining skillsets and learning from industry professionals! Although you may feel sad about the lack of onsite internships this summer, there are still hundreds of companies looking to hire high school interns, especially in the fields of Information Technology, Social Media, Data Science, and Marketing. Chegg is a great tool to use, you can search internships by area, type, and even find paid opportunities! They currently have 11,000+ High School Remote Internships.
Udemy / Skillshare create your own online course and inspire people
Colleges love creativity and initiative in applicants. Perhaps, before COVID happened, you had some experience tutoring others? Or maybe there's something that you are so passionate about you want to teach other people? Or maybe, you just like to talk in front of a camera? If so, you may want to check out creating your very own online course! It is an underrated and highly unique activity for a high school student!
Congressional App Challenge
The congressional app challenge is a national competition where you create your own app for any platform, whether it be a dynamic web application or an iOS app! You don't even need to know how to code, as you can use any language. I suggest MIT App Inventor, it is very intuitive. The state winners of this competition are awarded with a $250 amazon gift card, congressional recognition and get invited to the National Technology conference HouseOfCode, where there are workshops and guest speakers from Amazon, Microsoft, Google, etc. I personally won twice and let me tell you, it was an amazing experience so I just had to share it with all of you prospective changemakers!
Create a project/startup/NPO with your friends
So, what if you are feeling intimidated by the prospect of soliciting a professional level opportunity? That doesn't mean you can't still boost your application! Now's a great time for you to start a project with your friends, such as a start up or NPO, or something tangible like a mobile app or podcast! You have free reign here, but use your project to get your voice heard or even learn a new skill!
Youth Science Connect virtual research opportunities with certified college mentors Research is an awesome plus for your college application, especially for STEM majors, and Youth Science Connect is a newly created nonprofit org that connects high school students who are interested in researching ANY discipline with a college student mentor who will guide you to execute a science project, perhaps even get a paper published!
Cold emailing professors about research
Yup, that's right, professors generally enjoy talking about their research and sometimes you will get lucky and they will want to take you on as a research assistant or intern! In order to do this, you need to master the art of Cold Emailing.
Developing your unique hobbies
Maybe you like carving your own path! If so, you can choose to independently develop your hobbies and learn new skills. I suggest downloading an app like DuoLingo to learn a new language, doing some Quarantine Workouts, learning to solve a Rubik's Cube, juggle, paint, learn a programming language with Code.org, anything you want! Colleges are looking for a well rounded class so if you have a unique hobby that sets you appart from the rest you have a much better chance at admission.
College Essays Top 5 College Essay Do's and Don'ts May 4th, 2020
The college essay can be the most intimidating part of the application process for many students, but it doesn't have to be this way! What many people don't realize is that there are proven success tips to create a stand-out essay that Admissions Officers will love! Here are some tips to follow, that I myself used when crafting my successful applications.
Write in a conversational manner that is vivid, persuasive, and reads like a young adult novel.
Use metaphors and figurative language to give deep interpretation to everyday situations.
Show, not tell, to emphasize your hook and personal qualities,.
Talk about CREATING something tangible
Incorporate personal growth.
Write about an appreciation for life or new outlook you gleaned from a normal experience or cultural background.
Force humor and puns if it isn't your personality.
Write about mission trips.
Write about your major.
Write about things that downplay yourself or your family, ie: mental illness, divorce, death.
In the end, the key takeaways when writing your essay are to be honest and show your genuine personal voice; your essay should read like a novel. Don't get hung up on choosing a unique experience, rather, choose a unique emotion and/or growth point that pertains to your life to write about, it doesn't have to be grandiose! Avoid the common don'ts.