If I am an international student who was never lived in the US, do I have an extra edge when applying to top tier U's?
I am from Venezuela, displaced by the political situation, currently living in Colombia, I have a 3.5 GPA, having taken 12 AP classes, speak perfect English, Spanish and learning French. with over 10 unique extracurriculars. When I take the SAT in October I aim to get in between 1400-1550 range, and I plan to get 120 in the TOEFL.
I am just curious to know if because of my race or nationality, plus my outstanding curriculum, I stand a chance at getting into the Ivy Leagues, even though I do not have a 4.0 GPA. Or is there something else I can do? Or if I'm in over my head, and if so, what universities do I stand a good chance of getting in?
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Most top-tier private universities will practice something called "holistic" admissions, which means more or less that they account for an applicant's race when they review their application. You're coming from an under-represented minority background, which in brief means that there are fewer college students of your race than make up the general population in the US, and as a result the criteria are adjusted a bit to make up for the factors that cause that.
So with that in mind, your GPA and SAT score might actually be enough to get you across the threshold at top universities. It would be close, and I would enter your info into the chancing simulator here rather than relying on anonymous forum people to tell you what your chances might be. That system should also help show you what schools might show up in your target or safety ranges as well.
At the same time, a more pressing question for an international student is whether or not you'll be applying for financial aid, because if you *are*, that will make it much harder to get into all but a couple very specific universities. There are 5 schools that are need-blind for international students (which means that financial need will not affect your admissions chances); those are Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT, and Amherst College. At ALL other schools—public or private—applying for financial aid will make getting in significantly harder. Which means you're either stuck with harder chances or with a ~$50,000-70,000 bill. (I should also note that international students almost never get financial aid from state schools, so while @DebaterMAX is listing a lot of good schools to consider, they will all be charging full price, which in most cases will be $40,000-$60,000/yr.)
I’m not a chancing calculator but if I were to guess assuming great recommendation letters and essays you have a 3-7% chance at ivies.
However Ivies aren’t the only good schools I know UT Austin Rice UCLA UFlorida UMichagan Kansas St and other AAU Members have great academics and are less competitive to get into. Though other big name ones are San Diego St Houston Missouri S&T.