So, basically, I'm an international student from Ukraine and I wonder if my ec's are good enough to be a competitive applicant for financial aid (i don't know which ec's are common for people with my background as I couldn't find any info about it). So can you suggest any sources where I can get help to solve this issue? I already know about collegevine's ability to do a general breakdown of whether your extracurriculars are good, but I need more meaningfull description. Also I'm low-income, so I'd appreciate if you suggest sources that are either free or cheap.
All the best colleges in the US are eager to admit international students if they qualify academically and meet their other requirements. Your ECs will impact your admissions but they will not impact your Financial Aid because top colleges do not give out MERIT-based financial aid to international students, only NEED-Based Financial aid.
So, yes you need top ECs to get into a very good college but once you get in, if you are poor you have nothing to worry about since most of them meet 100% of your family's needs and ability to pay. So if your family can only afford say $15,000 per year and the school costs $80,000, then they will give you grants up to $65,000 per year. You might have to take a part-time job with the college for about 5% of that money but that is very typical whether you are an American or Int'l student.
I would definitely suggest watching some CollegeVine youtube videos on ECs like the following:
Absolutely. So first of all, it is a little hard for me to assess your extracurriculars without you having included them here. But this is exactly what our Live Profile Review livestreams are for! Yesh is doing one this Friday, and you can register here: https://www.collegevine.com/livestreams/4140/live-profile-review-with-yesh. This an opportunity for you to share your full profile anonymously. Yesh will walk through it with you (including assessing all of your extracurriculars and awards) and help you figure out how impressive your resume is and what you can do to make it look even better.
I'm also linking our blog post on understanding the different tiers of extracurriculars so that you can have a little more context when our chancing engine tiers your various activities. https://blog.collegevine.com/breaking-down-the-4-tiers-of-extracurricular-activities/. This post contains links to a number of related blog posts as well.
Finally, I just want to mention that ECs are not the only thing (or even the main thing) that will help determine whether or not you qualify for aid. As you probably know, getting aid as an international student at a U.S. school is generally a big ask. Some of the most elite schools (IE. Harvard, Princeton, MIT) will actually meet your full financial need if you get in. You'll just have to fill out the CSS profile and submit some official document(s) that show your family's income and wealth (like a tax return). Other elite schools with large endowments might not meet 100% of need for international students, but will meet some percentage of it. This kind of aid is all need-based, meaning that it's based only on your demonstrated financial aid.
Many schools also offer merit-based aid to international students. In general, less selective schools offer the most merit-based aid, and private schools offer more than public schools. The most selective schools don't offer merit-based aid to anyone. At relatively elite schools where everyone who gets in will need excellent grades and test scores, merit-based aid decisions do come down to extracurricular strength and the quality of your college essays. At less selective schools, these decisions are based mostly on your grades and test scores.
We've also got a blog post on the schools that offer aid to international students. Here it is: https://blog.collegevine.com/schools-that-grant-financial-aid-to-international-students-a-complete-list/.
Hope this helps!
You should definitely check out CollegeVine's Livestreams. They do profile reviews almost every week. You just need to fill a form (with all of your application info) and they will evaluate and tell you your chances in the live stream.
Here is the link-
(You will find the form in the description)
Additionally, you can post your ECs and grades in sites like College Confidential or Reddit(r/A2C) and the people there might evaluate your profile and give you an estimate. Honestly though, don't take people in College Confidential/Reddit too seriously. A lot of them are trolls/fake accounts or inexperienced people.
Your best bet to find a good estimate would be to fill up the form for the live stream!
Hope it helps.
All the best!
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