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US citizen/Intl applicant

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Hi so I'm a US citizen who's lived abroad for almost 10 years now. My schooling has been in a different country, with a very different system from that of the US.

When I apply for college, will I be considered as an international applicant? An admissions counselor at the US embassy here said that I'd be considered an out-state student. If that's true, will I have to include additional info in my app to explain the system here?

Also, for fin aid, how would that play out seeing that I'm a citizen as well as an intl resident?


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answered on[edited]
Accepted answer


When you apply to college in the US, you will not be considered an Int'l student but a US Citizen. The reason the admissions counselor stated that you will be considered an out of state resident where ever you apply is that all State University systems like Michigan State, University of California schools, University of Florida schools have a very specific residency requirement that you have to fulfill like being a full-time resident in the state for 1 full calendar year prior to being accepted (for some it's 1 full year prior to the applications deadline). This only applies to public state colleges versus private universities that only have 2 categories- Domestic and Int'l for incoming Freshmen. Since I imagine you do not fulfill this requirement, you will be out-of-state for a school like UCLA, UVA, or Univ of Washington.

On the common app and coalition app and on the private app portals (Georgetown, MIT), under the demographic section of the application, you click off the tick boxes that apply to you like US Citizen, Permanent Resident, DACA, Int'l, Dual Citizenship (and they ask what the 2nd country is). So they will know exactly your situation.

Since you have been living abroad for 10 years, you have to check with each school you are applying to, and find out if you need to take the TOEFL or IELTS. The harder schools recommend a score of 100 or 7.5 respectively. Some schools accept Duolingo but not so common with top schools. Also, I believe the TOEFL has a home edition now you can take at home rather than at a test center. Some schools want you to this if the language of your secondary school instruction was not in English, or if you have been abroad for more than 3 years. The requirements vary so be sure to get them from each school you are applying to.

Since you are not an Int'l student applicant, financial aid will be more or less considered like you were a domestic applicant. Therefore, you should feel free to apply for financial aid if you need to. The FAFSA and CSS Profile is required by most colleges. Some schools like Princeton and UChicago have their own version of the CSS profile so keep that in mind. Since your parents are Americans or at least one of them is American, I imagine the only headache will be for them to submit their financial records to the "college board" who operates the CSS Profile. They will have to upload their US Tax forms there if they file US taxes or upload their taxes from the country you live in. These will be questions the Collegeboard can answer for you when you file your CSS Profile. So if you need financial aid, then look on the list of colleges that are need-blind versus need-aware because they will decide to accept you without considering your ability to pay. Also, look for colleges that meet 100% of your financial aid needs based on your family's ability to pay. Many colleges are both need-blind and meet 100% of need. They are not the same thing so be mindful of that.

Since it's only 1 week away from Nov.1, I do not think you can get all these things done to apply Early Action or Early Decision but you will be okay to apply Regular Decision Jan.1.

Best of luck in your college admissions journey.

Does this mean, as an international student, you will be compared to other international applicants from your country and so you have no extra boost except through financial aid or will they consider your citizenship as a boost
If you are an ex-pat US Citizen living in another country you do get a boost because the admit rates are different between US Citizens versus Int'l Students. At top schools like MIT the admit rate is 8.3% versus 3.4%.
The secondary consideration is the immigration boost. At some Top Schools, there are different rules set by the State Dept. for int'l students which prevents them from being in the US if they are not taking on campus classes. I refer back to MIT or Harvard, where they had to create special classes to accomodate Int'l students or get deported.
Third, is the cost of Tuition. At some state colleges for example there is a separate fee schedule for Int'l Students.
Uh CSS is widely used but it’s definitely not most it’s primarily private elite schools. If you are an uS citizen you likely will not need to take TOEFL or another English test. As for out of state that is likely true but you might be able to make a case to a school that you previously lived in (ie if you lived in State X and moved to country Y public schools in state X MAY grant you instate tuition so I’d definitely look into it at the very least. And you will not be paying the international
tution as a US citizen.
answered on

Hey! I have the same situation, in some cases there is an option to write down your dual citizenship. I am applying as a US citizen but explaining that I study in a different country. I recommend contacting the addmissions office of the college you are applying to and see if there is a way for you to add all of this information in your application. Good luck!