Anyone's kids doing US applications?

(33 Posts)
Sturmundcalm Tue 07-Nov-17 19:17:52

DD planning on applying to MIT and Harvard, did her ACT rather than SATS back in June and has subject-specific SATS at start of December (involving a flight as nearest centre was full...).

This is something she's driving but when she mentioned last week about getting an interview set up for MIT I started to feel we really do need to get more involved!

She's not convinced she'll get accepted for either cause she did well on ACT but wants to do maths/science and she was slightly weaker on that part of the ACT. Trying to get balance right between encouraging her to aim high and reminding her that being accepted would only be the start of the challenge considering the costs involved.

just wondered if there was anyone else on here going through same stuff!

OP’s posts: |
MissConductUS Tue 07-Nov-17 19:35:03

Yes, I am! smile

I'm an American mum (New Yorker to be precise) who has a son going through the college application process now to start in Sept 2018.

MIT may have someone in the UK (an alumni) who can interview her, or she may be able to do it via Skype. MIT is insanely selective and expensive. I think it's fab that she wants to study here, but would she consider other options?

It's a lovely place to go to school by the way. DS is also applying in the Boston area.

MissConductUS Tue 07-Nov-17 19:37:07

Oh, I missed that she's applying at Harvard too. It as well is insanely expensive and selective. And foreign students are usually expected to pay full tuition and fees.

MissConductUS Tue 07-Nov-17 19:40:59

This website is a good place to start researching: MIT Profile

It will cover costs, admission statistics (including ACT and SAT scores) and an overall profile.

Leeds2 Tue 07-Nov-17 19:45:37

My DD is in her second year at a US uni. Think she had three interviews, all done by alumni at either a Starbucks in London or on Skype.

MissConductUS Tue 07-Nov-17 19:54:14

My DD is in her second year at a US uni

Where did she wind up and how is she liking it?

JWIM Sat 11-Nov-17 13:10:16

DC is also in second year studying at NYU - and loving it, involved in a wealth of opportunities in addition to studies. I'm a tad envious. DC applied to several US universities and drove the process entirely, apart from the regular need for application fees, SATs fees etc. There were interviews with alumni in London for one (train journey) and nearer cathedral city.

DC is state school educated but we travel regularly to the States to holiday and DC had visited almost all the US universities she had applied to - Boston area is lovely and U of Boston was one of the offers. DC also applied through the UK UCAS so had offers here to balance against NYU.

We became more involved in applying because some US universities require evidence on parents being able to meet the fees.


claraschu Sat 11-Nov-17 13:30:58

My two sons are both studying in the US (one just finished), so if you have specific questions, let me know. OP, if your son is applying for Sept 2018, just be aware that the whole application process (personal statements, short answers, recommendations, supporting material, school transcripts, etc) is very complex, and much more important than it is over here, where entry is based on exam results (and of course interviews at a few specific universities).

Interviews for US universities are really not very important, completely different from any UK interview process, really just a chat with an alum. A good interview will only have the tiniest of impacts on his chance of getting into the university.

You may already know all this, but thought I would mention it just in case.
Good luck to all your kids!

claraschu Sat 11-Nov-17 13:35:48

MissConduct that isn't true...Harvard offers the same financial aid to foreign students as it does to US students. If your family income is less than $65,000 you pay nothing, and then it is on a sliding scale up to about $120,000, I think (not sure of exact numbers).

Sturmundcalm Sun 12-Nov-17 08:22:22

Sorry for disappearing - have forgotten my password and only logged in on iPad...

Thanks everyone, and in terms of fees she's partly applying to MIT and Harvard because of their reputation/ the courses she's interested in but also because they are two of only a few unis which are needs blind for foreign students. Which we need cause there's no way we could afford all costs!

She's at a state school with no real experience of supporting someone through this but I've spoken to them (she hadn't told them!) and they're giving her similar support now to what they would arrange for Oxbridge candidates. Will pass on feedback about written vs interview as she's writing her Harvard essay just now.

Does anyone have any advice about funding? One of the things stressing me out is that she can't even get a student loan through SAAS. We'll do our best to help but there are limits to that financially and both our jobs are v insecure so no guarantees we'll have them in a year or two! Has anyone accessed bursaries or loans in relation to paying fees/accommodation?

OP’s posts: |
claraschu Sun 12-Nov-17 08:58:11

If your income is under $65,000, everything will be covered by Harvard-- room, board, and tuition. Under $85,000 it is almost all covered. Having said that, I think your daughter will be expected to contribute about $5000, either by work-study or a summer job, or you could help obviously. If the family income between 85-130 thousand, they will calculate your contribution on a sliding scale. You will need to submit detailed financial info. Admittance is need-blind.

If you are on a low income, going to Harvard is a lot cheaper than going to university over here.

As far as the application essays, there are quite a few of them, one long one, and several shorter ones, and they are all important. You should go on line and look at the kinds of essays that people write, because they are very different from the kind of essay you need to write to get into Oxford. If your daughter's school has no experience with US colleges, they may tell her things which are misleading, as the system is very different.

To help her, I think you don't need to worry about the interview, but could spend some time thinking about the application form and how to answer the various questions on it.

There is an option of submitting supporting material, such as slides of artwork, or recordings of musical performances. One boy I know who went to Harvard submitted a tape of himself doing magic tricks. This kind of thing can make a huge difference is your daughter has a real skill or significant talent. US universities love getting ahold of people with significant extra-curricular interests. If your daughter is, for instance, a fantastic artist, she should submit the slides, and then follow up by getting in touch with the art department and talking to someone there about her interest, and asking them to look at her work.

Sturmundcalm Sun 12-Nov-17 09:05:57

Thanks - her extra curricular is quite "sensible" at the moment rather than exceptional if that makes sense? She does coach an u13s team so possibly she should do something with that. She has already expressed a bit of frustration about being too much of an all-rounder rather than gifted in a particular area so will need to tread lightly in that discussion!

At the moment we would be due to pay something but not much, do you know if we can then get reassessed if our job situation changes?

OP’s posts: |
user2019697 Sun 12-Nov-17 09:34:06

Make sure that she is aware of the admissions statistics:

40,000 applications for 2000 places.

Competition for places (and places for international students in particular) is really tough, arguably more so than Oxbridge where the criteria are sharper. Oxbridge is about academics; Harvard is about academics and wow factors, with the latter being much less specific.

claraschu Sun 12-Nov-17 11:17:54

I didn't mean to imply that you have to send supporting material, just to highlight that it is an option. I don't mean to be discouraging at all!

I actually think that the US can be a great place for an all-rounder because you don't have to choose a major for the first two years. That is why my son wanted to study in the US; he had lots of subjects he liked, but wasn't sure what course he wanted to do in the UK.

Talking about coaching a team might be a good topic for one of her personal essays.

claraschu Sun 12-Nov-17 11:23:59

Yale and Princeton also have need blind admissions and treat foreign students exactly the same as US students. If your daughter really wants to go to an Ivy League College, you might consider applying to more than one, because a lot of this is the luck of the draw too.

TinklyLittleLaugh Sun 12-Nov-17 11:35:04

What an interesting thread. I'd always assumed a top US university was out of reach financially.

claraschu Sun 12-Nov-17 11:54:48

It completely depends on your circumstances, Tinkly.

TinklyLittleLaugh Sun 12-Nov-17 12:06:49

We will be retired though, by the time DC4 is off to uni. Have paid full whack for one and currently paying for two more. There's a strong likelihood our retirement income will be below $85k.

swingofthings Sun 12-Nov-17 12:44:16

As a previous European whose studied in the USA, I have found it was quite easy to work around studies. I also did my degree in three rather than 4 years my taking summer classes too. As stated, I started there with one degree and changed in Year 2 (so almost half way) and did a Major and Minor.

Work was quite abundant on the campus, including week-end work. I got a job with the Public Opinion Lab that participated in the state run public survey for the presidential election, so quite exciting, despite having little to do with my degree! At the time, you were entitled to work PT during your studies, and then up to 1 year FT after graduation or 2 years PT on the student visa, but that was a while ago and might have changed.

My parents still paid for the whole costs of the study, so not cheap, but I wouldn't change it for the world as I had the most fantastic time. I stayed for another 4 years afterwards, but then decided that it was time to come home or stay there forever and opted for coming back at the whole process of getting a green card got to me and I hated the insecurity to building a life there knowing that at any time, I might have to give it all up.

lljkk Sun 12-Nov-17 12:47:51

"Everything covered" doesn't sound quite right.
All students are expected to have part-time jobs (during term time) to help with their expenses. And a fair bit of full-time paid work out of term time. It's the norm.

TinklyLittleLaugh Sun 12-Nov-17 12:52:27

To be fair Iljkk, that's pretty much the norm here for many kids, my own included.

claraschu Sun 12-Nov-17 13:24:35

I know that at Yale, students from low-income families are expected to contribute either through work-study (about 8 hours a week on campus work) or through merit scholarships. I think the total student contribution is about $5000 a year, though it might vary. This should cover everything, with pretty generous allowances for things like books (my son didn't need as much money as the university estimated he would for extras).

Sturmundcalm Mon 29-Jan-18 16:52:53

she ended up applying for MIT, Harvard and Princeton. she's had interviews for them all (two in person in nearest city, one by skype) and we've filled out financial aid forms but she's not expecting to hear till march.

one of her subject SAT scores wasn't what she'd hoped for and considering how competitive it is we're not counting on any offers - she does have a couple of unconditionals from scottish unis so is quite lucky that way.

still not sure what we'll do if she does get an offer - panic wildly i think!

OP’s posts: |
Puzzledmum Fri 13-Apr-18 08:26:17

Very interesting thread. Can I ask - when are the applications for US unis done? My DD is in year 12 now, is it too late? Where can I find more info? Is there a website dealing with this or should I look at each uni’s page separately? Many thanks.

mathanxiety Wed 25-Apr-18 21:08:15

MIT meets the full demonstrated financial need of admitted international students as well as domestic students.
International Students
As with other undergraduates, MIT meets the full need of international undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need. International students who wish to be considered for financial aid should complete the International Student CSS PROFILE online and provide verification of parent income.

Students should also seek aid from sources other than MIT.

International students should make all arrangements for their financial obligations to MIT for their entire stay in the United States before leaving their home country.

For complete instructions on applying for financial aid, including the documents required, visit the Prospective Freshmen and Transfers page on the SFS website.

Affordable, Wherever You are From

We strive to create a diverse campus community, which is why we bring promising students from around the world to Harvard—regardless of financial circumstances.

As an international student, we know you face additional costs to attend Harvard. We will help you cover the gap between your family’s resources and the cost of attendance.

By completing an aid application for foreign students, you help us assess your financial need and ensure we provide the right level of support for you.
Prospective students

International students are eligible for the same amount of aid as US students, and the application process is essentially the same.

Follow our prospective student application instructions to apply online.

If the fee associated with the online application in any way creates a hardship, please follow this alternate set of instructions for paper submission.

I suspect, though I have not looked at every single Ivy League website (or similar - like University of Chicago, Stanford, etc) that international students are eligible for financial aid in all the extremely selective schools.

Non-US nationals who do not hold a green card are not eligible for federal loans or grants (Pell, etc).

Work study money is pocketed by the student and is supposed to help students meet expenses outside of tuition and room and board, and any book/travel stipend covered in the financial aid package.

It is worth inquiring from each university financial aid office about work study/work on campus for international students, as this may require a visa allowing the student to work as opposed to just studying.

Puzzled - look at each university's website separately.
Also look at

OP - students are required to submit personal essays as part of the application process, and your DD should absolutely work in her experience of coaching. The essays are supposed to be personal reflections. There can also be suggested topics that are open ended (for instance the topic 'Where is Waldo anyway?').

You should get in touch personally with the admissions offices of each university and ask what they require as part of the application process.

Also, you have hopefully completed the CSS profile as well as the FAFSA?
Both are used by universities to compute institutional aid to individual students.
Also, you can resit SAT subject tests.

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