How to Get Started with College List Development to Study in USA after 12th

As the breeding ground of numerous scientific, medical, and technological breakthroughs, the US remains the numero uno destination to study abroad. As usual, when it comes to college selection, a majority of aspirants eye the Ivy League and elite schools. But, are the Ivy League (and other Elite Schools) realistic for you? In this post, we will go through the process of how to approach the college list development process.

How Hard is it to Get into Ivy League Schools?

Together, Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University make up the “Ivy League.”

For international students, the acceptance rate at these Ivy League schools is less than 2%. That means, only some 50 to 70 students from India are able to make it.

Even if we look at the other elite schools like Stanford, MIT, Caltech, UC Berkeley, etc., the acceptance rate would be below around 2 – 10%.

Getting into the Ivy League schools and elite schools is hard, but not at all impossible. However, given the sheer amount of competition, your college list cannot consist of only the Ivy League and elite schools.

The Ivy League Brand Doesn’t Come at a Cheap Price

Additionally, the cost of studying at the Ivy League and Elite schools can add up to USD $75,000 – $85,000 per year (so, well above INR 2 – 2.5 Crores for 4 years).

A good number of Ivy League and Elite schools are need-blind – if you get admitted, the school will fund the demonstrated financial need. Read more about Need-Blind vs Need-Aware Financial Aid.

But, as said earlier, the odds are very low.

Hence, you have to be realistic with your chances given the fact that you will be mostly competing with other Indian applicants only (rather than a Chinese or American applicant).

So, what are the likely best-fit schools for you as an Indian applicant? In this post, we will look at some of the top-notch popular schools with decent admit rates along with the affordable cost of attendance for Indian applicants.

How to Make a Realistic College List for US Admissions?

To be honest, making a US college list is an absolute nightmare.

There are more than 4,000 colleges/universities in the US across 50 states.

Now each state will have at least 1 – 2 top-notch state universities. Then there are private universities. Then there are states like California and Texas, where there are many top-notch public universities.

All eight universities place in the top 17 of the 2022 U.S. News & World Report National Universities ranking, including four Ivies in the top five (Princeton, Columbia, Harvard, and Yale).

Even the top 75 universities in the US will be among the world’s top 200 universities.

So, you already have 60 – 75 top-notch universities to start with.

From a practical point of view, you cannot apply to more than 15 universities as that will be a sheer waste of time, effort, and money (application fees, reporting of test scores, etc.).

With so many facets to the college application process, it can be difficult for students and their families to even know where or how to begin.

So, what’s the solution?

How to Get Started with College List Development for US?

A good starting point—and one of the most important pieces of the application process—is formulating a balanced college list. 

Grade 11 is the ideal time to start, as it will allow you ample time to do your research, connect with colleges (maybe visit campuses, if possible), and eliminate schools that may not appeal to you as much as you originally thought.

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How to Make a Realistic College List as an Indian Applicant for Undergraduate Admissions in USA

Let’s have a look at the two most competitive majors in the US – Computer Science and Biological Sciences.

Case Study#1: College List Development for Computer Science Aspirant [Fall 2022 Candidate]

What is the best way to put together a college list?

Below is the recommended college list (note: the applicant was anticipating 1500+ in SAT):

[table id=119 /]

Note: This is the broad list that we provided to the candidate. The final list was of 12 universities.

Need Help with Personalized College List?

Case Study#2: College List Development for Biological Sciences Aspirant [Fall 2022 Candidate]

how to shortlist colleges in USA

Below is the recommended college list (note: the candidate was applying without any test score):

[table id=120 /]

Note: This is the broad list that we provided to the candidate. The final list was of 12 universities.

Related Post: How to Get into Ivy League and Elite Colleges as an Asian Applicant

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