Once you have this figure – your aim is to of course get as many scholarships and aid as possible, to minimize this number but it is KEY to know the number because it will determine where you apply. For example, if you are Canadian top universities in Canada will cost you less than $10,000 Canadian ... while if you are an EU Citizen you have many options across the EU for less than 10,000 Euros. If you hold US citizenship or a green card, you will be eligible for some Federal funding if your parents make below $40,000USD / year, and if they are residents of a given state you may qualify for in-state tuition.
Budget guides SO much! (HINT: most LARGE scholarships are concentrated in the USA – so pay close attention to the colleges that visit your country and your high school, and the maximum scholarship they award!)
Location – What locations are you willing to consider? Think about distance from home and the number of flights, weather, and possible opportunities. In what setting will you feel most comfortable?
Location Type – Do you want a college that is in an urban, suburban or rural setting?
Style of Learning – UK universities are very EXAM focused (fail end of year exams and you've failed the entire year my friends) ...
Major – What's your intended major? If you don't know exactly what you want to study, are there subjects that you are learning towards? What do you like to learn? Not sure? The US allows you to declare undecided than explore...
Extracurricular Activities – Are there specific extracurricular activities that are important to you? Do you have a HOOK? Special achievement in something? Those kinda schools will want you and may be willing to offer you top scholarships too!
Athletics – Do you want to be a college athlete and compete competitively for the college? Again, this could be a great HOOK!
Religious Affiliation – Do you want to attend a religious college?
Class and Student Population Size – Do you want to go to a college that is the size of your high school or the size of a city? Do you learn best in small or large classes, or does it not matter?
Other Things You Want or Need – What else counts? For some being close to a sibling or aunty counts. Job placement after college is very important to some. IMMIGRATION options (hellooo Canada!) are super important to some parents and students. Whatever counts for you .. consider as you select colleges!
That said, you should have 2-3 REACH Schools this is where their admit rate is below 20%, you need 4-5 Target schools where your scores and GPA are in the range of the mid 50% the college admits, and then 2-3 Foundation schools where your scores are stronger than the student this school typically admits.
If you are an International Student seeking aid you need to understand that there is no such thing as safety for you, and you must aim t apply to schools where you are in the top 25% of students the school typically accepts.
Here's an example of a past AIMer who wanted to study Engineering. He was Jamaican and needed a full scholarship.
He had 5'1s in CAPE (Math plus 3 sciences) and a 1440 SAT super score, Math and Physics subject tests of 730 and 740 respectively.
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