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Articles / Applying to College / Help for Disadvantaged Student from India

July 6, 2012

Help for Disadvantaged Student from India

Question: I'm a student from India who basically comes from the Indian ghetto or slums. I have to work for 7 hours to earn my school fee.

I took the SAT and SAT II and my scores are 2320 and 800, 790, 790 respectively but my school graduation percent is low (89%) but I also won state science project award five times in row and 27 awards in arts.


If I explain the university admissions officer about my situation will they compensate my school graduation percent?

Your school graduation rate might actually work in your favor, rather than against you. College officials will be impressed with the fact that you have succeeded so well in spite of the fact that you come from a disadvantaged background and from a school that doesn't typically prepare high achievers.

When you complete your college applications, be sure to use the required essay or the "Additional Information" section to explain your background and the obstacles you have surmounted.

I'm sure you will be an attractive candidate at most colleges, but do note that competition for financial aid for international students is EXTREMELY keen and that thousands of deserving applicants from India in particular seek admission to US institutions every year. Be sure to apply to a wide range of colleges, not just to those that are most famous and sought-after.

Good luck to you!

(posted 7/5/2012)

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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