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Articles / Applying to College / Is American Abroad an International Applicant?

April 8, 2012

Is American Abroad an International Applicant?

Question: Do I count as an international student if I completed all of my high school in another country but was born in the U.S.? And can I get financial aid if my parents have a house here in the U.S. and pay taxes?

You say that you were born in the U.S., so I assume that you are an American citizen. Is that correct? If so, then you are eligible for U.S. Federal financial aid, regardless of where you grew up and attended high school.


BUT ... beyond that, colleges will vary on how they regard you. Those that have special forms for international students or test requirements (e.g., TOEFL) for candidates whose first language isn't English (or whose high school instruction is not in English) may expect you to follow the protocol for international applicants. It makes sense for you to contact each admission office and ask where you fall, once you've finalized your college list. (This can also be a good way to connect with the staff member who oversees applicants from ... well ... overseas. ;))

However, financial aid is the biggie, and it sounds like you'll be fine in that department, no matter where you live.

(posted 4/8/2012)

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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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