Studying in the US

Binding ED for International Student at U. of Miami?

Question: I am an international student from India. My SAT score is an 1830 but I am taking SAT again in November to up my score. My first question is when I apply Early Decision to a university and ask for financial aid and they cannot meet the aid I require is the offer still binding? Secondly what are my chances of getting into U. of Miami with Early Decision? Thank You.

You don’t give a break-down of your SAT scores, but in order for any international student to apply for a scholarship at U. of Miami, the combined Critical Reading + Math score must be at least 1300. If you’ve reached that benchmark already (or if you reach it when you retake the test in the fall), then you should submit your SAT’s when you apply. However, if you don’t make 1300 on the CR + Math, then you do not need to submit your SAT’s at all (but you will not be eligible for a scholarship).


Typically, when an applicant is accepted to a U.S. college or university via the Early Decision option but does not receive adequate financial aid, then he or she can withdraw without penalty (although this must be done promptly … not months later when other aid offers are on the table).

BUT … for international students, the issue can be a bit thornier, depending on what policies are in place for international applicants (and these can vary from school to school). For instance, U. of Miami does not award need-based aid to international students, only merit scholarships. Thus, the admission folks there recommend that international students who cannot afford to enroll at U. of M. without some sort of scholarship help should apply via the non-binding Early Action program, rather than via Early Decision. Although EA does not provide the same admissions-odds boost that ED will offer at most colleges, I still think this is sound advice for international students who must rely on merit aid from Miami in order to enroll. (Most colleges do not offer both ED and EA but Miami does.)

As for your Miami ED odds … the “Dean” does not do admission chances. There are many variables that go into final admission verdicts, and it would be irresponsible to make predictions based on the limited information that I receive via Ask the Dean questions. If you have $150 U.S. to spare, you can order a Stats Evaluation from College Karma. After you’ve completed a detailed questionnaire, you will receive a Stats Evaluation report within a week (done by an admissions expert … not a computer!) This report will not only provide an assessment of your admission chances at your current target colleges but will also suggest ways to improve these chances (if possible) as well as other colleges to consider. To read about the Stats Eval (and other College Karma counseling services) go to: http://www.collegekarma.com/college_counseling/college_counseling.htm

Good luck to you, whatever you decide.

(posted 9/1/2011)