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New here!! Need an ASAP help because i am running short of time!

Keira01Keira01 Posts: 28Registered User New Member
edited October 2011 in College Admissions
So here is my story in a gist!
I am a 19yr old Indian and I want to study in an IVY league(or University of California,Berkeley) next year,as a computer engineering freshmen!

I was a topper of my high school and i got 92% in secondary school certificate.
The past 2 years of my life has been very very hectic,challenging and sort of a nightmare.
My grandfather suddenly fell terribly sick and my parents had to leave town to visit him.
I couldn't accompany them because it was 11th grade and my junior college does not grant leave application for more than 2days.So my parents had to reluctantly leave me with my neighbour.My neighbour is a working lady so that practically made me all alone.
I had to take responsibility of my college,my academics,classes,extra curricular activities and condition at home alone.
Meanwhile,i was struggling hard for IIT-JEE exam.Most of you should be knowing what it is because its the world's toughest exam.I had no one to help me because my parents were far away from me taking care of my grandpa.I had to travel to far off places(3hrs by bus) for my IIT JEE classes.I stood 1st in my 11th grade 1st unit test but things got worse after that.
My parents had to extent their stay because my grandpa was in a critical stage.I realized IIT is my only goal and they don't need any information regarding a candidate's GPA or high school record.You qualify in their exam and then you get in accordingly;so i did not pay attention to my college and struggled very hard to crack the IIT JEE.
I am a simple person with a very high thinking.I am from a small town and the schools here are simple,strict with almost NO extra curricular activity facility.They are totally based on books ,books and BOOKS!! You need to mug up word to word of the book like a bookworm to score good but I hate doing that because science is all about high thinking and practical application(which is what IIT is about)Neither do they have facilities for studying foreign languages nor facilities for giving an Olympiad exam for the 9th-12th grade students.There are no clubs or hi-fi varsity sports facility available yet I have been an active member of my high school football team for 5years and served as a leader for 2years(during my 9th-10th grade) My junior college did not have any of these facilities so I could not avail them.
I fell sick 2days prior my Higher Secondary exam.I was diagnosed with pneumonia.Doctors told me to take a complete bed rest but I knew I couldn't do that even if I had to.
I got 71% on my Higher Secondary School Certificate.My parents were still far away.
They know I should have got atleast 20% more but they are still proud of me for my achievement despite all these unexpected challenges.They are proud of my responsibility.
Few months later,I got my IIT JEE result.I got a good rank but I did not get the subject of my choice so I had to skip because I do not believe in attending a college just for its prestigious name.I took a year off.I wanted to explore the world because I did not get a chance to do anything good during my 9th-12th grade phase.I started tutoring a small group of poor kids for free for IIT JEE exam.4 out of 9 students have qualified and I am very proud about it.
My ambition in life is to become an astronaut scientist and work for NASA.That's my ambition since i was 6.I did not have a computer back then so i used to spend hours and hours of time on my high school library reading space science books.Then i just got a laptop 4months ago and i studied about the String theory and The Super String theory in depth.I took a tour to NASA this summer and accidentally met an amazing scientist Herb Zeigler.He is retired but he is still in touch with the agency.I told him about my passion and we spent 13hours discussing about the Super String theory.I cam back home and visited a famous Atomic Research Center in the nearby town,to study more about atoms.
I did not initially plan to take the SAT but now when I figured out what do I want from myself I have planned my future well and NASA is my ultimate destiny.
My family has returned back home,a month ago,from my native place.The big mess is that I only have 2months time left to give all the standardized exams because majority of the good colleges have their application deadline by december end.I have my 1st TOEFL the next month and 1 ACT and 3subject tests(MAth I,II and physics) on december mid.So i only have 2 months on hand and I have to do my best in my 1st shot because I won't get another opportunity like millions of applicants.I have full confidence on myself that I shall score between 31-34 on my ACT test and 720+ on my SAT 2.We only had 1 chemistry scholarship exam during my 11th grade i got qualified.That was it.
Do you think my low GPA scores and unavailability of extracurricular activities can stop me from getting into an IVY league or University of California ,Berkeley?? I have learnt that all these colleges stress a lot on high school achievement but as i mentioned above my high school did not have these facilities and I have participated in the smallest of all the facilities available.I have represented my high school for inter school debates.Participated every year for my High school annual event.Learnt classical dance for 10yrs and music for 7yrs.
So i need your views.Thank you for reading.I appreciate it!!

P:S:I apologize for my typos.I wrote it in a haste
Post edited by Keira01 on
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Replies to: New here!! Need an ASAP help because i am running short of time!

  • fall2016parentfall2016parent Posts: 823Registered User Member
    Ok..quick feedback.
    "I got my IIT JEE result.I got a good rank but I did not get the subject of my choice " Can you take the exam again and try to qualify?

    Unless you had other great choices, I would have taken up on this. It does not matter what your undergrad is, as long as you show initiative and a good GPA at the undergrad level, you could have applied to the US for graduate studies.

    While I understand your hardships, I can only tell you colleges here WILL look at your gpa. Again, if you get amazing test scores, your slightly low GPA may look credible. Then there is the matter of financial aid. Your chances may reduce as compared to other Indian students. While hardships can help to a certain extent, colleges will not take you over another Indian student with super high scores all around.

    You are starting a bit late, I would look at the colleges website for deadlines. Unfortunately, it is what it is. You can try next Fall and in the meantime, do meaningful activities until then.
  • itsme123itsme123 Posts: 1,104Registered User Senior Member
    while i sympathize what had happened, i or no one can tell how the ad coms will view your case. in the end you have to overcome your credentials or lack of them by your passion and other things. it's going to be very subjective.

    you should know you will get nothing from cal in terms of fin aid. can you afford.

    if i were to prognosticate, your chances are very very slim. my suggestion would be to get your undergrad degree in India and try us for grad school.
  • Keira01Keira01 Posts: 28Registered User New Member
    I don't have a financial problem right now because had it been so then I wouldn't have been able to give those 3standardized exams 1stly as they are charged even higher fee for international students.
    I don't have any other option left other than studying in the US because all institutions in India are closed for admission for the fall 2011.
    Also,I qualified and had a rank of 1214 in IIT JEE and all the prestigious US universities know its tough to get that but I can't sit for for it again because that means another year in waste.
    I am running short of time and US is the only option available right now for the fall 2012 where I MAY get into a good college with a very good ACT score because few colleges like Princeton etc have mentioned that a candidate can send their ACT scores latest by mid feb
    We don't even have a GPA system in schools here.Its strictly the % system so I don't know what would my GPA score be approx.
    Right now all I am concerned is IF i get a 100+ in TOEFL ,32+ in all ACT subjects and 720+ in SAT II.A good genuine essay involving all my hardships and unavailability of facilities which these US colleges look for.I really hope this covers up my low GPA.I am not sure :\
  • nina1228nina1228 Posts: 936Registered User Member
    Have you considered schools outside of the ones you mentioned? There are many schools here in the US that offer a great education to students, not just the Ivies and the UCs. Carnegie Mellon comes to mind if you are interested in computers.
  • Keira01Keira01 Posts: 28Registered User New Member
    Carnegie Mellon is certainly a good 1 and I shall keep that in mind.I wanted to apply for Stanford as well but it has a strict deadline by dec end along with ACT and SAT2 scores so sadly I can't apply for stanford :\

    How about Cornell,Columbia,Princeton and UC berkeley ?? IS it too tough to get in with my above mentioned details??
    I am trying my best for an IVY for my undergrad because I have gotto do my PhD from HARVARD so it shall be easier for me to get into Harvard for my grad if i get into an IVY now.
    What i liked about Princeton is that they have their deadline by feb mid and they have clearly mentioned "We understand if you don't have good facilities in your school"
    So I really hope they consider my case.

    So is it too tough to get in despite of scoring good in ACT and SAT2 ??
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Posts: 24,263Registered User Senior Member
    How about Cornell,Columbia,Princeton and UC berkeley ?? IS it too tough to get in with my above mentioned details??
    I am trying my best for an IVY for my undergrad because I have gotto do my PhD from HARVARD so it shall be easier for me to get into Harvard for my grad if i get into an IVY now.

    No, you don't HAVE to get your PhD from Harvard. I don't know why there is this constant misinformation and why the Indian community in America never seems to try to correct the misperceptions that apparently exist back in India. There are lots of excellent schools in America; the Ivy League, Stanford and UC Berkeley happen to be among them. But America is not like India, in which either you get into a handful of schools or you are out of luck and will never amount to anything. Stop idolizing these schools and treating them as the only worthwhile ones, for either undergraduate or graduate, and explore other options too. Set your sites more realistically. Best of luck to you.
  • Keira01Keira01 Posts: 28Registered User New Member
    You completely misunderstood .
    I am not worshiping Harvard because of its prestigious name.Every1 has an ultimate goal to accomplish and you need to make plans to reach your goal.
    I skipped IIT and that's the best institute in India and well known all over the world but i skipped it because studying in a very good college in the US shall help me increase my scope for working at NASA.
    I want Harvard and only Harvard for my graduation BECAUSE it offers the highest scholarship amount to students who do academically well;something approx 42,000$.
    Additionally,i have a cousin in Boston so I want to study there for my grad.I love its campus and the environment.
    Furthermore,believe it or deny it but the truth is that not only the Indian students but also the majority of the bright American students have Harvard,MIT and other Ivie's in their 1st priority list for college consideration.Besides,every person has his/her own perception.
    For now,I want to get into some IVY or UC,Berkeley because UC berkeley has the best research program for space science and astronautics.
  • itsme123itsme123 Posts: 1,104Registered User Senior Member
    i think you got some good suggestions from many to consider. in the end it's your decision, and no one can tell definitively your chances. only way to find out is by applying.

    but, i reiterate, since you asked, your chances of getting into the schools you mentioned is slim, very slim, very very slim.

    again, you have worthy goals. you should pursue them. but you should be realistic that not everyone with such goals achieve, let along following the path dreamed as a child.

    your ability to work for nasa or stay in boston area do not restrict you to one school.

    pizzagirl is right. stop obsessing about a singular goal. let it be out there and try to do the best under the circumstances. your mention of getting fin aid is contrary to your claim that you have lots of $$ (taking standardized tests etc.).

    you could get in at Illinois, Purdue etc. great engineering schools (without any financial aid) and still do all that you want in life.
  • Keira01Keira01 Posts: 28Registered User New Member
    Illinois is good.Worst problem about all the colleges is that they stress a lot on the GPA system.
    For me I only have 1 option left i.e.to do exceptionally well on the standardized tests.
    I had my 1st Math II practice test and i got 800 and that makes me a little hopeful.. *fingers crossed*
    I am not Harvard obsessed currently.Right now all i want is to get into a good college for computer engineering.
    All i hope is that my test scores compensate for my low GPA.
    I don't know what would they calculate 92% and 71% in terms of GPA.
    But 1 thing i fail to understand is that is it impossible for getting admission at UC Berkeley?? I just read their application in depth and they mentioned that an ACT score of 30+ can help a candidate compensate for his/her low GPA.
    Besides they have the facility of providing a good personal statement explaining the reason behind your low GPA's and if a candidate had to go through hardships.
    This made me a little hopeful but I am still not too sure.Though I am applying, of course.
  • greennbluegreennblue Posts: 1,736Registered User Senior Member
    Are you a US citizen? Your citizenship will affect your chances of admission to US colleges as well as your eligibility to work for NASA:
    Citizenship
    With the exception of the Senior Executive Service (SES), NASA positions almost always require US citizenship. The job announcement will specify if citizenship is required. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may wish to consider opportunities with one of our International Space Partners. The NASA Jobs web page has information on these partners, Job Information/Other Opportunities/Information for Non U.S. Citizens.
  • ShrinkrapShrinkrap Posts: 11,351Registered User Senior Member
    This is probably way over my head, but I am responding because I have followed UC admissions fro awhile. Here is what I don't understand; If in fact your ONLY option is to go to a US school in fall 2012, why would you limit your applications to schools with such low odds? I totally get that they are great schools, that the deadlines are right, and that some ivy's may offer great need based aid. But "odds" are "odds", and as far as I can tell, they are not in your favor ( schools with a less than 20 percent admit rate are not in ANYONE'S favor!). Would you not like to hear about options with better odds?
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Posts: 18,811Registered User Senior Member
    Keira01 -

    You have got to stop trying to do this all on your own. Start by reading through everything at EducationUSA | Study Abroad, Student Visa, University Fairs, College Applications and Study in the U.S. / America That will help you understand the system here a lot better. Then get in touch with the Advising Center closest to where you live. There are several in India: EducationUSA - Find an Advising Center EducationUSA is a not-for-profit organization, and many of the counselors are volunteers who have studied in the US. They can tell you which colleges and universities here have admitted students like you in recent years, and whether they received any financial aid or not (if financial aid is an issue for you).

    You also should spend some time reading through the India sub-forum in the International Students forum here at CC. You can find that by going to the main page where all of the forums are listed, and scrolling down.

    As for pre-NASA studies, what is it you want to do? I know a student at Guilford who chose it because the Astronomy and Physics professors have good contacts with NASA. That student is currently completing a degree in Physics and will be headed into a Ph.D. program next fall. Whether NASA proves to be a future employer or not remains to be seen, but the bases for that student's future career were indeed covered by a not-so-very-famous institution of higher education.

    It is important that you know that anyone who does not receive full funding for a Ph.D. program in a scientific, engineering, or mathematical field is a person who the grad school admissions committee doesn't think has what it takes to complete a Ph.D. Harvard is not the only place that fully funds their Ph.D. students. You do not need to plan your life around getting into that university. Depending on what your goals do turn out to be, there is every possibility that the Ph.D. program that is best for you won't be at Harvard.

    Yes, you want to be in college/university somewhere in the fall of 2012. However it is not a life- or career-ender if you must take a gap year. Think about what else you could do for a year while sorting out your options. If the US doesn't work out for you, please remember that there are a number of very fine universities in Australia (not to mention a really cool tracking station Tidbinbilla Information ) and the academic year there starts in February or so.
  • ConsolationConsolation Posts: 13,196Registered User Senior Member
    Testing advice...

    Don't take Math I and Math II; schools do not want to see both of them. Take Math II, especially if you have an 800 on the practice test. Also take Physics and/or Chemistry. Make sure to consult the test prep book to make sure that you have covered the material covered by the test. Your biggest testing hurdle is going to be the reading and writing sections of the ACT, and possibly to a lesser degree, TOEFL. (I've known some kids who can barely communicate in English in real life, and who cannot write a good essay in the language to do well enough on the computer-based TOEFL to get by. The ACT is another matter.) If I were you, I would run through the math and science sections a couple of times just to make sure you have the material down, and--assuming that you score 33+ in those sections--spend most of your prep time on reading and writing. The Ivies, in particular, want students who can read and write REALLY well. You WILL need excellent essays. I suggest you think about your "string theory epiphany" as a topic. :) (BTW, if theoretical physics floats your boat, why are you obsessing about computer engineering??)
    I want Harvard and only Harvard for my graduation BECAUSE it offers the highest scholarship amount to students who do academically well;something approx 42,000$.

    This is confusing. Are you talking about graduate or undergraduate school? In either case, I think you are wrong in thinking that Harvard offers more $$ to students than Yale--definitely--or several other top universities. Moreover, at least at the undergraduate level, the aid is completely need-based. I strongly doubt that they offer more $$ to graduate students than other top programs.

    Regarding your secondary certificate grades: are these based solely on a single exam sitting, or are they actual grades for actual courses? I think that any good school in the US is going to know what it means to do well enough to be admitted to ITT. Personally, I think you ought to go there if things don't work out at a need-based, no-loan school in the US. Come to the US for graduate school.

    Lastly, one "takes" an exam, one does not "give" it. :)
  • Keira01Keira01 Posts: 28Registered User New Member
    But there are many Indians working at Kennedy Space Center and in a respectable position.
    Yes majority of them are US settled Indians but there are also some who have done their undergrad studies from a reputed US college.For eg.I have an acquaintance working at NASA.He is an Indian and he did his undergrad studies from Columbia,Masters from UC Berkeley and PhD from Harvard.
    He inspired me and hence I am determined to work through all my odds..*fingers crossed*
  • Keira01Keira01 Posts: 28Registered User New Member
    I have considered few good Non Ivies like UC Berkeley and University of Michigan and Purdue university as my backup.
    Harvard is after 4yrs,I am concerned about my present and I shall be more than happy to get UC Berkeley for the Fall 2012 because its the best engg college besides the IVY and it has the best space research program which may help me accomplish my dream.
    I am just unsure about compensating my GPA with a very good ACT score
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