I'm an applicant from India, and have applied to Harvard(EA-Deferred), Columbia, Dartmouth, Yale, Princeton, Brown and UPenn, amongst the Universities.
I've also applied to the following LAC's: Williams, Bates, Colgate, Grinnell, Swarthmore, Reed and Carleton.
I want to major in Physics, and my scores and extra-curriculars are as follows:
SAT 1: 2150, CR=710(national percentile=96),Math=710(national percentile=94), Writing=730(national percentile=97);
Math Level 2:800(national percentile=88);
Physics and Chemistry: 770(national percentile=82 and 83 respectively);
My school transcripts placed me at the top 1% of my class for my 9th and 10th years. However, ranks have slid down badly over the past year.
My Co-Curriculars include:
30 odd wins at city, regional and national level at quizzing events, for one of these quizzes I received an award from the ex-President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
Several leadership posts at school.
Have won a few national level essay/creative writing competitions, and a handful of national/city level debates and/or Model United Nations conferences.
Over the past 2 months I have received decent ranks in 3 Olympiads, which are held in India, and 7 other countries in Asia(though I think South African students do take part too).
(I came State Rank- 3rd, International Rank-81st in the Science Olympiad,
I came State Rank- 12th, International Rank-323rd in the Math Olympiad,
I came State Rank- 24th, International Rank-420th in the Cyber Olympiad)
I have helped at a home for the elderly, and have helped to educate underprivileged children from city slums.
Played for my school soccer team.
Have certification in Piano and Music Theory till Grade 5 from the Royal School of Music London.
I think my essay/essay type answers were quite strong and do me justice.
I was deferred by Harvard, but that notwithstanding, Reed is one of my favourite schools. So could anyone please chance me? Keeping in mind I need full/near full financial aid.
"Keeping in mind I need full/near full financial aid."
This is most significant issue facing you; the others fade in comparison. Reed funds around 25 internationals per year; you face stiff competition. But, 25 are funded, and much depends on factors other than GPA/rank/SAT, making it (I find) impossible to estimate a meaningful chance of admission. Of the many schools you're looking at, you could get lucky!
You're a strong candidate and, as vonlost said, you're looking at a big number of schools, which is good for an aid-seeking international. I'd say Bates and Grinnell are probably your best bets out of the schools you've applied to, but you have chances at all of them, including Reed. Getting deferred by Harvard is actually a very good sign! (Though Harvard is need-blind and some of the other schools on your list are anything but, so don't expect your RD results to align perfectly with the reach-match-safety gradient you've got there. I would be really skeptical about Colgate and Brown in particular.)
The thing about Reed admissions is that you need to show that you would fit in well with the Reed community, and not just that you're great student. You say, however, that Reed is one of your favorite schools. I hope you managed to convey that in your application because my enthusiasm for Reed was basically what got me in. (And I was an international in need of fin aid like you.)
1) It is correct that Reed physics is awesome, one of the best in the country. However, as someone without a green card, you'll run into the same difficulties getting internships as you would at any college except the most extraordinarily wealthy. (Namely, NSF-sponsored summer internships, which includes nearly all of those in the united states for undergrads, only take US citizens/permanent residents.) If you want to do physics grad school, which seems likely, research internships are very important. Lots of international students end up going to Germany for the summer for this reason.
2) I also applied for a good deal of financial aid. It makes things very difficult, even unfair. (Historically, U Chicago has has a 3% acceptance rate for aid-seeking international students, for example, even when their overall acceptance rate was 40%.) I believe Grinnell recently cut a lot of aid for international students. For what it's worth, I had research as an undergrad, SAT >2300, 'best student of my career' recommendations, did music at a high enough level to have Amherst accept me just to fill a spot in their orchestra, etc. I was _still_ rejected almost everywhere. If you get in somewhere, take the offer and consider yourself fortunate that you're receiving an American education.
3) Good luck. If you come to Reed for a visit, make sure to get a tour of the reactor.
ah. The reactor! Where'd you get the news about grinnell from? Their students seem to think international aid is still the same? Also honestly, does it look like i have a chance at the schools i listed? If so, which ones do you think are likely?
Re. Grinnell, that was hearsay. Their students are obviously more authoritative.
What I was trying to say was that, well, you're a thoroughly qualified applicant. You already know this, surely. But the odds are still long -- not zero, but long. Honestly, having talked to the sort of people who make these decisions, when they have 20 indistinguishably qualified international applicants for every seat at some point an element of randomness is introduced.
So let's do some back-of-the-napkin calculations. Suppose the mean international acceptance rate is 4% (this is not far off if I recall correctly), but suppose that you think highly of yourself and not so highly of many other applicants and say that the bottom half of international applicants won't get admitted and you're somewhere in the top half. Your chances of getting in nowhere (assuming low covariance and no colluding between schools, both bad assumptions but because the acceptance rate is so low we can run with it) are (1-0.08)^13 = 34% => 66% odds you'll get into at least one place. Now if we say you're still in the top half, but recall that Williams, Dartmouth, and Reed have acceptance rates closer to 10%, and your odds start to look pretty good.
But to quit with the back-of-napkin business, yes, I think you'll probably get into a couple places. If you have room to choose, I'd like to forward a comment I heard from the head of MIT Physics that he felt that Reed and Williams physics grads were the best prepared for MIT's physics doctoral program -- and a comment from Reed's former head of physics David Griffiths, who wrote the E&M and quantum textbooks you will almost certainly use wherever you go, that Carleton's physics program is just as good. Bates and Colgate both have rather small physics programs, and certainly aren't geared to send you to doctoral programs in the same way that Reed, Williams, and Carleton very much are. Ivies of course have so much money that whatever you do you'll be well-supported.
Nice to see someone using a mathematical approach on cc. Unusual but highly appreciated! Encouraging too! Yeah i hear reed carleton williams swarthmore have really good physics departments.
Thing is, can the same thing be said about grinnell? It seems one of my likelier options, plus their aid's good.
While chances of getting in are low, i still wish i had apped to harvey mudd. It was my top choice. Didn't even apply in the end due to my lack of time and their lack of aid!
Its funny when i hear people say brown doesn't have a strong physics department. Hell the profs look amazing. Leon cooper teaches there for god's sake!
Well, having done work with people who research superconductivity, I'm none too impressed with Leon Cooper's theories. Cooper pairing is meaningless for type 2 superconductors, after all :P (Kidding. I'm sure he's a brilliant researcher.) The year I applied to Harvey Mudd, for what it's worth, they had 5 spots for 250 applicants when it comes to internationals w/ aid. If you can get one of those spots, you can probably do better than Harvey Mudd -- like direct admission to grad school, for example. Needless to say I was not accepted.
Don't know about Grinnell's physics department, but one of our math professors did his undergrad at Grinnell and is very respected in his field; I've also had the opportunity to meet the head of Grinnell's Chinese & Japanese language and lit. department, and was quite impressed. I'm sure the college has good opportunities.
haha, well... Cooper's the reason we got forward in the field of superconductivity. Thank him for giving you something to research on! If you can, have a look at his present area of work. Its mighty interesting, albeit slightly speculative.
The prep i took for the iit's back here in india(though i.ve gone and forgotten a lot) should help in first year of college!
Just 3 more weeks till all the app results are out. I just couldn't find out when reed's releasing the emails. Any idea!?
For what its worth, reed and definitely grinnell are far wealthier colleges than mudd. If they're putting a lot of that into research ops and facilities, life can't be too bad.