I will soon be applying to Rice University for the fall semester. I am curious what my chances of being accepted are.
I served for five years in the U.S. Army as an intelligence analyst with two deployments to Iraq. I was honorably discharged last June. I have since taken a full course load at Lone Star College and I have earned 25 credit hours with a 4.0 GPA.
I am hoping they will disregard my high-school grades as that was at a different time in my life, I graduated High School with 2.7 GPA.
I recently took the SAT and scored a 2050. I am concerned my SAT scores may be a bit low. The section scores follow:
Unfortunately, I do not have many extra-curricular activities to add to my application. I am hoping my military service will suffice.
I know I do not have the greatest stats. But I am hoping they actually follow the 'holistic' approach they advertise and take into account my life experience.
Do I have a chance of being accepted?
Additionaly, could anyone offer some advice for writing the essay?
It seems you have a good shot, especially since you will bring diversity to Rice based on your life experiences. I think your SAT scores are fine, but if you can retake it, then it wouldn't hurt to do so.
In your essay, I believe you should focus on how your personality and experiences would contribute to the Rice experience and residential college life. I would also show genuine enthusiasm for Rice and all it offers in your Why Rice? essay.
I will be honest. Had you applied for freshman admission to Rice, you probably would have been denied due to your low GPA and no extracurricular activities. Now on the other hand, you will be able to "wow" the admissions office with your military background and 4.0 GPA in college courses. It seems to me the military served you well and taught you some self motivation. Hey, we all were kinda apathetic from academics at least in some point in your lives. Some people really exhibit this idea in high school while others are really focused in high school. It just depends.
I can't guarantee you admission but I can tell you that Rice really emphasizes an amazing college GPA to gain transfer admission with less emphasis on other factors like your high school records and the like. They actually have a minimum college GPA for transfers of at least a 3.2. Obviously to have a competitive chance it's best to have as high above a 3.2 as you can. You have this down! Your SAT score will be important though so I think your score will be more than enough to impress. Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect, but it should be competitive with other applicants. Other than that, I wish you best! Apply as soon as possible. Rice is a great school and I hope they accept you.
I'm sorry, I didn't notice the snippet on how to write your essay. Basically, i would write about your military service and how that completely changed you for the better. Definitely mention that, prior to the military, high school was a bad place for you having achieved only a 2.7 GPA. However, with the help of the military, you were able to obtain a whopping 4.0 GPA in college courses. However, it's the in between stuff that will probably be the meat of your essay so I suggest you write what duties you had while on service and definitely mention your deployments to Iraq and what happened there. Emphasize pathos *emotion* but back it up with how that connected to your maturity. That should be enough for you to gain admission. But, if you don't do anything I suggested, please don't lie on your essay. I know they probably won't ever find out but I think writing about true events will be the best way to go. In other words, don't write so that they can be impressed and what you think they will like, but instead how the events you went through shaped who you are now.
At this point in your career, your HS GPA isn't even going to be compared to your recent GPA and experiences. Admissions tends to understand that what was true for an individual in high school isn't always true for an individual who has long passed that stage, and your recent stellar GPA illustrates a much clearer picture of your current academic abilities.
In terms of your recent GPA, congratulations on making the transition to college level work without any problems. It's definitely something that will look great on your application.
Regarding the SAT, I personally think that admissions is likely to put less weight on your SAT score as well, and even then you're still right on or above the fiftieth percentile.
In terms of extracurricular activities, I wouldn't worry too much. Two deployments to Iraq with the United States Army says much more about who you are than any number of meaningless leadership positions that students can place on their applications these days. What is important though is showing how your service has changed and shaped you to who you are today.
What's going to be most important here is the transfer essays. Your GPA/SAT demonstrate that you're able to handle Rice's coursework, and your past experience in the Army provides little room for anybody to question your maturity. But why Rice?
Essentially, the question that you need to answer (both for your own sake and for the application essay) is why you wish to transfer to Rice. Why do you want to go to Rice over a more traditional institution such as UT (I'm assuming you're a Texas resident)? Is it any specific academic programs? The people? The medical center? Having clear reasons makes this much easier.
This is going to especially key for you, being significantly older than 99% of the Rice undergraduate population. Rice has particular emphasis on its residential college system, but it's definitely different for individuals who are not coming in directly out of high school. I know of a few individuals who have transferred in after a few years out of higher education, and found something of a disconnect from a lot of what encompasses the traditional undergraduate Rice experience. This definitely doesn't mean that they've had bad experiences, but definitely a much different experience.
That being said, having already spent a number of years in the "real world", so to speak, I feel that you are much more capable of taking advantage of the endless opportunities offered by Rice than most of the undergraduates. Are you already set on what you wish to study/major in at Rice?
I transferred in myself this past fall 2009, and I can tell you that Rice possesses a number of amazing facets but also a number of drawbacks, depending on what you're looking for out of college and a college experience. In the end you just want to make sure that Rice is the right place for you.
Finally, thank you so much for all that you've done. Serving our country is something that isn't as appreciated nearly as much as it should be anymore.
You have more than a good shot at transferring in, and I encourage you to apply. Best of luck with the application, and feel free to PM me with questions.
Thank you, I appreciate the detailed responses. I feel better about my chances of being accepted. The military completely changed me and I will relate that in my essay.
I hope I am not too much older then the rest of the students. I will be turning 25 this summer. I realize the majority of them are straight out of high school but I hope are a few are my age and maturity level. I am not too concerned about feeling out of place but I dont want it to hinder my education.
I am living with my fiance about 30 minutes from the campus. I dont plan on living on campus. Are there many students that live off of campus?