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Confused. Help!!!

rhshanksrhshanks Posts: 58Registered User Junior Member
edited November 2012 in United Kingdom
I'm a senior, and I'll be taking the SAT for the last time this coming November. I will also be taking the Edexcel International GCSE in January; I decided to take the five main subjects: English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics, only. Because the deadline for the University I want to apply to (the U of M) is the 15th of Dec., I'll have to send my Sat scores right away, but I wouldn't have my high school transcript. Even if I attached a letter notifying the date at which I would get my results, what would I use in place of the high school transcript. Needless to say, Sat scores alone wouldn't be enough to determine my capability and acceptance to the University. This is especially true by the fact that I don't score high in the Sat (previously I got 440CR, 550M, and 560W). Anyhow, I am confident that in this coming Sat Test my scores will improve drastically.

I am a citizen of the US who is living in a foreign country and planning to return to the US for University.

Main question: As in my case, what can I do to increase my chance of being accepted to the U of M?

I would appreciate any piece of advice.
Thank you
Post edited by rhshanks on
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Replies to: Confused. Help!!!

  • boomtingboomting Posts: 689Registered User Member
    Firstly - what university is the U of M? Manchester? Maryland? It's not entirely clear if it's in the UK (seeing as that's the forum where you've posted) or the US!
  • TheRealKEVPTheRealKEVP Posts: 986- Member
    Wow. I live in the state of Michigan, so I immediately assumed that "U of M" meant "University of Michigan." Because that's what it means here in Michigan!

    rhshanks is an American citizen, currently attending "high school" in a different country, planning to go to University in the USA (U of M could therefore mean University of Maine, Maryland, Massachussets, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri or Montana. That's all the U.S. states that begin with a letter "M". But probably at least some of them do not have a "U of M".)

    These universities are well aware of the funky things that happen with specific documents (like transcripts) not being available on time for no fault of the applicant. You probably want to contact the university, ask to speak to an admissions counselor, and explain the situation to the admissions counselor. Would you have a high school transcript that only covers what you have already done in high school, i.e the courses you have taken and grades you have earned SO FAR? Obviously, NOBODY has a complete high school transcript before they graduate!!!

    In terms of more general advice for admissions to a U.S. university, the university will be impressed by all kinds of high grades and test scores, but they are also looking for people who are "well-rounded". They are not particularly looking for specialists. They want to see someone who has other interests besides their intended major, and maybe someone who has taken leadership positions and helped out in their community. So make sure you discuss everything you have done even if it has nothing to do with your intended major.

    KEVP
  • jay555jay555 Posts: 27Registered User New Member
    I'm confused GCSEs are usually taken at 16, and not usually what university entrance is based on.
  • MaxyendMaxyend Posts: 369Registered User Member
    Yeah, you can't apply to university with GCSEs as far as I'm aware (except for some of the bottom universities, maybe).
  • TheRealKEVPTheRealKEVP Posts: 986- Member
    The OP is applying to an American university, not a British one.

    The OP has not told us what country they are currently attending school in.

    They may be attending an "American School", that is a school that has an American curriculum and is just like an American High School.

    The OP may be mis-using the term "GCSE", or using it in a different way.

    I think the OP needs to give us a LOT more information.

    Why is it that so many posters won't tell us what country they are in? They always say "I am an international student" or "I am a student in a foreign country" and for some reason they think they need to keep the actual country a secret.

    KEVP
  • rhshanksrhshanks Posts: 58Registered User Junior Member
    Sorry for the dearth of the information I provided.
    I don't know if the Edexcel IGCSE is tested in the age of 16, but in my school it is considered a standard examination which promotes students to Universities and Colleges. I am planning to apply to the University of Minnesota, in the US. I currently live in the UK.

    By the way, a High School transcript is a certificate giving information about one's final exam result in year 11 or 12th grade, isn't it?

    and...who are the OP?
  • cupcakecupcake Posts: 1,523Registered User Senior Member
    OP= original poster. That's you rhshanks.

    You cannot go to a UK university with only GCSEs. You need to do A-levels or other higher level study. So are you applying to the US because you can't get in in the UK? Thinking it will be easier? I don't agree.
  • TheRealKEVPTheRealKEVP Posts: 986- Member
    "GCSE" is not good enough to get you into college in the U.S. or in the U.K.

    UK students who are planning to go to college take something called "A-levels".

    If you are going to school in the UK, I'm amazed that you don't know that. Are you in some sort of school that doesn't use the British system? Are you in an "American School" or something like that?

    This is still all very mysterious, and doesn't make sense. You are using American terms like "SAT" and "senior", yet you don't know what a high school transcript is. You claim to be attending school in the UK, but you don't use any of the terminology of the UK education system, and seem to be unaware of it.

    I think we still need more information.

    A High School Transcript gives complete information about all grades earned for every course taken in every year of high school. In the U.S., "high school" is usually the last four years of school before college. Typically a high school student takes five or six courses each term or semester of these four years, and receives a grade in each one from each teacher teacher. These grades are usually at least partially based on in-school exams, but don't have to be, it depends on however individual high school teachers choose to grade.

    If you really are a "foreign student" then obviously they won't expect you to have something so American as a High School Transcript. The University of Minnesota will have Admissions Counselors who are familiar with the differences in other countries.

    Are you perhaps homeschooled?

    KEVP
  • rhshanksrhshanks Posts: 58Registered User Junior Member
    Thank you for the information TheRealKEVP. I know about the A-levels but I though that the GCSE's were enough. This would mean that I would have to spend another year studying A-level subjects before I could apply for US Universities. How many subjects would be enough for A-levels? Would four subjects (Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology) be enough?

    As you guessed I didn't go to school (high school) and was home-schooled; as a result, I don't have any high school transcript. I had thought all this time that a high school transcript was the final certificate one gets after he or she has done the GCSE's or A-levels.

    Anyhow thank you all for trying to help me
  • TheRealKEVPTheRealKEVP Posts: 986- Member
    High school transcript is something American. British students won't have one.

    GCSEs and A-levels are something British. American students won't have such things.

    Really, your question needs to be "How do I get into college when I have been homeschooled." That might be more of a question for a board that discusses homeschooling (is there a separate forum for that here on CC?). Also contact the Admissions Counselors at the University of Minnesota and ask them about requirements for homeschooled students.

    I do think your SAT scores are very low. You may not be ready yet to go to university.

    KEVP
  • boomtingboomting Posts: 689Registered User Member
    It's normal in the UK to do 4 AS Levels, and then top 3 of them up to the full A Level, although some people just do three or four full A Levels. They are normally studied full time over two years, between the ages of 16 and 18.

    You will, however, struggle to do science A Levels at home. They tend to involve the use of specialist equipment, and it is at this point that it really becomes necessary to have teachers who are experts in their subject. If studying at a local college is an option, then that will be the best option for you in terms of the grades you get.

    I took A Levels (Geography, Psychology and Politics, plus AS Levels in Physics and Critical Thinking), so if you've got any more questions I'll be happy to help you.
  • TheRealKEVPTheRealKEVP Posts: 986- Member
    I'm sorry I have to say this, but with SAT scores that low, I doubt whether rhshanks will be able to get good scores on his GCSEs and A-levels.

    I never took GCSE's (I'm so old that I took one of their predecessors, "O-levels") but I know that A-levels are much, much harder than SAT's. (O-levels were too, I took both).

    Unless rhshanks took his SATs like five years ago or something, so don't really represent where he is now.

    I'm having a real hard time coming up with some reason why somebody who got SAT scores so low could suddenly do well on A-levels.

    "Homeschooling" is much more tolerated in the US than it is in the UK. I suggest that you contact the universities in the US and tell them your story. "I am an American citizen, but I was homeschooled because my family lived in the UK. Here are my SAT scores . . . yadda yadda yadda"

    I think you can one day achieve all your dreams, but it could take some time and a lot of work.

    KEVP
  • LaylahLaylah Posts: 441Registered User Member
    I'm still confused, OP. You say you're home-schooled and don't go to school, but you also say "I don't know if the Edexcel IGCSE is tested in the age of 16, but in my school it is considered a standard examination which promotes students to Universities and Colleges."

    So what exactly is your school? Is it a home-schooling group? Have other people from your group gone on to university directly after completing their GCSEs? If so, I would suggest you speak to them directly about what they put in their applications.

    Although I know you're planning on applying to US universities rather than UK universities, just to add - I notice that you have only done 5 GCSEs. This is the absolute MINIMUM a UK university will accept (and you will still need to do A-levels or some other higher level study), so if you're applying to UK universities as well you will need to justify why you did so few, and show how you covered the breadth of the high school curriculum even though you didn't do the exams. Most applicants will have done at least 8-10 GCSEs.
  • cupcakecupcake Posts: 1,523Registered User Senior Member
    I did know someone at Cambridge who was homeschooled. However, though she did not do GCSEs she had attended a 6th form college and done A levels. In this case the student lived on an island in Scotland and her parents did not want her to go to boarding school until she was 16. So you need pretty extreme circumstances to be home schooled in the UK i think. But i am not sure the OP is actually homeschooled as the first post mentions school. I agree with the posters above that the OP may not yet be ready for college and if only at GCSE standard or lower needs to work on either SAT, AP or A levels.
  • rhshanksrhshanks Posts: 58Registered User Junior Member
    TheRealKEVP: ''I'm sorry I have to say this, but with SAT scores that low, I doubt whether rhshanks will be able to get good scores on his GCSEs and A-levels.'' Despite my low SAT scores, I usually get As or A*s whenever I do past papers of the GCSEs. My major problem in the SAT is the shortness of the allotted time for each of it's sections. I can solve almost each question right if I had about double the given time. This is why I am planning to redo the SAT some other time in the future after I have had lots of practice.

    Its really unfortunate that I will face difficulties in getting accepted to US Universities, but I'll find a way eventually.
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