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Chances at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, MIT and

SA1133SA1133 Posts: 28Registered User New Member
edited November 2012 in What Are My Chances?
Hi There

So, I'm 17 and currently living in South Africa. If I don't get in to one of the above universities, I'll probably study an undergrad here at home, but it would be a dream come true to study in the States.

I'm not really sure how this all works, but I've just put together some of the stuff I think I'd want to mention in an application. How would you all suggest structuring this? Am I missing anything? Should I get rid of some of it? Anyway - I'm looking forward to the adventure :)

Here's my info :) ...

Schooling
Theron Scholar at Bishops Diocesan College (elite private school)
Ranked first in Grade since 2011 - 92% Average (an A is 80% here)
Take 10 Subjects (including one AP - which is the only one offered at school)
To try and extend myself, I self-studied to do 6 IGCSEs at age 14, and 2 AS-levels at age 15 - received all As
Expect to average 95% for my final year at school, which should rank me top 30 in South Africa
Recent SAT practice test: 2200 - I write on December 1st properly, and will study before then - I hadn't looked into the test until my first attempt last night

Public Speaking
First competed in 2010 - attended the National Champs and ranked 10th - selected for Team South Africa to compete at WIDPSC (World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championships) in Brisbane the next year and ranked 3rd for prepared speech - top 30 overall.
Next competed in 2012 - attended the National Champs and ranked 1st - top 3 for impromptu, prepared speech and debating - will attend WIDPSC again in Durban next year and am hoping to rank top 5
Chairman of school's public speaking society since the end of 2011 and offer coaching to a group of about 40 students

Debating
Started in June 2011
Selected to compete provincially, then nationally and then internationally by March 2012
Currently one of 5 members of the national team
Competed at the BSDC (Slovakia) this year and ranked as 5th best speaker
Competed at the TSDC (Thailand) this year and ranked as 3rd best speaker
I will be competing as a member of Team South Africa at the World Championships early next year (super excited :D - South Africa's never won, we keep just missing it)
Debating uses up hours of my time - since I started, I'd estimate an average of 8 hours a week not including special events and tournaments - basically my sport :P

Music
ABRSM Grade 8 Piano '10 - playing for over 10 years - saved my life - several notable performances including Poulenc Piano Concerto and Saint-Saens Carnivale of the Animals - further experience as a band leader and accompanist as well.
ABRSM Grade 7 Flute '12 - playing for 4 years - member of orchestra, wind band and flute ensemble (leader in all)
ABRSM Grade 6 Organ '11 - played this for a single year for the experience - awesome feeling!
Counter-tenor/baritone - am attending vocal lessons as of June - been singing in the shower all my life, but auditioned for my schools a capella ensemble last year (first opportunity) and was selected. We toured Greece in June of this year and performed at the ISME (international music festival) as well as several other festivals along the way. Absolutely incredible experience. A musical holiday - busking everywhere from a boat, to the airport, to performing at the Thessaloniki music festival

Outreach
I've been involved in organising several charity concerts over the last couple years...
This year I founded an organisation to help raise funds (through concerts, sales, AIDS ribbon drives and such for children orphaned/made vulnerable by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in South Africa. I assembled a team, wrote the proposals, got the permission... All of the nitty-gritty stuff. The project has extended to more than 10 other schools around the province now and raised about $10 000. Been an absolutely life-changing experience. So much harder than I expected as well. Learnt a lot about team-work, organisation and marketing.

Science Expo
I spent the duration of 2011 working on a project targeted at combating the issues of shack fires in sub-Saharan Africa. Ended up with a viable product (did heaps of testing, surveyed people to see if the public bought-in, put together a business plan.. etc) that would cost less than $1 per unit. I've released the designs and such into the public domain and several small organisations are now making and distributing them. The projet itself also won the chemical engineering category, placed in the top 3 projects and received a gold medal at the 2011 International Eskom Expo for Young Scientists in Johannesburg, South Africa

Otherwise at school there have been a bunch of other things.. I'm a school prefect, head of the school's cultural portfolio, the leader of Bishops Simply Blue (check us out on YouTube), the chairman of several societies, part of the PR committee.. I've received a distinction tie (for my national colours), academic tie, academic distinction jersey, full colours for music and debating, supporters tie, ensemble tie, society tie.. I'm also an elected member of the school forum and 10 club..

In 2011, I chose not to go on 'exchange' to an overseas school, but instead went on 'epic' which was a three week hike through the cederberg mountain ranges in the Western Cape. A lot of the time was spent solo/without teachers. Grueling, but still incredible. Carrying all your own clothes and food and sleeping under the stars.

Fairly predictably, I don't have much going as far as sport is concerned :P though I do have an open-water diver's license. I also surf (badly) :) But love being in nature.

I have a YouTube channel with around 10 000 views on my piano/vocal performances, arrangements and compositions.. As well as a video of the shack-fires project. Should I link it to my application?

Okay.. This is probably way too long (sorry) but any advice would be hugely appreciated! :) Oh - and my family isn't hugely wealthy (about $80 000 a year - and parents are divorced) so I'd need a scholarship/aid

Enkosi!
Post edited by SA1133 on

Replies to: Chances at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, MIT and

  • kbolisetty23kbolisetty23 Posts: 453Registered User Member
    Your chances are good, but applying for.financial aid will hurt you quite a bit so it's hard to tell.

    Sent from my DROID X2 using CC
  • SA1133SA1133 Posts: 28Registered User New Member
    Hi kbolisetty23 - thanks for the response - aren't all of those except Stanford need-blind though? So it won't count against me? :)
  • DebbyOkayDebbyOkay Posts: 146Registered User Junior Member
    I disagree with the financial aid part though, but I could be wrong. If it matters, shooting for the Ivies is a crapshoot. Try your best to showcase your self, and highlight activities or anything most important to you.
  • SA1133SA1133 Posts: 28Registered User New Member
    I'll do that. The essay is the most important aspect of that, yeah? I also realise that there's quite a bit of luck involved - but I'm just trying to figure out if I should bother applying applying at all.
  • jsk4everjsk4ever Posts: 203Registered User Junior Member
    You can definitely try, but all these schools look at international and national applicants separately, so the need-blind aspect might not apply to those that are out of state. You should send an e-mail to the admissions department or check their website again to make sure before you begin applying. I think you do have a pretty good shot though. Good luck!
  • SA1133SA1133 Posts: 28Registered User New Member
    Brilliant - thank you! I'll check out the websites over the next few days to make sure. Should I stress my nationality when I apply or not?
  • jsk4everjsk4ever Posts: 203Registered User Junior Member
    Well obviously you will have to tell them which country you are from in the application, but it is unnecessary, in my opinion, to stress the issue unless you decide to somehow use it in your essays or connect it to your extracurricular activities.
  • SA1133SA1133 Posts: 28Registered User New Member
    Okay sure - that makes sense. Do they want international students though?
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