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Do I have a chance in highly selective schools?

ivystateofmindivystateofmind Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
Hi, I'm a rising sophomore and would like to know what my possible chances are and how I could improve my application

Schools I'm applying to:
-Harvard
-Yale
-Princeton
-Columbia
-Cornell
-Brown
-UPenn
-Dartmouth
I'm also thinking of Duke, MIT, Stanford and NYU, but I know nothing about their financial aid for internationals

Objective:
SAT (breakdown): Haven't taken them yet, but I am aiming for a 1500 at least
ACT (breakdown): I will most possibly not take them
Unweighted GPA (out of 4.0):
Freshman year: 3.96 (greek GPA: 19,6/20)
Weighted GPA (out of 5.0):
Freshman year: 4.95
Rank (percentile if rank is unavailable): top 7%
AP (place score in parenthesis): N/A
IB (place score in parenthesis): N/A
Senior Year Course Load: Math, Chemistry, Physics, Greek specialization but took all classes (they are compulsory we just get to choose between some groups of courses to specialize)

Subjective:
Extracurriculars (place leadership in parenthesis): in chronological order
- speaker of three languages: Greek (excellent, native speaker), English (fluent, C2 certificate with Honours), German (good, B2 certificate with grade "gut bestanden" 81/100)
- 2015-2017: 2 years 15-member school counsil, 1 year 5-member class counsil
- 2014-2017: 3 years math club, 1 year psychology club, 1 year creative writing club
- 2006-2017: classical ballet lessons (11 shows), among with other dances including 3 years of contemporary dance, 3 years of modern dance, 3 years of greek traditional dance (9 shows)
- 2013-2014: practised swimming
- 2012-2014: painting lessons

Honours:
- 2014-2017: 3 excellence awards from my school (award that all students with very good gpas get), 1 award for coming first in my class
- 2014-2017: national math competitions, 4/6 success
- 2017: second place in the international Purple Comet Math Meet contest (with the math team of my school)
- 2016: first place in the international Purple Comet Math Meet contest (with the math team of my school)
- 2014: first place in the exams to enter my school (1/ about 700)
- 2014: first place in a swimming contest

Essays (rating 1-10, details): I'm trying to come up with a good idea, but I think it is very early. I can write very well though
Recommendations (rating 1-10, details):
Teacher Rec #1 (rating 1-10, details): I will completely change teachers this year so I don't know
Teacher Rec #2 (rating 1-10, details): ^
Counselor Rec (rating 1-10, details): N/A
Additional Rec (if any) (rating 1-10, details): I will probably get an english teacher i've had for 4 years in my private language school (most students in greece attend private evening courses for foreign languages, not only take school classes) with whom we're more like friends
Interview (if any) (rating 1-10, details): I can't tell yet

Other:
Applied for Financial Aid?: Yes
Intended Major: I am not sure yet but probably math or architecture
Country (if international applicant): Greece
School Type: Model (public school, that you give exams to enter before 7th grade, thus very selective and competitive)
Ethnicity: Greek
Gender: Female
Income Bracket: < 20.000 euros per year (I do not know exactly)
Hooks (URM, first generation college, etc.): I don't know exactly what this is, but i'm the first one in my family applying to foreign colleges (my mom graduated greek university, dad dropped out of high school)

Reflections:
Strengths: gpa, awards
Weaknesses: lack of AP, IB, Honours classes, because theyre not available in my country (probably just in some very expensive private schools)

Future plans:
- I will take the exams for the ECDL expert ceritficate
- I will attend the summer school by Hellenic-American Institut next summer
- I will probably volunteer at the local library next summer
- I will probably join math club for 3 more years
- I will take part in more math contests and maybe try Science contests and some art contests next year
- I will for sure take 3 more excellence awards in the following years and I will shoot for best student award too at least once

*I know that all the schools I've mentioned are reaches for everyone, but the only reason I leave my country would be to go to one of my dream schools. If I don't get accepted in any of them, I will study in my country*

Replies to: Do I have a chance in highly selective schools?

  • fluffybearfluffybear Registered User Posts: 39 Junior Member
    So basically you're applying to all of the Ivies and then some. It's extremely hard to get in as an international. Your national and international math competition award may help you.

    My questions are: Are you 'top of your class'? Do you think you can be one of the best students your teachers have ever taught?

    "- 2013-2014: practised swimming
    - 2012-2014: painting lessons"

    Also don't put the above as an EC because you haven't shown continuous dedication to the activity; you've only done it for one or two years. Moreover, anything below high school doesn't matter, unless you won a major national or international award.

    Bottom line, your international status makes everything complicated so you have to be the best of the best to make it into a top US university. Best of luck!
  • billcshobillcsho Registered User Posts: 15,696 Senior Member
    Get a real score for chancing.
  • itsintheprocessitsintheprocess Registered User Posts: 139 Junior Member
    edited August 12
    ^^ It's hard to chance you until you have a score. Also I know you said you probably won't take the ACT but I do recommend taking it just once because you may find you do better on the ACT than SAT and can focus on that.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 29,759 Senior Member
    You need to get a Fiske guide. Even with a 1500 your odds
    In addition, these schools are so different that you can't possibly want to attend all of them. Someone wouldn't fit at Dartmouth (predominant Greek life, rural, preprofessional), Columbia (urban, "core" curriculum), and Brown (gritty urban, no requirements, very liberal). Universities want to see that you understand their personality and have a good idea of "fit". A Columbia adcom once said that " why us " essays that state "because it's the ivy league and in NYC" were the easiest to cut.
    These schools aren't your dream schools, they're just the universities you happen to have heard of, vaguely. You need to read the Princeton Review's best colleges and/or the Fiske guide and create your list from the ground up: guaranteed merit scholarships, competitive merit scholarships (often at honors colleges), top 125 colleges, etc.
    Your "List" right now is as if a potential professional soccer player said "I'll play for Manchester United or Real de Madrid, or I'll stay and play in my village" ... what about PSG? Juventus? Bayern? What if you got a professional contract at a Premier League club you've never heard of?

    Also, what is your goal? Get into a master's degree? In Greece, the rest of Europe, the us, Canada? Finding a job after your Bachelor's?

    Most honors colleges will be better than universities in Greece. Basically the funding cuts to the education system in Greece have had terrible effects upon both secondary education and Universities. Top 125 LACs will offer more opportunities than universities in Greece.


    *note that "Greek" in that context has nothing to do with Greece. "Greek" organizations on us campuses are fee-charging social groups that exclude for a variety of reasons students who don't meet their criteria
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