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How Does My Story Compare To ECs

FakeName1332FakeName1332 150 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
****Before I begin, I apologize for the terrible writing and my seemingly-arrogant attitude. I reread this and it seemed really prideful, I apologize for that. I was just trying to be straight to the point; I guess missed out on a lot of sympathetic phrases! It was not my intention :) Also, I wrote this extremely fast because I have to get on with my school. Hopefully, everyone can look past this.****

Hi everyone. I really don't know much of anything when it comes to American college admissions; I live in a small city in Canada and, for the most part, live in an extremely remote cottage. With that said, this forum has given me such incredible insight. If you could please evaluate my story and compare it to other applicants with stronger ECs applying to t50 schools (top10 as well, please), that would be extremely appreciated! My story is probably better, but my ECs are much worse. I'd love to know how that is evaluated by college admissions.


The Story:
So I started homeschooling with my mom in 2014 for my grade 9. It was an extreme failure. I did like 30 minutes of school a day, I was only taking a few pass or fail courses, and it took me two years to finish such an easy workload. After that, I continued for whatever reason. Same school, more pass or fail classes, and more failure. After that school year, I wasn't even halfway through. I was going to drop out at that point. It wasn't working, and I didn't want to go to the "great depression" high schools that my old friends talked about so often. I would have had to see all my friends and explain to every person why I fell 2 years behind.

I needed to decide what I wanted to do: live off my decently-wealthy family and continue on my path to becoming unemployed and unenducated, or work for another three years and embarrass myself to everyone I knew. I decided that, because I wanted to become apart of this technological revolution and make myself proud, I would try again at school. I found an actual online school where I could do it myself, without any help apart from payments and the odd email to a teacher.

Online schooling might have a negative connotation here. After all, there are few opportunities for a student to demonstrate their leadership and personality. This isn't to say there is no advantage an online applicant will have when compared to a normal applicant, however. I have done this entire process (8 APs, near 5.0 GPA, 35 ACT, Summer courses to catch up, etc.) without much of any help. I was alone in this process. In online school, you aren't really taught a subject-- you are shown it. There is little to no accountability, meaning that keeping up with any course load is extremely difficult, especially will so many APs and summer classes. Most students fall behind on their average school load (according to my teachers). You are all but forced to do work in extremely distracting environments; rather than working in a class, I've worked by a pool, at my lake during summer with my friends, at multiple resorts during travels, during holidays, and even during a road trip. Anywany, the point is that I learned and showed a lot of characteristics while doing online school and recovering from those terrible first three years; my story might not be as impressive as all these awards and contests, but I'd like to know where I stand.


I have great stats, great recommendations, and writing is my best subject (probably surprising, considering this was so poorly written), so my essay shouldn't be too bad (can't possibly know how it will compare). The only problem is the story vs ECs. I didn't really do anything for ECs, apart from some other courses, some business pursuits, investing, etc.

TL;DR
Though I would love it if you would read these three, terribly written paragraphs, I'll still include a quick summary here.
-3 years of absolutely terrible high school, no progress, no
-Took a risk and did another three years, even though it was easy for me to quit (family financial support) and would be embarrassing to do 6 years of high school and summer school.
-Pushed myself and really excelled in every academic challenge I was faced with.
-Did everything by myself with very little help
-No accountability means staying on track is extremely difficult
-Working in really distracting environments
-All of this has taught me some extremely valuable life skills: self-motivation, determination, discipline, intuition, etc.


I really don't know any other (if I am one, lol) top50 school applicants, so I don't know how to compare. I do, however, think that a lot of these applicants are in an environment where top 50 schools are expected of them. I think a lot of these kids had really high expectations and were put into an environment where they had plenty of chances to meet these expectations. I, on the other hand, had the expectation of unemployment and a dropout, but here I am. No disrespect intended for these other applicants. I respect them an incredible amount for the time they put in. They are likely a better applicant than me-- I just don't know where I fall on this scale.

Maybe there is a school out there looking for someone like me? Let me know!

Thank you, so much, for your time!
And thanks for letting me repost this on my other account, Skieurope.
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Replies to: How Does My Story Compare To ECs

  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28057 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,113 Senior Member
    No way to know but to give it a try. How do the Canadian schools look upon this accomplishment? How old are you now?

    Yes, I know many with variations if your story. It’s a wonderful example of redemption. I don’t know how that would play to colleges looking to build a vibrant community. They want students who can interact with each other, work with each other, with the university and the community. That you can excel on line doesn’t give any indication on how you would contribute to college life.

    You’d be a poster child for online schooling, however.

    But give it a go. Do you need money, or will you be full pay? If you really want to study in the US, make sure you include schools that are likely to take you, wanting those great stats, mainly high SAT1 Or ACT scores. For homeschoolers, those count tremendously as do the SAT2s.

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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 150 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    @cptofthehouse Thank you for all the information!

    I actually have no clue how Canadian schools look at this. My current plan is to apply to some top50s (an ivy or two as well) and some safeties in Canada.

    If I don't get into a school that can give me a great education, then I don't want to spend the extra money to go to the states.

    Thank you for the comments on the potential contributions to the community. I would completely understand if that was the case. Do you know if all applicants need to have this though? I'd imagine that they are looking for some people who can contribute to their legacy as well, correct? I might just be in denial!

    I'll be full pay. Does taking a student loan count as full pay? I don't think these schools offer aid to me regardless, but we can pay for around 70-80% of full tuition (4 years) and I will pay the rest on a student loan. I'm not too sure how to characterize this.

    Should I take SAT Subject tests this fall? I am doing summer classes then a really intense senior year with college applications and more EC focus. Should I take time away from these, jeopardizing other aspects of my application, to take the subject tests?

    Thank you, so much :)
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  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 1727 replies16 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,743 Senior Member
    You have an interesting and compelling story. Odds for the ivys and T50s are very low for everyone, of course, but your accomplishments are solely academic (and late), and excellent academics and superior stats are baselines for the T50s. It is the standouts achieved in other areas that make the difference, as well as the ability to make a case as to why you're a match.

    Being an older student, however, you might look into some of the extension schools (Harvard Extension, for example). You have to be 18 or 19 in order to apply to those programs.

    Transferring is also an option if you can become a stand-out at another college for a couple of years first.

    Spin a good yarn and give it a shot, but stay realistic and have some solid backup plans.
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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 150 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    @Groundwork2022
    Thanks for that. I believe what you are saying is that pretty much every applicant I will be against has the same stats as mine, so the only thing that realistically matters is the match and other areas. If that's the case, I completely understand! All I can really do is hope that they see me as a good fit and find my experiences appealing ;) Again, if anyone knows of any schools that you think would be a good fit, please lmk!

    I've honestly never heard of extension schools before! Thanks for the suggestion. I looked a bit into it, and it seems like it's a slightly easier to get into school for adults that has a lot of part-time students. I'm going to be real with you, after nearly six years of having little-to-no social interaction apart from a small group, I am really wanting to experience a more typical college experience (living on campus with other freshmen, joining groups, etc.). I could be wrong here, and HES might be really good for me, so I'll consider it and look more into it tonight!

    I never thought of transferring either. I'll definitely consider this-- thank you! Maybe some concerns about settling in and making friends (really important to me), but education is more important.

    I'll try my best to stay realistic. This forum is my best bet, considering I am so uninvolved with college admissions (no friends doing it, no real guidance counselor, parents didn't go to an America school, no siblings doing it, etc.).

    I'll be sure to have a lot of safety. I'm not a kid that's too concerned with what school I get into. I think I would be just as happy going to CU Boulder instead of Harvard. There isn't much competition because I don't have that pressure from other college-applicants in my circles. As long as I'm going to a school where I fit in, I'm really happy. The great education is just a bonus!

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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 150 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    Bumping this because I'm honestly so lost as to where I belong. As college essays come closer and closer, I need to know where I should prioritize!

    Thanks for all the comments so far; they've helped me immensely with my search.

    My current list is:

    Dartmouth (Customized Major)
    Princeton (Operations Research and Financial Engineering) (looks crazy awesome)
    Northwestern (Manufacturing and Design Engineering) (need three subject tests: Math 2, Lit, Language?)

    Babson (Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Design; Quantitative Methods; or Entrepreneurship) (27%)
    Northeastern x3 (see major list in other doc)

    Waterloo (Global Business and Digital Arts)
    U Washington (Industrial Design)

    Colorado University: Colorado Springs (Bachelor of Innovation in ??)
    Simon Fraser (Interactive Arts and Technology and Business -- Joint) (Business and Psych)
    The University of San Francisco (Business Admin, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation)
    Columbia College (Design Management or Interaction Design or Game?) (great dorms)
    Western Washington University (Industrial Design) (great location)

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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28057 replies56 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 28,113 Senior Member
    How much of a loan are you thinking about taking to fund this? If you have the means to pay fully for a college education here without threatening your financial future and situation along with your parents, go right on ahead. I personally cannot think of a better past time than education. It can lead to all sorts of things.

    However, to pay the near $300k some of these Private schools are going to cost is a whole other thing if you are going to borrow the money. If you even can if you are not a US citizen. Where are you thinking of getting this money?

    Again, have you looked at your education options in your own country?

    If you have the funds available to study in the US, check out the schools. Visit some of them. You’ll be a couple of years older than many freshman at the US schools. Is this an issue for you? Columbia and Harvard extension schools might be something you want to check out. Going from pure online classes to the US college culture may not be a good move for you.
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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 150 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    @cptofthehouse Honestly, I can't really speak to the specific financials as I haven't looked too far into it. Rest assured, though, I am 100% confident we can pay for college. I'll be careful to look over the specifics and double, even triple, check! The loans would be around 10-20k.

    Something of note that I forgot to mention is that I skipped kindergarten, meaning that I am only 18 in my junior year and will be 19 and a half in fall 2020 (college start). Pretty much like taking a gap year, I'm not too concerned!

    Extension schools might be good for me, but I really want that typical college experience. I missed out on a lot of social endeavors for the past five years. I don't want to spend more time with mostly work and very little play.

    As for the jump to online to US college culture, I can't deny that the jump will be tough-- potentially impossible-- for me. I've considered this heavily. I'm going to be touring all my favorites (that I got into) and have many (safety) schools on my list that I would feel more comfortable with: UBC Okanagan, Chapman, Simon Fraser, UWW, to name a few.


    I appreciate you looking out for me!
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  • 1stTimeThruMom1stTimeThruMom 224 replies6 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 230 Junior Member
    Do you have scores back on your APs? What were they?
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  • AboutTheSameAboutTheSame 3064 replies44 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,108 Senior Member
    I don't care about your ECs or lack thereof. What exactly is your academic record? You seem to say that you were home schooled [poorly, if I follow you] but then went to high school -- or maybe those were the other way around. You lost me early on, and your narrative [IMHO] needs a lot of editing before you apply anywhere.
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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 150 replies25 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 175 Junior Member
    @1stTimeThruMom

    Didn't take any AP tests. In my defense, my counselor told me they would help me in 0 way whatsoever (apart from course placement). I made it very clear that I wanted to take them if they would help me in absolutely any way apart from placement, but I guess I should have double checked.

    @AboutTheSame

    Ooo this is a really new perspective. Thank you for the comment.

    When you say you don't care about my ECs, are you saying that you don't think they will be as influencial as my academic record? I'm just slightly confused here-- sorry for that.

    Yes, I was homeschooled for three years. In that time span, I only finished grade 9. The classes consisted of the four core subjects, each of which was pass or fail. After said years, I enrolled at an accredited American high school. I started in Grade 10 last year. Now, I am just finishing up my grade 11 courses.

    I can't give you exacts as I don't have access to my transcript at the moment. If we're talking courses, I've listed them below. GPA was 4.0 or extremely close for g10 and I have straight As in my APs this year. Before was just pass or fail.

    Thank you for letting me know about my narrative. I definitely agree that it needs some work, which is one of the main reasons why I like making these threads-- it's great practice. It's difficult to explain so I'm trying my best to improve. Any tips? I think over the course of this thread I think I got quite a bit better; some even mentioned how well I could tell my story. You are referring to the original thread, I assume?

    Grade 9 (3 years to complete; homeschooled)
    P/F Social Studies, English, Math, Science, and Health

    Grade 10 (started at the new; online school; near 4.0 GPA)-
    World History, World Literature, Geometry, Biology, 4 electives

    Grade 11 (same online school, realized I had potential; straight As in everything)-
    AP Psych, AP English Lang and Comp, Honors Alg2, Chemistry, AP CSP

    Summer School (same online school; this coming summer)-
    ASL 1, Honors PreCalc

    Grade 12 (same online school; open to suggestions)-
    AP Economics (both), AP English Lit and Comp, AP Physics, Arts, ASL 2, AP Computer Science A


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