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What Activities Would Really Help Me In My Pursuit of Top Schools?

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Replies to: What Activities Would Really Help Me In My Pursuit of Top Schools?

  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 201 replies31 threads Junior Member
    This thread kind of turned into "chance me at Princeton," but I can't say I'm disappointed with all the information and attention everyone has given!! Thank you all.

    I kind of wish this attention was directed to my 'chance me' thread, because that included a lot more detail on my story and why I think/thought I had a (small) chance at my reach schools (Northeastern, UDub, etc.).

    @Mwfan1921 I didn't disagree with anything, was simply surprised at the fact that you think I can't get into most of these schools. I've been basing my search of stats alone, and mine far surpass the average of a lot of these schools/departments, so I figured I'd be fine.

    Regardless, I do have some Canadian Universities on that list and I will apply to another pure safety (UBCO) to ensure I'm not left stranded ;)

    @lookingforward I guess you're right! This thread has really opened my eyes into what I can and can't get into. I've been researching a ton but I guess I'm not very good at finding the right information, haha. I get a ton of conflicting information on this forum, but overall it has given me a lot of general insight.

    @cptofthehouse Thanks for the comment. To be honest with you, what you said is kind of the reason that I was planning on applying to these dream schools. This moving target that you mention is something that I think works to my advantage. We don't know what applicants Ivy admissions officers will be looking for in fall 2020. Maybe, just maybe, they are looking for initiative, self-motivation, and more spots in their design program. I know it's extremely unlikely, I just want to apply because I think I'm so unique of an applicant, there is a chance (albeit very minimal) that I will hit this moving target.

    I still don't have any expectations or anything, but I still want to apply!

    @Mwfan1921 Full pay offers that much more of an advantage? If that is the case, I can definitely, 100% full pay my admission. To clarify, this means paying for every single cost in the four years upfront? My family can (thankfully!) do that-- I just preferred to pay for some of it myself. Repaying them would work just as well.


    You guys are toying with my emotions here! haha. Two of you say that I am not likely to get admitted into any of my schools, others say I'm fine. If only my 'chance me' thread got this kind of attention.

    @Happytimes2001
    I totally understand, thank you. I'm still going to apply simply because of the very slight chance that I will be what they are looking for, but I understand that it's next to impossible!

    Still, I wouldn't say doing ECs right now would be a waste of time. I want to commit more time to ECs because I have the time to spare and I want to prepare myself for college better.

    @bopper
    Thank you for the recommendation! I'm glad to say that I live somewhat like that already, I just haven't dedicated a lot of time to my passion and prioritized spending time with family (in hindsight, the incorrect move for ivies :tongue:). I haven't taken any honors/AP science courses because I hated them, I've only dedicated my time to a few ECs (although they suck lol), and I won't sacrifice my mental health for an improved application. I'd love to check out that book this summer, thanks!



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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 201 replies31 threads Junior Member
    To clarify, I can fully pay. I apologize for the confusion. I was planning on paying for it partially by myself, which would require more time and loans. But, if it affects my admission this much, my family can afford it and I can simply pay them (partially) back in the same way I would a loan.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 5348 replies89 threads Senior Member
    edited May 2019
    Two of you say that I am not likely to get admitted into any of my schools, others say I'm fine.

    Not sure who that is directed at, but I certainly didn't say, nor imply, that. Not sure anyone else did either.

    I broke the news to you that as an international, all the US schools are reaches, not safeties or highly likelies or even matches. I would certainly encourage you to apply to any schools that you feel are good fits for you, just know the schools are the sole arbiters of making the 'fit' determination, and that international students have tough odds at US schools.

    I wholeheartedly agree with doing ECs that you like. Good luck.
    edited May 2019
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  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14500 replies106 threads Forum Champion
    edited May 2019
    Do not think 'Every point I get off of a homework or test is a point away from going to Princeton."
    Think: "I need to do my best, and there will be a college that is right for me when I graduate."

    Do not think "If I don't go to an Ivy League School/Top20, I am doomed forever."
    Think: "No matter where I go, I can bloom where I am planted. I can get involved and shine."

    Do not think: "My life is over...the kid in my math class is taking 20 APs and I am taking 5. I will never succeed."
    Think: "I need to challenge myself, but only to the point where I can still do well."


    Do not think: "All is lost, I valued spending time with my family over ECs"
    Think: "I can find a school that values what I have done."
    edited May 2019
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30391 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Be aware that need blind for admissions does not always pertain to international students. There are different rules for international applicants at many schools. If you are applying for financial aid, at a number of schools, you get a whole other set of standards because there are ever so many highly qualified International students. You really need to research those threads here on CC that are for international students applying for aid.

    It does take some of those applicants two trys to understand the US system of colleges.
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  • MWolfMWolf 2552 replies14 threads Senior Member
    @FakeName1332 With high stats and very weak ECs, I would say that you should focus on their Canadian options. While you can apply wherever you want, I do not think that you have any realistic chances of acceptance to any college which is as good as, or better than, your Canadian options.

    However, if you want to pursue a industrial design or design major, you may be accepted to good programs (they are not generally in places like Ivies), if you have a very good portfolio. If you do not have a portfolio at all, than forget about those two majors.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30391 replies59 threads Senior Member
    I think OP wants to give this a try, his family can afford it, he certainly should. He has Canadian options. He has time. He has good numbers.

    Without knowing him personally, recommending ECs not useful. No idea what opportunities there for him with his interests and talents With my kids and their peers, these things evolved and then we kept an eye out for opportunities in interests.
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  • PurpleTitanPurpleTitan 13628 replies32 threads Senior Member
    @Mwfan1921:
    Columbia College in Chicago is essentially open admissions (except for maybe some majors that require a portfolio) so is a likely.

    However, I would not say that it is absolutely worse than Canadian options. In some subjects, it quite strong in terms of career preparation (being essentially a trade school for the creative arts that uses practitioners to teach), though yes, I don't see how it fits the OP's interests and goals.
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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 201 replies31 threads Junior Member
    @MWolf

    I'll apply to a few Canadian options, as reflected in my list, but I will still be applying to schools in the states. I'll set my expectations low, though. Thanks!

    I do not have a portfolio at all, but the schools on my list do not require a portfolio (afaik, still checking them all). I appreciate the help but that's a bold claim to say forget about your major because you don't meet the requirements set by a few schools with those majors.

    @cptofthehouse
    Does this still apply if I do not require any financial aid?

    @bopper

    I love that! Contrary to what this thread painted me as, I actually don't care too much about getting into the top schools. What I'm looking for is a great fit, and I think my list really reflects that. I am just as fine with going to a local community college and Harvard, as long as I am a great fit and enjoy myself. The primary reason why I want to apply to top schools is that I think the people there would really compliment me well throughout my four years; however, that isn't to say that I can't find those people at other schools too!

    @Mwfan1921

    Doesn't reach mean the same thing as not likely to be admitted? I think it does, personally. Considering you said "I broke the news to you that as an international, all the US schools are reaches," you most definitely implied that I wasn't likely to be admitted.

    I'm not trying to pick a fight. I really appreciate you opening my eyes to the competitiveness that an international student faces! Just trying to clarify my intentions, as you were questioning them. Appreciate the help, regardless!

    I'll be sure to apply to many safety schools in Canada and have low expectations for my American schools.


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  • bopperbopper Forum Champion CWRU 14500 replies106 threads Forum Champion
    Compliment you? or Complement you? lol
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30391 replies59 threads Senior Member
    Again, do the research on this forum for the many threads about International students.

    The good news is that many do NOT have ECs that many US students have. But things are a bit different for international students in the admissions process
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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 201 replies31 threads Junior Member
    @bopper Complement. Nice catch haha. I'm pretty sure I got this wrong on my ACT writing too! :( Such a basic mistake to make

    @cptofthehouse Will do! I appreciate the help. I understand that you can not recommend ECs, probably wasn't the best thing to ask, but it was worth a shot! I think I will pursue my ideas and see if I can get a small income from selling it on Amazon or licensing it to a company! (not because it will improve my app, but because I want to do it and it's been a long-time goal)

    @PurpleTitan Design Management! I was really interested in this design, and it is an opportunity to live in a big city. I want to have a variety of majors and locations/sizes so that I would have more choices if I get worried about transitioning from online school to American college! For example, I am also applying to Chapman, not because I like their academics, but because I feel comfortable there (when I toured)!

    I couldn't disagree more with the comment that something will be absolutely worse than another. In what sense are we talking? Academically? Financially? For me, there are so many more factors than simple academics or financials so no one school will be absolutely worse than an entire nation of schools. I know you, Titan, disagreed too-- I wanted to include this disclaimer regardless.

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  • MWolfMWolf 2552 replies14 threads Senior Member
    @FakeName1332 My point is that you should aim higher in Canada, rather than in the USA. Go for Toronto, McGill, UBC, etc. Focus on Canadian universities, and supplement them with colleges in the USA which would be safeties and low matches.
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 30391 replies59 threads Senior Member
    That is a question that came to my mind too— what about the Canadian schools? Why not the focus there? In many ways they are an easier transition from on line to those colleges. You are looking at becoming part of s community in another country after spending your highschool years not going to a physical school.

    A lot of our schools are trying to build a physical community which makes it difficult to see where you fit, having avoided being in a physical high school . You see the difficulty here. That is what’s different about many of the US. schools. You don’t just show up for the lectures and exams. A lot of our schools, the ones that seem to interest you, want a lot more than that.
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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 201 replies31 threads Junior Member
    @MWolf

    There are other reasons than academics that come into play here, but I'll definitely consider that! thank you.

    @cptofthehouse

    I've traveled a lot to across North America and I genuinely enjoy the states more. The opportunities there are greater, and I dislike a lot of the areas with great schools in Canada (e.g. Toronto and Montreal). My family can afford it, so there isn't really a reason for me to choose Canada over US when it comes to admissions, apart from the newly-found information on competitiveness.

    I do have Simon Fraser, UBC and UBCO (although not listed because I didn't think it was pertinent), and Waterloo. I haven't found any other university here that genuinely interests me in the way that American schools do. Since there is money set aside for me to go to college, and nobody else in my family is going, I would much rather go to, say, Chapman in Orange, California than McGill. Why? Because I know I would fit better in Chapman, be happier, and experience more opportunities in life (aside from academics).

    In short, my criteria for college is a custom major with a mix of design/tech/entrepreneurship, a location that I would enjoy living in for four+ years, and a place where I would feel comfortable. There are few schools (all of which are on my list) that meet all these criteria.


    I completely understand that they want more than someone to just come and show up for lectures. Honestly, it might be best if I rework my list to include schools that expect just that. Would my chances be better at these schools? I would probably feel more comfortable and there is less risk of me not adjusting.

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  • UWfromCAUWfromCA 1336 replies54 threads Senior Member
    As an example, the admission rate at Washington in 2018 for residents was 56.9%; for internationals, it was 36.9%.

    Here is some information about admission to the industrial design program at Washington:

    https://art.washington.edu/design/industrial-design-bdes

    https://art.washington.edu/design/undergraduate-admissions

    Good luck in your college search!
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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 201 replies31 threads Junior Member
    Hi everyone,

    Could you guys give me some EC suggestions? I understand that there is a stickied thread dedicated to this, but not a lot of those apply to me as I am an online student living in a pretty remote area.

    I don't have any impressive ECs, and I'm at the end of my junior year. I've been a fully online student and live in a remote area, so my "involvement" has been pretty much non-existent. I'm worried that my isolation will prevent me from being admitted to my reach schools like Babson and Northeastern, where they are really focused on their community.

    I've had a lot of free time recently, so I'd like to dedicate it to something that will broaden both my application and my ego.


    My interests/skills in no particular order: writing, CS, entrepreneurship, product design, psychology, investing


    Keep in mind, an ideal EC would help show AOs that I won't be a liability, being that I would be viewed as an isolated, anti-social online student. Also, I spent most of my time at a lake/village, so I don't have a lot of resources.


    Would AOs look at me in context and have lower expectations than other applicants? I remember seeing "Each applicant is evaluated in their personal context and are not compared to other students," or something like that on some admission pages.

    Thank you!!
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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 201 replies31 threads Junior Member
    Let me know what you guys think of these. I know they aren't traditional, but I can't exactly start a club out here lol

    - Local fish filleting service/business set up in my local village

    - Wood chopping business (including going to get the wood)

    - Create and license a product OR Create a product and sell it via Amazon

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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35380 replies399 threads Senior Member
    Besides that, how do you use your time? I wonder if you're missing things while looking for official sounding activities.

    The context I referred to (on some thread) is a remote village. You need to fill in blanks for adcoms. When they're looking for ways you're active now that apply to the college community, it's not about solitary things vs clubs. What IS around you?
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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 201 replies31 threads Junior Member
    @lookingforward Thank you for the help here; I especially appreciate it because I am, ironically, having such difficulty understanding my own situation.

    Well, my typical day from here to fall will be something like this:

    Wake up at 9, do school for four hours or so. After that, I'll do something like go wake surfing, fishing, sports (not official), or just hang out with some friends. For around 2-3 hours-- sometimes a lot more, depending on the day-- I will work on something else like college research, studying, or something of the sorts. The rest can range from cooking to chores to going to town to get groceries. I have some free time, as you can tell!


    What is around me? Mmmm...

    It's a small lake, a small resort, and there are very few people in the village apart from me and my family/friends who typically rotate in and out throughout the week (shared cabin). We don't have any commercial buildings nor really anything apart from cottages and a marina. Not too sure what else I can include here-- it's pretty vanilla. Internet is pretty weak as well, I run off a data plan lol. I do plan on writing my college essay on the lake though, as I've spent so much time here throughout my life and how close I am to my extended family.

    I don't have my full license yet, in case that comes up.
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