right arrow
Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
STUDENT GUEST OF THE WEEK: Ethan is a burgeoning tech enthusiast who got accepted into Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Duke, Brown. This week he's answering your questions on how to best craft your application and narrow down your college search/decision process. ASK HIM ANYTHING!
Concerned about how to pay for college amid COVID-19 economic changes? Join us for a webinar on Thu, Apr. 9 at 5pm ET. REGISTER NOW and let us know what questions you have and want answered.
Most of the decisions are in by now. Connect with fellow students and share support for those who didn't get the best news.

Chance Me - Indian Boy (International)

aarybalkaraarybalkar 170 replies5 threads Junior Member
Intended Major - Undecided (Different for Universities)

SAT Attempt 1 - 1430 Junior Year December (690R+740M)
SAT Attempt 2 - 1500 Senior Year December (720R + 780M)
TOEFL iBT - 118/120 (29R + 30L +29S + 30W)

No Subject Tests due to financial constraints and lack of availability of dates!

GPA - 93.53 Weighted (on a 100-point scale. Translates to a perfect 4.0 according to College Board)
[Ref: https://pages.collegeboard.org/how-to-convert-gpa-4.0-scale]

Rank - Top 10% (School reports only in decile)

Extra-Curriculars Common App (In Order): -
1. 25 hours of Community Service at a farm, growing organic food for kids with Cancer.
2. Patrol Leader for School Boy Scouts
3. Founding Member of Technology Club
4. Tutored friends and their siblings in my locality
5. School Editorial Board Captain - In-charge of blog, magazine, newsletter, etc.
6. Part of Eco Club at old school and Founder of Eco Club at new school.
7. Winner (or runner-up) of about 20 Intra-school activities including Theatre, singing, dancing, cooking, etc.
8. Founder and Co-Head of School Theatre Club
9. Organising Committee Member of School Cultural Eve/Farewell.
10. Babysitting/Tutoring/Cooking for my 4-year old brother took up a lot of my time
(11. Organizer of Residential Society Sports Day in 2019)

Essays -
Common App Essay - 8/10
Supplementary (9.5/10)

Coursework -
Most demanding. AP/IB/Honors not offered by school (or CBSE, my Board of Education)

Interviews -
Princeton: 10/10
Stanford: 9/10
UPenn: 7/10

Universities:
Harvard
Princeton
UPenn
Cornell
Columbia
Dartmouth
Brown
Yale
Stanford
Duke
Case Western
Tulane
NYU
Rice
Emory
CalTech
Johns Hopkins
Vanderbilt
16 replies
· Reply · Share

Replies to: Chance Me - Indian Boy (International)

  • SJ2727SJ2727 2436 replies8 threads Senior Member
    edited February 21
    Almost every one of those schools is a reach for anyone, especially internationals. Your stats and ECs are fine, but you are up against many other equally fine or better candidates. What are your matches and safeties?
    edited February 21
    · Reply · Share
  • sgopal2sgopal2 3662 replies51 threads Senior Member
    Do you need financial aid? All of the colleges listed above (except Harvard and Princeton) are need aware for internationals? If so, this will drastically impact your chances.

    Do you have any backups in case you are rejected across the board?
    · Reply · Share
  • aarybalkaraarybalkar 170 replies5 threads Junior Member
    @sgopal2 Yes, I did apply for Financial Aid. There is no way I could afford it without that!

    I have around 30 international achievements from Olympiads, quizzes, etc. which I included in my attached Resume and in supplementary essays. I also have a blog with around 2k subscribers on Wordpress! I competed in National Debates and MUNs and was a selected finalist in the official CBSE Science and Math Exhibition!

    I could not state all this in my Common App because they were short competitions and did not make up a large part of my year, as a whole!

    My backups are Indian colleges (IITs, NITs, VGTI etc., which I am likely to get into given my January JEE MAINS Score).

    PS. Yale is also need-blind!
    · Reply · Share
  • aarybalkaraarybalkar 170 replies5 threads Junior Member
    Not necessarily - you misunderstood what they mean on that page. To calculate your GPA, you need to translate every one of your unweighted grades to a 4.0 scale, and then calculate the mean.

    There are many ways in which one can end up with a mean of 93.53, and most do not translate to a perfect 4.0. For example, taking the minimal case, if you had two grades, and an average of 93, with one being a 92 and the other a 96, your average would be 4.0. However, if you had a 99 and a 87, your average would be 3.5. Moreover, you write that your GPA is 93.53 weighted, and, a perfect 4.0 means that it is your GPA unweighted. Basically, unless every one of your unweighted grades is 90 or higher, you do not have a perfect 4.0.

    I had all straight As in classes 9 and 10(literally, we had CCE back then). I got 1 B+ in Class 11. Also, the GPA is Unweighted. Our school does not actually consider the difficulty of courses considered. I made a typo in the question. So, it has to be a 3.9/3.8 worst-case scenario!

    · Reply · Share
  • SJ2727SJ2727 2436 replies8 threads Senior Member
    edited February 21
    aarybalkar wrote: »
    My backups are Indian colleges (IITs, NITs, VGTI etc., which I am likely to get into given my January JEE MAINS Score).

    PS. Yale is also need-blind!

    This is a few years old but unlikely to have changed much, 40-45 Indian undergrads at Yale. That’s roughly 10 per undergrad year. So, you have to fancy your chances as being one of around 10 applicants picked from the dozens?hundreds?thousands? of applications they get from India.
    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/Indians-third-largest-group-of-international-students-at-Yale/articleshow/50090203.cms

    IITs are a great option. If you do undergrad in India and come to a good grad school in the US, that’s also a good way to go. Also shown by the example of 3 times as many Indian graduate students as undergrads at Yale.
    edited February 21
    · Reply · Share
  • sgopal2sgopal2 3662 replies51 threads Senior Member
    Looks like you have some good backups in India. The IITs are a great bargain, if you can get accepted into one. Some would say that an IIT seat is worth more than Harvard/Yale/Stanford. But this is for you to decide.

    I wish you the best.
    · Reply · Share
  • aarybalkaraarybalkar 170 replies5 threads Junior Member
    sgopal2 wrote: »
    Looks like you have some good backups in India. The IITs are a great bargain, if you can get accepted into one. Some would say that an IIT seat is worth more than Harvard/Yale/Stanford. But this is for you to decide.

    I wish you the best.

    Thank You! I was more keen on US Universities due to the flexibility they offer wherein they allow us to attend classes before declaring a major! Whereas, in IITs, I declare my branch as Engineering before even writing the entrance exam!

    Anyhow, I certainly hope I get into a school which acts as a good fit for my personality!
    · Reply · Share
  • aunt beaaunt bea 10191 replies70 threads Senior Member
    edited February 22
    All of the schools on your list are extreme reaches because they are difficult to gain entry for a number of reasons.

    -Too many qualified applicants (tens of thousands) for a small finite number of seats. These are American universities that use federal dollars for research, which means they admit the children of American taxpayers first and foremost.

    -You require financial aid. This will definitely affect your chances to almost 0%. Dollars are extremely limited. Again, Federal and private aid targets US students. (Your list includes NYU which is infamous for poor to no funding).

    -There is no rhyme or reason to your list. Each school is very different in style, geography, personality, and size. It looks as though it doesn’t matter to you what the university is, as long as it’s a US university. The universities will detect this through your generic responses. They expect you to have a specific answer for why you chose to apply to their university.

    -You are undeclared. It matters that you have different majors for different universities. You are trying to fit what you think the university wants, which means you are not the right fit. As an international student, with immigration officials, they will ask about your studies.

    -You don’t appear to have any hooks for these schools.
    Hooks mean recruited athletes, URM, celebrity status (like an Olympian or a Malala/Greta), international status, etc. It’s something that the university needs. Assume that you have to be the best student in your country for maybe 1-2 seats per university. As an ORM-(over represented minority), the universities save their funding.
    If you’ve already applied then you have that experience, so, your back ups in India are probably your best bet.
    edited February 22
    · Reply · Share
  • happy1happy1 23574 replies2338 threads Senior Member
    All of the schools you applied to are major reaches. Glad you have viable options in your home country.
    · Reply · Share
  • aarybalkaraarybalkar 170 replies5 threads Junior Member
    There is no rhyme or reason to your list. Each school is very different in style, geography, personality, and size. It looks as though it doesn’t matter to you what the university is, as long as it’s a US university. The universities will detect this through your generic responses. They expect you to have a specific answer for why you chose to apply to their university.

    None of my responses are generic. I have created specific essays for every single university on that list (except if it was about my extra curriculars, culture, etc.) and have put in days, if not weeks, on my essays to make each one unique! Also, something unique about each school appealed to me, and I really don't care about the geography, size, etc. as much as the education!
    -You are undeclared. It matters that you have different majors for different universities. You are trying to fit what you think the university wants, which means you are not the right fit. As an international student, with immigration officials, they will ask about your studies.

    I am not undeclared. One of the major things that drew me to US Universities is the luxury of exploring options before declaring my major, unlike UK or Indian Universities, where you have to declare it before admission! I am a teenager and I do not want to commit my life to a field just because I thought I would like it as a 16-year-old!
    You don’t appear to have any hooks for these schools.
    Hooks mean recruited athletes, URM, celebrity status (like an Olympian or a Malala/Greta), international status, etc. It’s something that the university needs. Assume that you have to be the best student in your country for maybe 1-2 seats per university. As an ORM-(over represented minority), the universities save their funding.

    I am not sure if this counts as a hook. But I have around 2k subscribers on my Wordpress blog, and have gained high positions in International Olympiads. Also, I am a district-level basketball player, but I did not write it in my Common App Activities section as that is not something I intend to pursue at my college!


    I hope that I don't come out as argumentative. I was just clarifying a few things that you may have misjudged... Hope to get into the best fit!
    · Reply · Share
  • aunt beaaunt bea 10191 replies70 threads Senior Member
    Not arguing. The point is that you have a high chance of rejection based your applications to reaches with financial aid needs. This information has been historically well-known about these schools.
    I really don't care about geography, size, etc. as much as the education!
    Unfortunately, you should care about the region, geography and size since these will impact you.
    Weather can be a nightmare in the Northeast. Conversely, some of the southern schools’ humidity and heat can be tough.
    Small campuses can have limited course selections. Large campuses can have classes with 200 or more students.
    Some schools are in areas where it would be extremely helpful to have a car.
    The school isn’t just the pictures you see online. The school is a living, breathing entity within a community. You have to feel the fit which is why the adcoms recommend visiting their campuses. My kids immediately knew which schools would not fit them, the very minute they stepped onto the campuses.

    Each school is very different, but you don’t understand that, which is why your list is so long. It very apparent that your goal is to get into ANY US school. To what end? After graduation, international students are expected to return to their home countries. Immigration rules are strict; international students return home. Computer Science majors are impacted. Your options in India appear to be very good.
    · Reply · Share
  • Quark62Quark62 12 replies1 threads New Member
    Computer Science majors are impacted.
    In what way?
    · Reply · Share
  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9500 replies361 threads Senior Member
    How are CS majors impacted? Check the UMass Amherst threads. There are more applicants than there are spots, and I think that situation is more typical than not. Some colleges have so many aspiring CS majors that they have weed out classes before they allow students to declare. So students can be accepted to a college but not a specific major, then not meet the bar to get admitted to the major.
    · Reply · Share
  • aunt beaaunt bea 10191 replies70 threads Senior Member
    Agree with @austinmshauri. Most of the universities have weedout classes before you can even begin to take the CS courses and labs. The GPA has to be at or above 3.5 which is very hard to do when everyone else is also bright and competitive.
    Some universities have prerequisite lectures with 400 to 500 students in a section, and lab classes. The CS department may only take 30 students per semester (as was the case at my daughter’s UC school).

    If you think that’s easy to do, it is not. The GPA includes courses required for general education units. For students who are international, they struggle with the social science/humanities requirements and the amount of reading/writing involved in those courses. Domestic students are familiar with multitasking and are strong in these areas. Add the CS prerequisites, with group lab grades, and weeding, plus navigating the universities and coordinating daily living needs, and it gets complicated. There just are too many strong students trying to get into CS, so it is impacted at most universities in the US.
    · Reply · Share
  • aunt beaaunt bea 10191 replies70 threads Senior Member
    Adding to previous response: Both of my daughters were math/science/humanities tutors, to international students, who were struggling with math and science courses, combined with humanities courses.
    · Reply · Share
Sign In or Register to comment.

Recent Activity