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Applying question

mathaddictedmathaddicted Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
edited December 2011 in International Students
Hi guys,
Here is the problem. I am applying to the universities with the best math department(MIT, Princeton, Columbia, etc). I think i have a good chances judging by my math experience. But i failed my December SAt subject math 2 (650) for 2 reasons: our school do not use testing system to measure our knowledge(i think my EC will mention this), and that was first time i had taken SAT. So now i have 2 opportunities.
(A) First one is to master my SAT subject on January testing date and to apply just to MIT.
(B) Second one is to take SAT on January and to apply to all universities from my list. But i think i won't get high on SAT(i guess smthing around 1800-1900)
So a few questions to you. Are the any SAT optional universities for intl students that provide fin aid except of MIT. And opportunity is better from your point of view A or B?
Waiting for you responses.
Post edited by mathaddicted on

Replies to: Applying question

  • b@r!um[email protected]!um Registered User Posts: 10,369 Senior Member
    Let me be brutally honest for a minute. In another thread you said that you had "listened" to quite an impressive array of math courses. Unfortunately, your low SAT Subject Math score undermines your credibility as a mathematical superstar. Your excuse is that you are not used to being evaluated on exams. That makes me wonder: do you actually know all of that advanced math, or were you merely exposed to the material without any expectation that you learn it? If someone handed you a functional analysis exam (like here), would you be able to do it?

    You said that you went to a special math school. Does your school frequently send students to MIT or other top American universities? If not, do you have any evidence external to your own school backing up your mathematical talent? If not, you'll have a hard time getting into any top school with your current test scores.

    I was actually just talking about MIT with a Moldovan/Russian friend last night who did his undergrad there. He said that virtually all internationals at MIT were successful in international competitions in high school (e.g. the International Math Olympiad). Did you do anything like that?

    As for MIT vs other top universities: Did you check if MIT is going to consider your application at all with a TOEFL score of 88? I would call and ask if I were you. No point in applying if they would automatically reject you. On the other hand, most other top universities require a minimum TOEFL score of 100, so it's even less likely that they would consider your application at all.

    With all of your standardized test scores below par for the top universities, I suspect that you would either have to settle for less selective American universities or else wait a year and retake all of your tests if you are set on studying in the US.
  • mathaddictedmathaddicted Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    @ [email protected]!um
    First of all, about link. Yes i can solve this problems, i look through just part 1 and i know how to solve every problem except of problem #4.
    I am first student whom my school send to USA top universities. And, yes i have evidence of my school excellence . Our school is one of the best Russian schools judging by Russian Unified State Exam. Also, our school sends students from 11grade(last grade) to INTEL ISEF every year. And i think i ll go this year with my project. I didn't win any IMO, i am more research person and our school is research school, and to be honest, my principal(my math teacher) don't think of students who win IMO as about mathematicians because to win this Olympiads they just train a lot and these trainings develop "the speed of mind" but not "the depth of mind".
    As for TOEFL i have already registered for retaking it.
    And back to the additional question, do you think i rather master SAT Subject Test and retake just it, in order to apply to MIT?
  • b@r!um[email protected]!um Registered User Posts: 10,369 Senior Member
    MIT has an international admission rate around 2%. Let's assume that you were exceptionally qualified and your own odds were 20% (with all test scores in a competitive range). Is that a chance you are willing to take?
  • mathaddictedmathaddicted Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    @ [email protected]!um
    Yes, i see your point. But let's imagine i won't sit SAT Subject test and will sit Sat Reasoning but as i've already mentioned i ll score around 1700-1800+ my old low SAT subject scores. and as i heard MIT is not as concerned about test results as other universities(is that true?)
    So my chances to other universities from my list will be also low. Did you get my point? Do you have any other ideas about this issue?
    Thank your i appreciate everything that you ve done dealing with my problem.
  • b@r!um[email protected]!um Registered User Posts: 10,369 Senior Member
    I do see your point. And yes, I am inclined to agree with you that your combined odds at Princeton, Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, etc might be lower with standardized test scores below their standards than your odds at MIT alone with scores in range. You might be an exceptionally high-achieving student, but your current test scores don't reflect that.
    i heard MIT is not as concerned about test results as other universities(is that true?)
    I am not sure. I recall MIT making a public announcement a few years ago saying that they didn't distinguish between applicants with perfect and near-perfect test scores (hey, everyone makes mistakes, right?) but they do seem to care that their applicants pass a certain (fairly high) threshold, especially on the math & science sections. The same seems to hold true for other top universities (except for the emphasize on quantitative disciplines, since most other top universities have a broader academic program than MIT). And then comes the standard disclaimer: high test scores are necessary but not sufficient for admission.

    I have another question for you. In another thread you mentioned that several other students from your high school are applying to tippy top American universities too. How do you compare to those students? (I assume that you have letters of recommendation from some of the same teachers. The teachers will have to distinguish among you because they cannot check the "most talented student I have taught in years" box for several students in the same year, or else their letters won't be taken seriously at all.) I suspect that at most one of you is going to get accepted to each tippy top university because American universities care a lot about maintaining diversity.
  • mathaddictedmathaddicted Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    Yes, 2 more student are applying from my school. Let's name them student (A) and (B)
    Student (A) is going to CS department, and his English is worse than mine, he scored just (40+) on toefl and he think he will score (600+) on SAT Subject Test, and his overall knowledge is worse than mine. But previous year he was more persistent than me and won few national science fairs and his best plus is that he won 2 place on Intel Isef. But i think he won' be able to pass toefl to more than 90 score.
    Student (B) is going to Physics department. He doesn't have great science projects but his test results are better than mine(SAt subject math 760, physic 790).

    What about recommendation letters. I saw that our teacher(btw he is quite famous and i think this is good plus) chose "most talented student that i have taught in years" for different boxes.
  • mathaddictedmathaddicted Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    I have just double checked my previous post, sorry for awful English.
  • b@r!um[email protected]!um Registered User Posts: 10,369 Senior Member
    I saw that our teacher(btw he is quite famous and i think this is good plus)
    Famous among what group? Odds are that American admissions people have never heard of him. Not that the "fame" of your references matters (unless pleasing him was somehow important to MIT).

    Anyway, I am overthinking things and I would like to apologize for giving you a hard time. There isn't much you can do besides applying and hoping for the best.

    Just out of curiosity, may I ask about your backup plan in case MIT doesn't work out? Would you stay in Russia or apply to European universities or take a year off and try for the US again?
  • mathaddictedmathaddicted Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    He is Intel Fair Director, maybe just in this field.
    Moving to backup plan, i guess, i ll stay in Russia because there are few European universities where level of education is better than in Russian universities. If i could, i would take a year off, but it's impossible because if i dont go to uni this year i ll go to army. So if it doesn't work to get into as an undergraduate i ll try as a graduate.
  • b@r!um[email protected]!um Registered User Posts: 10,369 Senior Member
    Yeah, I heard that (at least some) Russian universities are excellent for math. In fact, I know this one Russian professor in the US who doesn't like to take on graduate students who don't have their undergraduate degree from Russia because he insists that American and European and Asian universities don't prepare their students nearly as well for graduate study.

    The one advantage European universities have over Russian universities is that they collaborate more with American universities (as far as I can tell). It will help your graduate applications tremendously if your references are known to the professors evaluating your applications. That may not be your main priority though.
This discussion has been closed.