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Ib predicted scores and gpa - needs guidance/help/tips

petitpois5petitpois5 Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
Hi guys i am an international student and have done pretty much all my education in german and french. Two years ago i switched to an english school to follow my dream to study in the US.
I am enrolled in the IB diploma and this are my predicted score (my school gives very accurate predictions)
Biology HL : 6/7
Geography HL : 7
History HL : 7
German language A HL: 6
Math SL : 7
English language A SL : 6
The 3 extra points: idk yet but probably 2/3
For without the extra point im at about a 39/40

My act score is about 32-35 (note my english section is not that lit because of my lack of education in english but its hopefully good enough (i have the toefl and stuff))

EC: volunteers weekly for a couple of hours to teach young migrants from eritrea to teach them math and german as well as being there for them
Cross country skiing team, yoga, pilates...
Viola lessons
Debating club and part of devating team
Head of funraising committee of an environmental club
Wwf club member
gay rights and equality for women club member
Chess club member

My gpa is quite the problem. My first semester of IB was not that great and so i improved greatly (my gpa increased 0.5) i think i needed time to adapt to the school. Now i am at about a 3.5 which is very high for my school in the ib diploma, but not the best tho. It puts me in the top 15% i'd say, which is as I know quite low.

Should I apply to Berkley, UCLA, Kenyon college, ivy league schools, stanford and UC or are my scores way too low? What do you guys think I should try to improve the most?

Thank u for guiding me i am a bit confused of the American application process ahah

Replies to: Ib predicted scores and gpa - needs guidance/help/tips

  • stressedmhsstressedmhs Registered User Posts: 54 Junior Member
    Guten Tag!

    Being international, schools will most typically look at your ACT/SAT scores because that is something they understand. So they can excuse a low GPA, unless it is too low which yours is not. 3.5 typically is far too low for an Ivy, but your rank as well as ACT boost you application. I would suggest taking some SAT subject tests because schools can refer to these to confirm your level of knowledge in certain subjects like math, history, English etc. I would suggest not wasting time on the German and French tests because schools already know you are proficient in these. The subject tests help because your poor grade in a math class can be cancelled out by a high SAT score.

    Your EC's are great and are particularly attractive because they are well rounded, meaning very diverse. You have some music, sports, and academic activities that make you stand out. Schools love well rounded students, because they know you will join other clubs at their school, improving their social aspect. You also have the service in Eritrea which is unique, so I would consider going in depth on that in your essay, or a supplement.

    The way most Americans approach school choosing is by making a list of schools that they probably won't get into (Reach), most likely will get into (Likely), and definitely will get into (Safety). The Ivys are definitely reaches. Your ACT makes you competitive, but being international is also compelling, because schools like to show they have diversity and international appeal. You should also consider expense. Schools like the Ivys and other private schools are really expensive but tend to be pretty and have a good education. Schools that are "state schools" usually have strong programs but are really big and cheaper. A generic list I would make for you based on your scores would be:

    - An Ivy you like, or equivalent (like UChicago)
    - A school that is Ivy level but not technically an Ivy (for example Duke)
    - A school that is competitive for your major (for example Johns Hopkins for pre med)

    - Something like New York University, where your scores match well
    - A school that your major would fit well at, either a STEM school or Liberal Arts

    - Less competitive state schools (for example UConn, but definitely not UCLA or UC Berkley)
    - Large schools with good acceptance rates (for example American University

    This way if you get into a reach then you are all set, but if not you have some schools you like that you will almost certainly get into. Also check out Early Decision, this helps chances a lot and is good if you know which school you want to apply to.

    Hope this helps, Viel Glück!
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 11,218 Senior Member
    Unfortunately, every international student's MOST IMPORTANT factor in admissions is money.

    Do you have $60,000+ per year for your education? If so, you're almost guaranteed to get into a few very good universities.

    If you need substantial financial aid, then EVERY school is a "reach" because you're competing with students from all over Western Europe for what is a very limited amount of money available for international students.
  • petitpois5petitpois5 Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Do they not care about IB? Because it is known as the most rigorous diploma to get and is extremely competitive. I have the highest predicted score of my whole school and I only heard of one girl that had a that high predicted score and she got into columbia. So i really hope Ib will help! I talked to some colleges and they all seemed to be very fascinated by my scores and courses but hmm i heard that the US colleges do not really understand the value of IB yet.

    Do you think I should write my essay about my volunteering experience? Its also my CAS project (for the IB diploma) which is why I am not sure.

    Which liberal arts schools would you recommend?

    Thank you so much for this long answer!
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 11,218 Senior Member
    edited June 11
    American universities are very aware of IB and understand its rigor. But to get into an elite school, you have to have other attributes besides academics. You need to understand that schools such as Stanford, Harvard have an acceptance rate of under 7%... they reject well over 90% of their applicants.

    By the way, Berkeley does not give financial aid to students who are not residents of the state of California -- and that includes of course international students.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 31,510 Senior Member
    edited June 12
    First question with internationals is always what's your budget?
    Most colleges will be need-aware.
    However, they won't necessarily look at your GPA, or weigh the 9-10th grades differently than IB.
    While 39-40 is very good indeed, it's not sufficient for US colleges with acceptance rates below 25% ("reaches for everyone").
    You gave a nice list of EC's but we don't have a sense of whether you ranked highly in anything or made an impact anywhere - which is what all schools with acceptance rates below 25% expect.

    I would recommend Middlebury, Wellesley, Barnard, Mount Holyoke, Dickinson, Kenyon, Denison, Macalester, St Olaf, Grinnell, plus the Ole Miss Honors College, USC Columbia Honors College, Schreyer Honors College, UF Honors...
    Run the NPC on all of these, see if they offer merit aid for your stats and ask your parents whether any of the above is affordable.

    You may want to add a few Canadian universities such as McGill and, depending on major, Queens or Waterloo.

    Unless your parents have 65K per year available, don't bother applying to UC's: they don't offer financial aid to internationals.
  • CaliDad2020CaliDad2020 Registered User Posts: 847 Member

    There are a couple of things I think you should do.

    1) as everyone is mentioning, take a hard look at your and/or your family's budget. 4 years full pay at an American private college or University will cost 200,000 or more. There are schools that are less and places to get aid, but you should really make sure you know what you're getting into.

    2) Decide what kind of an education you are looking for. Kenyon College and Berkely are as different as Cologne and Schliersee or some smaller German farming town or Marsaille and, I dunno, Chateuarenard or something. It's almost impossible that a student would be equally excited about the vibe at both those schools.

    3) It is very easy to underestimate the randomness and selectivity of "name brand" US schools unless you've spent a lot of time looking at them. It's not to say you can't get into a top tier school with your stats. It's to say it is very hard to predict. Most schools in the states, outside of engineering and some State schools, are not overly concerned with stats - or, more correctly, get any number of applicants with equal or very similar stats for limited slots. Stanford, for instance, claims it could easily throw out all accepted applicants, and fill another class from the rejected pile and have a very small (if any) drop in average score numbers.

    So to apply in the US and be happy and successful, it seems to me it makes the most sense to figure out the kind of educaton you are looking for: Small Rural Liberal Arts College (like Kenyon, Middlebury, Williams, Claremont McKenna to name just a few.) Or big state research university like Berkeley/Cal, UCLA, UVa, UWashington, McGill, UofToronto, UBC (last three not "state" obviously, but will have similar feel). Or mid-sized Private research - like Brown, Penn, Georgetown, Emory, etc.
    Do you want Urban, Suburban, Rural? East coast? West coast?
    Do you want pre-med committee or not?
    Do you need to get merit aid (many top US schools only give need-based aid.)

    There are hundreds of US schools, many good at different things (and some good at one thing not so great at another. Do you want to try to get to work in a hospital while at school? Some schools don't have hospitals associated with them, for instance.) I would spend as much time as you can researching the different types of US schools. It will be much easier to make a realistic list once you've done that.
  • petitpois5petitpois5 Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Money is not my biggest problem, my parents are ready to pay if it is a school that they like. If I dont get into any schools my parents appreciate I will study in the UK or Another country with cheap tuition, which is fine for me :)

    My EC
    - head of the fundraising committee of a club for the environment
    - part of the debating team
    - co founder of a volunteering club
    - all the help I am giving to the boys and girls from eritrea and afghanistan was organized by me
    - part of orchestra at school and a big one outside of school
    - and well, all the basics

    University scholarship book award
    Honor roll (got it every year i was in a school with honor roll)
    "Most improved student - student excellency award" (my goa improved the most of my school)

    I can't really apply to schools without a "name" because my parents won't pay any tuition for a liberal arts college. They are Europeans and don't understand the american system.
    I am for sure going to apply to McGill because it is such an amazing school and it is very cheap for french citizens :-)
  • petitpois5petitpois5 Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    1) if i get into a school with a "name" as for example UCLA, Berkeley and so on, my parents are ready to pay my tuition. If it is a school that they do not know, probably not, so I would need merit aid.

    2) you are very right and I should peobably try to decide what I want, but I am just a really curious person and already settling for only eight classes so chosing what kind of college - or even worse - chosing a major just is very difficult for me. Where the school is situated does not really bother me; i lived in countries covered in snow and countries where the average temperature is about 38 degrees celcius. Of course cities as san fransisco are very attractive, but being a bit "outside" is something that also works for me.
    Thank you for your advice and I will try to make a smaller list :)
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 11,218 Senior Member
    As a full pay student I think you have a shot at UCLA and/or Berkeley. Check out University of Southern California as well.
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 1,457 Senior Member
    >>>>>Do they not care about IB?....but hmm i heard that the US colleges do not really understand the value of IB yet.<<<<<<<<

    There are more IB students in the USA than any other country AFAIK. The US colleges certainly do know about IB, but won't have that kind of fervour IB programmes often imply.
  • petitpois5petitpois5 Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    I'll check it out, thank you!
  • petitpois5petitpois5 Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    Oh that's good to know! Thank you for your input:)
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 31,510 Senior Member
    edited June 18
    Imagine if you said "My parents are American, so they've only heard of La Sorbonne and will only pay if I go there"... even if there's Louis le Grand, Henri IV, Normale Sup, etc.
    Because that's very close to what you said about your parents, above.
    You have to educate your parents about this country's elite schools. Even if they've not heard of the names, these exist as elite schools. In the end, they may not change their mind, but just because they don't know about a school it doesn't mean anything in terms of its value, and you want to explain to them what exists out here, even if in the end it doesn't work.

    Purchase a Fiske guide and read about all the colleges therei; start with states of interest. Then, widen your search looking for colleges "like" what those you already liked. If you liked Wesleyan you're unlikely to fit in at Washington&Lee, for instance.

    UCB/UCLA are probably easier to get into for you than Amherst, Williams, Pomona, Bowdoin, Carleton, Haverford, Hamilton, Kenyon, Grinnell, Vassar (Wellesley if you're a girl) but these elite LACs will provide you more advantages for your money.

    McGill is likely to have the same downsides as UCB/UCLA (although I don't think they're suffering from as drastic budget cuts per student - but at the same time they never had the resources for undergraduates that UC's have so it's probably a wash) but it'd be one fifth of the cost for you.

    Would you consider William&Mary BTW?
    Honestly I wouldn't pay 250K to attend UC Berkeley as an undergrad. It's still a bargain for top students in California, but it's a large research university under budget cuts that's not worth private school costs (lots of very large lecture halls and consequentially fewer pages to write, fewer discussions, fewer tutors/resources, higher odds of having to take scantron tests, and lots of weed out). The benefits of attending are at the graduate degree. Then, it's hard to think of downsides if you get a fellowship at UCB, UCLA, or another UC depending on field.
    (My guess is that you'll want a prestigious graduate degree, which combines well with a degree from a LAC or an honors college. Note that in academic disciplines it's frowned upon to have you rundergraduate and graduate degree from the same institution, in order to encourage further networking and more intellectual cross-pollination. So your professors would encourage you to change universities for your graduate work. )
    Another issue with UC's is that you are undecided but they require you to apply to a major. Same issue with McGill unless you're admitted to the "Arts&Science" degree which is interdisciplinary.

    Look at the colleges presented in #6&7. Fill out the "request info form".
    If money is no object, check out Schreyer and USC Columbia's Honors College.
    UF will recognize your IB score and they too have an Honors College.
    Look into UChicago (along with W&M and Pomona) if that environment fits your type of thinking.
    Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, and USC (California) if not.

    Can you visit colleges over the summer?
  • petitpois5petitpois5 Registered User Posts: 11 New Member
    I talked for hours about liberal arts colleges and so on, even my college counselor told my parents the US would be a perfect fit for me, but they really won't change their mind, which is totally okay. College is very expensive and my parents did science po, école normale supérieure de paris and ESSEC so those are the main schools they would want me to go and would not "settle for less" even though it is not less at all, but it is their way of thinking and I tried a lot to change their. They already changed their mind a little bit that they would pay my tuition in some schools as UCB, which is already amazing! :)

    The thing with those amazing school that you mentioned is that I do not believe that they will give me as much merit aid as I would need. I talked to Some of those colleges before and I'd probably fit in quite well (i got a liberal art college book award) but again, my parents wont pay 40k a year for my education - if its not as mentionned before UCB or other similar schools. I might still apply to two or so because you never know! :) and ill try to convince my parents more but it probably won't work out for Reed's because there is a light drug policy and that is written on the wikipedia page, so my parents probably won't want me to go there (it would be too "laid back" for them)

    I love McGill and yes as you said my problem is that I don't know what I want to study, which is something I have to decide soon. It is just so hard to chose and my dad wants me to do business but I don't think that is my cup of tea.

    Would you say that university of Chicago and Vanderbilt and Northwestern are as difficult to get in as UCB? I always heard they were much more competitive, Vanderbilt for example has never accepted a student from our school before, while UCB accepted two just this year!

    Sadly I won't be able to that because my parents think this is the most crazy thing ever (usually we don't really do that in Europe) and it would be too expensive for me to pay but I luckily have the opportunity to talk to a lot of representatives from those amazing schools, because they come visit us quite often, which is already a big chance for me :)
  • merc81merc81 Registered User Posts: 7,250 Senior Member
    edited June 19
    I can't really apply to schools without a "name" because my parents won't pay any tuition for a liberal arts college.
    The simplist, however reductive, way to calibrate your family's awareness of U.S. colleges may be numerically:


    You will find, for example, over a dozen LACs with stronger scoring profiles than the top California public.

    Yes, you can chase "name" schools "downward," but be aware that this may be at some expense to your education and overall college experience.
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